I JUST TOOK MY KIDS TO WENDY'S FOR LUNCH

Erika Kao Photography  |  Northern NJ Photographer  |  Bergen County, New Jersey

So, full disclosure here. I'm 44 years old. I have two little ones, ages almost 6 and almost 3.

And I totally just took my kids to Wendy's for lunch.

There, I said it. Don't judge.

When I was a child, fast food was where it was at. We attended birthday parties there, we hosted birthday parties there, and not only did we beg our parents to take us there for breakfast or lunch or dinner now and again, they took us quite willingly and without hesitation.

There was something so raw and real and exciting about drinking through a straw from a cup with a lid, or eating a sandwich that was served in a styrofoam container. My brother and I used to fight over who got to eat our meal off the tray. And I never understood why our parents got boring things like chicken sandwiches and salads. And the best part of all? Dipping my fries into my shake.

Yeah, we ate fast food like bosses. It was almost the cool thing to do.

Of course, we didn't go all the time, and outings to fast food restaurants was countered with healthy eating at home.

Now, though, I think that for some, there's a bit of a stigma associated with eating fast food. Some people avoid it completely, and for some, it's a little secret that they indulge in once in a while when nobody's looking.

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Well, today, we were out and about running errands as a family, and my daughters were reaching their limit. They were hungry and I didn't pack any snacks. We needed food stat. My husband suggested Wendy's, since we were right around the corner. I'll admit, I wasn't immediately excited, because I didn't think it would be easy find something that would be both healthy and yummy. But the girls were excited for it because, well, there's something kind of exciting about getting a toy with your meal, so we went for it. I wasn't about to be the parent that said no, especially to kids who were growing increasingly hangry.

"Come on, you'll love it," my husband coaxed.

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erika kao photography
bergen county family photographer

On the way out, almost an hour later, I have to say it was a really nice experience. I learned a few things about Wendy's today:

1. Dave Thomas, the founder, was adopted as an infant, and founded the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. This really impressed me. I grew up watching him in TV commercials (remember how old I am?) and I can't say I ever knew this. I have to say I actually love this.

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2. The salad I had was really quite good. And not just "good for a fast food salad." I mean, it had quinoa in it. I'd totally get it again.

3. The toys my girls got in their meals were adorable, useful, gender neutral, and were created by Wendy's without any outside branding or characters. One toy was a set of binoculars and the other was a pinwheel. We assembled them right there at the table. Both came with stickers that my daughters loved applying, and they seriously played with these toys for the rest of the day.

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bergen county photographer
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bergen county photographer

All in all, I have to say my husband and I were both pleasantly surprised. Of course, I will admit that we don't eat in restaurants in general all that much, since we believe very strongly in home-cooked meals at the family table and we want to raise our daughters to feel the same way. But for a once-in-a-while treat, this place really pulled through today.

And their Twitter behavior of late is pretty hilarious.

(Let me add a disclaimer here that I have not received anything from Wendy's or anyone associated with Wendy's in exchange for this writing. I'm just a mom with kids I like to keep fed and a husband I like to keep happy and, well, we all need to eat and there we were. So, I figured I'd share my experience.)