Pizza Hut tunes to Pardo’s chicken…how to eat with your kids while traveling
By Laura Cipullo, RD CDE CEDRD CDN
My parents have assured me that they will never offer Burger King takeout food to my sons and I’ve made my sister promise she won’t bring them to McDonalds. My sitters always know—NO FAST FOOD! But I gave in! I broke down in Peru!
After almost ten days of traveling through South America and climbing Machu Picchu where my youngest son suffered from altitude sickness (Yes, he threw up all over me and my wonderfully warm fleece!), my kids just craved normal, everyday US fare. Upon our return from Cusco to Lima, my boys (especially Billy) wanted pizza. The poor thing had eaten pizza in Cusco at 10,500 feet above sea level and then couldn’t manage to attempt his next two meals. He was surviving on white bread plus all the healthy snacks I had packed the days prior to this event.. Back in Lima, we were almost out of snacks and he refused the Peruvian foods we were eating in the local restaurants. Billy was consuming bread only for three meals a day. Really! One night, I promised to get him pizza but the poor kid was so exhausted that he fell asleep before we could even find a place to eat. So, the next day we headed out to get pizza for lunch, and of course, it was the nastiest pizza ever. My boys would not dare to even taste it. I didn’t want to eat it! Eventually, I did, but I was definitely not going to make my boys follow my lead. Billy said you promised me pizza for lunch today—and I had. My husband said he had seen a Pizza Hut nearby. And as much I hate breaking the fast-food-free movement we always have going, I knew that Pizza Hut’s regular pizza could not be any more or less processed than normal NYC pizza—and certainly could not be worse than the pizza I had been trying to eat. So I happily escorted Bobby and Billy to the Pizza Hut.
The worst part is that they absolutely loved it and literally started singing praises to Pizza Hut. Perhaps because they were positively starving, they thought it tasted like the best pizza in the world! I must admit that it did look good. Bobby loved the chain’s guarantee—the pizza is free if it’s not delivered in ten minutes—even though we weren’t having the pizza delivered. The end result: Bobby and Billy left the Pizza Hut in Lima literally singing! And just tonight, back here in NYC, they screamed for Pizza Hut.
We actually got them pizza from our local Italian pizza parlor and they didn’t complain about it. After all, Pizza Hut pizza is just cheese, sauce and flour. It’s unquestionably not the pizza Billy regularly eats at home, but it’s not so different from any commercial NYC pizza.
Now that Bobby and Billy have been introduced to the concept of “fast food,” I just hope their cravings remain confined to pizza—and don’t get extended to burgers and fries. But please remember, it’s just food. My overall desire is that they come to love all food, never feel deprived, and are capable of making informed choices about the foods they eat and how those foods make them feel. At this point, I think it may have been a very positive thing that my fast-food ban was neutralized—at least slightly!
Moms, what are your thoughts on fast food? How often are you stopping for a quick, cheap meal?
And one last note to share with you from our travels: Lima had the coolest family restaurant serving delicious chicken dishes. Called Pardo’s, it served grilled chicken and rice to the kids and prepared mouthwatering entrees with beautifully cooked veggies for us. The presentations were phenomenal for such a simple place. The best part is that this chain restaurant had a playground/jungle gym attached to it—kind of like the ones McDonalds used to have. While the parents dined on delectable meals, the kids ran off to play after they’d eaten their meals. Of course, they returned just in time for the ice cream that comes with every kid’s meal! I highly recommend this place.