My youngest son is recovering from his second concussion in the past half a year. We’re being very careful with his recovery, and until yesterday, his activity was very limited. While he sat on the couch re-watching every episode of “Psych” that he watched the first time he had a concussion, he started to add meals to his day.


When there was nothing else to do, he wanted to eat. He didn’t want light snacks of fruit, raw vegetables or cheese; he wanted full meals. It’s been a struggle to get him to realize that boredom is not a reason to eat (something I struggle with myself). I was constantly saying to him that there was no need for “elevensies.” If you’re familiar with “The Lord of the Rings,” you’ll remember that hobbits eat breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.


If fast-food companies get their way, they’ll be turning everyone into hobbits. In an effort to increase profits, they’re enticing eaters by trying to add another full meal to their day. Time reports that in addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, consumers in Ohio can now get “Breakfast after Midnight” at locations where the program is being tested. At Taco Bell, people can get a “Fourthmeal.” This is also a late night option. Taco Bell’s slogan is “You’re Out. You’re Hungry. You’re Getting a Fourth Meal.”


Most of us at sometime in our lives have stopped into a diner at 3 a.m. for a big stack of pancakes after a night out with friends, but that 3 a.m. meal wasn’t given a name. It wasn’t advertised. Marketers weren’t trying to make it the norm. By creating whole campaigns around adding an extra meal to the day, fast-food companies are hoping to get people to think of it as a regular option – perhaps one you should be plan into your day.


This is different from people who choose to have several small meals during the day instead of three large ones. When people choose to do that, they usually don’t consume more calories than if they had eaten only three meals. I would think that people who choose several smaller meals are probably choosing healthy foods and paying attention to calories.


These additional fast-food meals are full-fledged dinners with sandwiches, tacos, sodas, and often fries. One of the last things our culture needs right now with obesity and diet-related illnesses on the rise is the addition of a full meal to our diets. Do you agree?


Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Fast-food companies want us to eat like hobbits
With campaigns like “Breakfast after Midnight” and “Fourthmeal” at fast-food chains, can “Elevensies” be very far behind?