Wendy’s Fast Food Takes A Healthier Route

January 19, 2015  |  

There are times when I cannot believe I don’t weigh over 500 pounds. As a youth and then a young man, I ate all kinds of crap. Without shame, I admit that I loved Taco Bell food. Without shame, the McDonald’s $2 cheeseburger got me through life. Without shame, I confess that Wendy’s fast food helped me get on the path to good health, once I was able to stop eating their disgustingly delicious spicy chicken sandwich.

Still, I got a chuckle when I saw the new flash that Wendy’s was changing the menu to eliminate soda from their kid’s meals. For years, Wendy’s has been on the banned list of foods that I can eat with my daughter. But it wasn’t always like that. As I started my trek to clean eating, I found Wendy’s appealing. I was able to eat their fancy shmancy salads for a reasonable price and, after the financial ravages of divorce, I needed to save every dollar. And since my daughter was there much of the time, she ate with me.

So, I’ve got no malice to Wendy’s, even though it feels like they are a few years too late. McDonald’s gave up soft drinks in their Happy Meals in 2013. Oddly enough, I had all-but forbidden my daughter to eat any McDonald’s whatsoever and we haven’t walked in one in years (unless her mother has taken her). The thing is, and the reason why these companies are less likely got feed us bad food, because they are feeling the crunch.

Public pressure is high to change those menus, mostly in the interest of kids’ health.

When public pressure meets education, things might change. When customers like myself stop coming into the store for food, things definitely change. I go hard for my daughter and her health, as well as my own. I don’t even know the facts anymore. I just know that is is better for me to walk into a grocery store, buy a bunch of green stuff and bring it home to my kid.

The thing is, as a single parent is it extremely hard not to wander into fast food spots from time to time. My place of choice was Subway. I’d go in there, and get a tight foot-long sub for under $10! You could put all the veggies on there that you wanted and the price never changed! Then the news hit: Subway included a chemical in its bread that was also used in yoga mats. Azodicarbonamide is the name of the chemical and as if this writing Subway says they no longer use the substance in their food. Had this health discovery not been found, I am certain that azodicarbonamide would still be in their bread. By the way, my aunt said she hasn’t gotten anything from Subway since the revelation of yoga mat material was brought to the public.

Big businesses don’t typically care about its constituents. Even good healthy food is all about the money and the business. Some companies like Chipotle and Moe’s brag about “free range” this and “no genetically modified organisms” that. And, honestly, they seem to be true to their creed despite my cynicism. Chipotle took pork out of 600 of their stores when they found out the white meat wasn’t up to par with their animal ethics standard. There was no third-party discovery and adjusted their M.O. based on their plan of business. It wasn’t imposed on them.

And therein lies the issue and it is one rooted in trust.

People trust that Chipotle has their best interest at heart, similar to higher end grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and their pricier counterpart Whole Foods. They didn’t have to be forced into caring about kids or their parents. They just do. Both McDonald’s and Wendy’s have a fond space in my heart for different reasons. I just wish they could prove that it was mutual. These days, they will have to do a lot of hard selling for me to be a patron and even then…I may just keep it moving.

It is most important that my daughter completely avoid the habits that I had as a youth. The candy. The fast food. The general lack of knowledge about nutrition was a personal epidemic. These days, I am still improving, and in my best health in many years…and a lot of it started with a freckle-faced white girl.

Thanks, Wendy’s.

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