Fast food and Takeaway Jungle – Why I do not say NO!

First thing first, I am not a takeway girl. Totally the opposite actually. I am a big promoter of a healthy lifestyle where good, nutritious and healthy wholefood is the key. However, I will explain to you the benefits I see in having takeaway food as an exception. Stay with me…

Our eating habits are very good, freshly cooked meals from organic produces if possible. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, we see it as an investment into our healthy plus we love it.

If you have been reading my blog posts, you would know that it is our oldest son’s ADHD that got us initially into making new and better health choices. We have a real reason for sticking to our healthy choices, I mean on the top of all other obvious reasons of course.

Nat Carrel - The Blog - Takeaway

So why do we have takeaway about once a week?

It is a jungle. Food, options, our world is a jungle. We have takeaway food once a week for 2 reasons; our kids and the sake of taking a (well deserved) break from the constant meal games (understand planning, buying, cooking, cleaning)! Can you relate?

My motivation in everything I do is my kids wellbeing and happiness. I want them to grow up on nutritious food, there is zero doubt about that and I also definitely want them to make the right choices. When we got started on healthy food we banned takeaway, it was like a big NO-NO! It was THE thing to avoid!

But what happens when something is forbitten?

Yes, you guessed it… it’s even more attractive, especially to kids and young people! They desperately want it even more!

My kids were craving going to fast food as their friends do. Why can they have it and not us? Explaining to them why we think it is not a good nutrition choice and keeping them away from fast food was fairly easy as they were young. But it changed once they got older, started to go away on excursion, camp, or out with friends. Once you let them go out in the jungle and build up their social life, you have to make sure they are prepared and armed with the knowledge to hopefully make the right choices. Knowledge is power.

Fast food, junk food is everywhere… They have access to it. You ban it…They do it behind your back! And this is not something I want. I don’t want to ban, I want them to understand why some choices are not good.

Furthermore, my kids are young athletes and they are travelling a lot for sport. Most of the time with us, but also sometimes with their teams. Unfortunately, the sport arena is money dependant and lot’s of sponsors are not what you could describe as healthy, meaning there is even easier access to junk options. I need them to understand how to make better choices while traveling!

Nat Carrel - The Blog - Takeaway

How to get them to make the right choices?

By showing them “a better” way. Therefore, we decided we would take a break from super healthy once a week. Once a week we would have takeaway, make our life easier by not having to meal plan every bite we put into our mouth. A little exception, once a week.

By doing so, they learn different things:

  • Creating the right habits but don’t be too rigid to not enjoy those habits
  • Making choices they don’t have the impression to be missing out on something
  • Sometimes it is ok to letting go, but jump back on the right wagon quick enough
  • Yes, you can be enjoying social life with your friends
  • Noticing the difference in how they feel in their body after a “less healthy” food choice
  • Knowing that perfection is an illusion and chasing total perfection in healthy eating can soon enough become a problem as well
  • Hopefully making the “wiser” choices as junk food – keep reading, I’ll get to that

What do I mean with “wiser” takeaway food choices

So when we have takeaway, I want to make this clear, we are not sprinting into a fast food restaurant ordering some cheap junk.

I personally make a difference between takeaway and fast food junk. And that is precisely what I want to teach my children and share with you here. For me, takeaway, doest not necessarely mean bad food. Takeaway can be fresh and “healthy”. Yes, I agree, not as optimal as if you would have cooked it yourself at home, but still not such a bad choice.

Nowadays, there’s a lot of healthier and better choices to be made than those huge junk food giants. Ok, it does also depend on where you live, I give you that.

Anyways, I believe it is about making choices, knowing what you want out of your meal. If you absolutely don’t care about the health aspect of your meal, then go for it, have whatever. But if you, just like us care about your health, think and source better choice. There’s plenty out there!

Here are some of our takeaway YES:

Nat Carrel - The Blog - TakeawayOne huge tip here… It is more about WHERE you buy your food than what you pick!
Look out for some clues like: wholefood, organic, grassfed, vegan options, eco-friendly and sustainable, freshly made, … all those are an indication this place is caring about health.

  • – Acai bowl, with granola and fruits, yum!
  • – Pizza – from a dine-in restaurant with takeaway options. I make sure they serve – real and freshly made food
  • – Sushi (just make sure to pick a place where they are made fresh and avoid sauces like mayonaise)
  • – Fresh salads or soups from a salad or soup bar
  • – Indian, Thai, Chinese from a place where they cook everything fresh – ask them! Some are real junk and some are really good, it’s your job to find out!
  • – Take away from fresh market food stalls. Some really amazing options and pretty healthy!
  • – Fish and chips from a local fish market. Yes, it is fried, definitely not the best but you can always ask to have your fish grilled. A good fish and chips shop will have quality ingredients inclusive the chips.

Here are some takeaway we would say NO:

  • The quicker you get it, the worse. Real food takes a little bit of time to be prepared, even as takeaway
  • We avoid huges chaines
  • Usually, you pay for what you get. Super cheap means junk most of the time
  • If it looks artificial colourwise, it most certainly is a chemical mixture, slushies are a great example of a NO for us
  • Definitely meal combo with huge soft drinks! A healthy meal would not be trashed with a such a drink, it’s a clue!

People’s opinion is very interesting

I recently asked my audience on Facebook how many times a week they have takeaway. And it was interesting.

Here is what popped out:

  • It’s divided – no surprise here!
  • People who have it regularly and make total unhealthy choices, own it without issues.
  • People on a healthy lifestyle seem to struggle more to admit they would have takeaway. It feels like living a healthy lifestyle is about perfection at all times and the word takeaway would almost be taboo.

Why is that?

Nat Carrel - The Blog - TakeawayWhy is there so much pressure on the healthy lifestyle? I anyway believe healthy isn’t the same for everyone. Especially when it comes to eating. We are all different with different needs.

Healthy should be about a succession of good habits creating a lifestyle that suits you personally, not about rules and pressure.

The zero takeaway was definitely a rule for our family and I am very glad we have changed it. Our once a week exception is relaxing and takes pressure off, there is no rush to perfection. Also, I do not feel like being a food nazi would benefits my kids. I prefer to guide them into making choices relative to their lifestyle.

By having this break and being less rigid, I feel we all enjoy our freshly homemade meals even more.

I agree takeaway food will never be as good health wise as fresh home cooked from preciously selected ingredients. No discussion. I also see that some people in reason to allergies or illness, just can’t eat out and I totally respect that. But for others, maybe the benefits of taking a break might outwith the disadvantages if you keep it as a wise exception of course.

What are your thoughts? Comment below!

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About the Author:
Natascha is firstly a wife and mum of 3, originally Swiss and a French native speaker, she lives in Queensland Australia. She also is a passionate online entrepreneur and author.
Natascha’s passion is to share the message of Living a Life of Purpose.
Her mission is to help other mums create more freedom to live their dream life while becoming healthier and happier!

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3 replies
  1. Loren
    Loren says:

    There are some people who start to follow a healthier way of eating and become almost OCD about it. I think like you it’s important to keep balance. Kids are over exposed to fast food and takeouts are sometime necessary, there is no reason to have a total ban.

    Reply
    • Yan and Nat Carrel
      Yan and Nat Carrel says:

      Yes, exactly Loren. I feel like everything else in life, seeking absolute perfection in one or the other way is damaging. Thank you!

      Reply

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