Monday, June 21, 2010

A Month Without Nuggets

I hate to admit it but I love me some chicken nuggets. Yes, I know what they're made of. There is no "nugget" on a chicken but paired with some salty french fries and an ice cold Coke and I'm happy as a clam. My kids love them too. Yet despite my initial happiness at pulling up to the window and retrieving my grease stained bags, I ingest my nuggets with guilt and later, I regret having ever fed them to my family in the first place.

My bank has new handy dandy tool where you can categorize each purchase you make and it will keep a running total of how much you spend in any particular area you wish to track. It even generates a pie chart so you can visually see where your money is being spent. I played around with the tool a little bit the other day and I categorized all my spending for the month of June so far. Besides noticing that Target, despite my best efforts, still seems to suck all my money out of my pocket, I was shocked at the amount of money we have spent on fast food.

We all know fast food shouldn't really even be classified as food. As Michael Pollen likes to say, most fast food is a "food like substance" consisting mainly of fillers, preservatives, sweeteners, colorings and questionable meat parts. But did you know that fast food is bad for the earth too? According to a website called, if you stopped eating fast food for just two weeks, you would:
  • Save 3,222 gallons of water that would be used for livestock
  • Save 9.4 pounds of grain used for livestock feed
  • Protect 285.4 square feet of rain forest from being cut down to graze cattle
  • Prevent 15.4pounds of manure from being created
And those are just the meat related effects. What about the paper waste? I took my kids to Chick-Fil-A for lunch about a week ago and the amount of trash we produced for ONE meal was incredible. I wrote it all down, to the best of my recollection: For the three of us to have lunch at Chick-Fil-A, we threw away:
  • Two cardboard juice boxes
  • Three paper sacks
  • Two cardboard nugget boxes
  • Two paper french fry pockets
  • One aluminum foil pouch
  • One large cardboard french fry pocket
  • One large Styrofoam cup 
  • Nine paper napkins
  • Three plastic straws with wrappers
  • Four plastic dipping sauce containers
Feeling guilty? I sure am. So I'm quitting. Cold turkey. Well, for at least a month. I'm challenging myself to not eat any fast food for a month. This includes my children. That means Momma will have to be much more prepared with packed lunches and snacks and be ready to stand firm when the "I want McDonald's!" sings out from the backseat. I may have picked a bad time to start this as we are road tripping next week over the 4th of July. I already have our stops planned and know just where the perfect picnic spots will be along the way. It will be challenging but I'm determined. It's better for my wallet, better for my waistline and better for my planet. A win win.  

We had one last hurrah with the nuggets today for lunch. I explained that we wouldn't be eating them for a while to help heal the earth.  My daughter asked if we could just give the earth a band aid. *Sigh*....if only it was that easy. Farewell thee nuggets! Until we meet again...



  1. Very good post, makes a lot of sense. ♥ Gerry

  2. My family has given up fast food too. It took a bit of planning at first but soon enough it became habit to pack lunches or snacks if we are going to be away from home for a meal. After a couple of months of no nuggets I made a homemade version and the kids thought they were even...gasp...better than the big M's. Cool!!

  3. I can relate to this 100%. We just recently decided to give up fast food too. Now when we go out, if we don't have time to pack a picnic, we head to the grocery store. I've had too many post nugget guilt moments myself!
    xo maureen