How To Eat McDonald’s With Your Child and Enjoy It

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If you would have told me 2 years ago that I was going to write a blog post about how to eat McDonald’s with your child and enjoy it, I would have laughed in your face.

If you would have told me 2 years ago that I was going to write a blog post about how to eat McDonald’s with your child and enjoy it, I would have laughed in your face. Before having a child, it’s easy to have this mindset that you’re going to do everything absolutely “perfectly”. Of course, we feel raising a child is the most important job we will have in our lives and we want to do everything the best way possible. So, we want to give them “the best” food, “the best” education, “the best” experiences, etc. But, what I quickly realized after having Milo is that all those parenting ideals I had in mind were completely in contrast to how we actually live and enjoy life. These pre-determined ideals I created were a recipe for major mom guilt and feeling like I was doing something wrong.


It is hard enough to bring a baby into your existing life… why do we set these expectations before having a baby that are going to make the transition to motherhood even harder? 


Common expectations we have before baby:

  • “I’m going to make all the baby food myself.”
  • “No screen time until they’re 4 years old.”
  • “Definitely NO FAST FOOD or SUGAR!”

I initially had the screen time thoughts before having our son. But, I quickly realized that we like to have the TV on in our house. So, were we going to completely change our lifestyle (when it comes to TV) now that we had a baby? No! We watch TV. I couldn’t figure out why The Wiggles and Paw Patrol would be so horrible for my child. Why did I want to completely avoid screens? I watched TV growing up and I’m okay. TV is actually really enjoyable for all of us sometimes. I did my own research on screen time and wrote a blog post about it (read it HERE). Once I let go of this screen time expectation and I understood that screens are not the issue, it is the overuse of screens AND the absence of other beneficial things (i.e., physical activity, social interaction, spending time outdoors), a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. 

When it comes to our son’s nutrition, I like to look at what he’s consuming in a week and not one specific meal.

Well, the same goes for fast food and sugar. Pre-baby, I wanted to prepare all his food, plan out all our meals, and load him up on fresh fruits and vegetables. One of my hobbies throughout grad school was to read books about nutrition (nerd alert). I probably know more about nutrition than the average person and I am very aware of the ingredients I eat. Do I still eat and enjoy french fries, pizza, and ice cream? Yes. So, why did I put this expectation on myself to completely avoid these things once I had a baby? Again, it is a recipe for major mom guilt and also a recipe for just making life harder than it needs to be. When it comes to our son’s nutrition, I like to look at what he’s consuming in a week and not one specific meal. Making this small change will make your life so much easier. Now, when Milo has a scone and strawberries for dinner, I’m not stressed out, because I know this one “failed” meal doesn’t represent his nutrition overall. Not being stressed out at dinner time leads to a better bath time, better bed time, and better evening overall.  

Instead of feeling shitty about myself or like I’m failing when we have McDonald’s or any food that doesn’t have the best nutritional profile, I make it an enjoyable experience. It’s not realistic for me to think that Milo won’t eat McDonald’s or sugar-filled foods throughout his life just because I don’t expose him to it when he is a toddler. I would actually argue the opposite. We shouldn’t be making certain foods something to be feared or completely avoided. I’m all for educating children on nutrition but, it should also be made clear that some foods, while not ideal every day, can be enjoyed in moderation without feeling shameful about it.   

So, grab a happy meal and a big mac, put on a good Wiggles special and eat, dance and enjoy!

XOXO Renee Reina

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How To Eat McDonald’s With Your Child and Enjoy It