In the fast-paced life of families, grabbing a quick meal on-the-go is not only common, it’s essential. There are days when in between work, soccer practice, homework, and dance lessons, there’s just no time to cook dinner. Instead, parents go for that quick, convenient meal at McDonalds – and usually feel guilty afterward.
But, get ready to toss out the guilt because there is good news to help alleviate our conscience! Gone are the days when fast-food consisted of greasy fries, apple pies, and burgers slathered in special sauce. Today, fast-food restaurants are catering to a more health conscious crowd by serving kid-friendly meals that are actually nutritious, and relatively guilt free.
Although the recent upgrades in the fast food arena are a good start, it’s still important for parents to remember that a constant diet of fast-food – no matter what the nutritional value – is not a good choice for your child on a daily basis. Save the fast-food option for when you must pick up something quick. Use this guide for tips on how to make healthy choices for you and your family.
• Grilled Chicken. Avoid fried.
• Fruit or yogurt. McDonalds has a great ‘Fruit Parfait’ that most kids love.
• Side Salad. Always a great choice.
• Whole wheat bread or tortillas (wraps are a great choice too)
• Low Fat Milk or Water.
• Hamburger (plain).
The ‘No-No’ items:
• Soda. It’s highly caloric and offers no nutritional value. Plus, the sugar is very bad for children (and adults) teeth.
• Chicken Nuggets. Although most kids love this ultra popular menu item, but most nuggets are fried and don’t contain real chicken. Check before you order. Restaurants such as Wendy’s now advertise their nuggets with “0 trans fat” and real chicken meat (no part chicken).
• French Fries. Enough said. These heart-stopping, grease guzzlers contain exorbitant amounts of fat and cholesterol. Not to mention there is little to no nutritional value.
• Ice Cream/Milk Shakes. Most fast food restaurants do not use real ice cream and add too much sugar.
• “Special” Sauces. If we don’t know what’s in them, so we can’t recommend them!
• Substitute items when you order a kids meal. Many fast food restaurants offer either fruit or a side salad in place of french fries.
• Keep portion sizes small. One of the biggest issues confronting childhood obesity is the amount of food children eat. Children do not need a “super size” of anything on the menu.
• Order your food “To-Go.” Research demonstrates that when you take your food home, you eat healthier. You also have the option of adding nutritious sides to the food for your child such as celery or carrot sticks.
- 8 Tips to Raising an Adventurous Eater
- Top 10 Reasons to Take Your Kiddies Out to Eat.
- Smart Ways to Pack a Healthy Daycare Lunch.
- Life Beyond Chicken Nuggets.
- Using Food to Build Bridges and Prepare for the Future