Katie Katie Parsons is the creator of Mumbling Mommy and is a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. She works from her home office on the east coast of Florida. Most often she writes about life in a combined family of five children and what it's like being a full time work-from-home parent. Feel free to pitch guest post ideas or just drop her a line at katie@mumblingmommy.com.

Is there such thing as healthy fast food?

I’ve never been a big fan of cooking. I’d rather pour a bowl of cereal most days than wait for boiling water or do a sinkful of dishes after the meal. Now that we have a combined family of six, I have to push myself a little more to come up with healthy, filling meals that are affordable AND easy enough for me to not mess up. I can follow a recipe as well as the next girl — that’s not really the issue.

I have burned more crescent rolls than not simply because I get distracted. I leave my post in the
kitchen to do “one quick thing” and end up changing a diaper, breaking up a fight, switching laundry to the dryer and answering a few emails before I make it back to the oven. My saving grace is a husband who is normally here at dinner time to help and who loves to grill out. We grill out a lot.

One of our favorite meals is carryout pizza with Grandpa when he is here. It keeps me away from the stove for a night and is easy clean up. Plus the kids love it. On very special occasions, my husband and I order food from Nippon Thai — an amazing place that has the best Tuna (tempura) Tower Roll this side of the Pacific. Other than that, we make meals at home, even if that means “breakfast for dinner” in the form of scrambled eggs and pancakes.

When I’m away from home, it is a different story. Usually if I am out alone, it is because I am going somewhere to work. In our area, that means I seek out free WiFi at Panera, Starbucks or the local library. I also have an Internet hotspot that I can use down at the beach park, but if I am working with videos or photos, it eats through my data.

I admit that I do not enjoy working at the library; in general, I LOVE libraries but I’d much rather sit in an easy chair, listening to what Starbucks deems the “trendy” music while I sip a grande Pike’s Place and nod to the other regulars in acknowledgement. No one there knows that I’m a mom of two, stepmom of two more, or that I was up all night with a baby that STILL has not mastered the concept of night/day (closing in on the one-year mark). The librarians know me and ask me “where is your brood?” if I am alone. I know they are just being nice, but immediately my mind starts into “Wow, I really haven’t brought them here for awhile… I need to get better about that” and then I feel guilty the whole time I am there.

So, okay. I like to work at places that sell food and drinks. It’s partially that I like other people to do my cooking, and partially that it means uninterrupted and unshared meals. But it is becoming a problem because it is spilling over into non-work times too.

The items I most often order on a whim are:

1. Seven-layer burrito, Taco Bell. Yeah, it is meatless and has SOME redeeming value in the way of lettuce and tomatoes. The other five layers are refried beans, cheese, guacamole, rice and red sauce. In total, the vegetarian fast-food alternative packs a whopping 570 calories and 18 grams of fat. Yikes.

2. Blueberry scone, Starbucks. I don’t always get food at Starbucks, but on occasion I decide to buy something. The sandwiches are “eh,” and I’m not a big fan of the cookies. I do love the scones though. I assumed they weren’t very good for me before writing this blog post, but I just looked up the nutrition facts: 460 calories, 18 grams of fat. For that? I might as well save those number for my #1 or #3 picks.

3. Whopper Junior, with cheese, Burger King. I’d say this is the least-often ordered item for me, but certainly pops up — particularly when I’ve waited too long to eat and am starving. The “junior” version of the fast food classic has 410 calories and 24 grams of fat. At LEAST I am stuffed after I eat it, which is more than I can say for the scone.

I’ve been trying to lose those last few pesky pregnancy pounds, and tone up a little bit too. I’ve been running when I can and trying to stay away from desserts but I realized that my efforts are worth nothing if I don’t break my fast food habit. Is there such thing as healthy fast food? Maybe… but I haven’t found it yet.

My birthday is a month from today, so I vowed (a few days ago) to not eat out at all until then. No burritos. No scones. No burgers. No tempura sushi. Just meals, snacks and desserts at home. I also kicked up my running schedule to try to maximize on my goal. I know that even at lower fat and calorie counts, healthy fast food is a myth. Making it at home is the way to go.

I will write a follow up post in two weeks, and then one around my birthday. I need the accountability!

What fast food treats haunt you? Do you believe in healthy fast food?

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Category: Food

Tags: eating out