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Fast foods and diets

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By Ken Begley

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst, for they are sticking to their diets.”
- Unknown Author

Let’s face it. Fast food and diets don’t belong in the same sentence.

Still, I once developed a plan to limit my fast food intake and save money. It seemed foolproof but ended up backfiring on me.

I think one of the reasons for being overweight these days is because of all the convenient fast food restaurants. Every day, one in four Americans eats at a fast food restaurant. Who would have ever thought Springfield would have so many major chain fast food places?

Eating out is not only fattening but also expensive when you have kids.

Here’s where the money saving and weight-reducing plan comes into effect.

I found early on in raising a family that young kids never eat all the food they order. I attribute that to my keen powers of “scientific observation” of everyday life. My wife attributes it to being a “tightwad“.

“Tightwad“! Don’t you think that description could use a little dressing up?

We generally go out to eat once a week on Saturday. My first thought from getting up from a fast food meal was always: “Good grief, what did I pay for all that food going in the can.” Yet I still felt bad trying to get the kids to eat it. Let’s face it; none of it’s good for you.

Then I came up with “The Plan”. What if I just “under ordered” and waited to see what the kids didn’t eat? Hey, don’t laug; it worked.

I would sort of sit like the poor man in the Bible by the table of the rich man waiting to see what crumbs fell off. Generally, it was a bountiful harvest.

The pickings got increasingly slim as the kids got older and I had to start ordering something for myself but I still went away full from the “extras”.

One day a few years back, over my objections, my wife ordered Frostys. That’s kind of like a cup of soft chocolate ice cream. The kids were gulping them down but I kept my eye on the oldest. As we were getting ready to leave she still had way over half a cup left. I looked over at her and said: “I’ll finish that off for you.”

She looked up and said: “I want to take it with me and eat it in the car on the way home.”

This was a bad idea for three reasons. First, home was nine miles away in Lebanon. Second, we were driving a recently bought new van. Third, I love ice cream.

We argued the matter for several minutes until I finally gave in with one condition. I told her: “If you take that cup of ice cream out to the car then you’ll have to hold the cup all the way home. I don’t want to see one drop of that stuff smeared around.” My daughter readily agreed.

I then warned her again about having to hold that cup all the way home. I even offered to “help” her out by eating the ice cream up before we left. She refused my kind offer with a pretty smug laugh. Youth today are so downright ungrateful.

We no sooner got in the car when Cindy told me to stop at Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. I waited with the kids in the parking lot while she ran into the store.

I could hear my oldest, slapping away at the cup back there which caused my mouth to water. After a couple of minutes, a weak voice said; “Daddy, I’m full. You want the rest of my ice cream?” My mouth really started watering and I said: “Sure, hand it up.”

Little hands in a chain passed the cup up to me. I anxiously looked down into the cup with sweat beading up on my forehead in shear delight with this unexpected bounty.

But wait a minute. What was this? It was empty!

I looked dumbfounded back at my oldest. She sweetly smiled and said: “Now you have to hold the cup all the way home.”

I now buy my own ice cream.