The title of this post sounds somewhat like a marital event, at least in my house…but that’s a story for another time. The drive thru to which I am referring is the fast food drive thru, which I love and hate equally.

Love: french fries. Come on! Who doesn’t love some fast food french fries?

Hate: The Guilt. Every mom who has fed her child fast food has experienced “the guilt” to some extent.

I understand that fast food marketers usually target kids. I understand that movies like Supersize Me and Fast Food Nation show some significant issues with the fast food industry. My question is this – if we as parents grew up with the occasional fast food meal and have lived to tell about it, can we not assume that our kids will be okay as well, as long as fast food is not a way of life?

I have to think that despite any bad press, the fast food industry has come a long way since the time we were eating these foods as kids, although I could be wrong. There are always those who will say that fast food is never a viable option for a number of reasons…in fact, I saw a recent fast food coupon giveaway on Facebook resulting in some serious backlash (just from one reader, but she was persistent!).

For kicks, I went online and did some searching, and found surprisingly little about the fast food industry and poor practices other than the concerns featured in the above movies. cites issues with beef production in general, which is a bigger issue than just fast food. (Interestingly enough, beef is not on the list of their top 10 riskiest foods.**) Beef also makes a showing on The Daily Green’s list of the most scandalous foods, but does that mean if we eat chicken instead, or a salad, we’re safe?

Fortunately, there are several websites that can help us make better choices, for example: Find the lists the best choices and lets you refine your search by restaurant; you could also try this comparison from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. I think (hope?) that there is a simple answer: moderation and new, fresher choices make for a healthier fast food dinner. I know it’s not the best thing to feed my kids…but could it possibly be the worst?

Tonight, I am faced with three places to be within 41 minutes of each other, and at-home-cooking-dinner is not one of them. Not having planned ahead in time to make an extra PB&J, we’ll be stopping at my favorite drive thru. And just after I experience the thrill of french fries, the agony of the guilt will show up.

Note #1: I realize this can be an emotionally-charged subject, so if you choose to comment, please keep your comments constructive and fact-based. Thanks in advance!

Note #2: Just for kicks…
**Top 10 Riskiest Foods** (regulated by the FDA)
1.Leafy greens: 13,568 illnesses in 363 outbreaks
2.Eggs: 11,163 illnesses in 352 outbreaks
3.Tuna: 2,341 illnesses in 268 outbreaks
4.Oysters: 3,409 illnesses in 132 outbreaks
5.Potatoes: 3,659 illnesses in 108 outbreaks
6.Cheese: 2,761 illnesses in 83 outbreaks
7.Ice Cream: 2,594 illnesses in 74 outbreaks
8.Tomatoes: 3,292 illnesses in 31 outbreaks
9.Sprouts: 2,022 illnesses in 31 outbreaks
10.Berries: 3,397 illnesses in 25 outbreaks

*Enter our giveaway here to win $200 worth of prizes of your choice!!