When eating out with kids, they often want to eat the unhealthy foods. While fast food joints are sometimes unavailable, it doesn’t mean you can’t avoid feeding your kids non-nutritious foods. Luckily there are foods on the menu that are nutritious and tasty. Often the solution is choices and portions. Here are some helpful tips on how to get kids to make healthy choices when eating out at fast food chains.
- Encourage them to choose grilled options instead of fried foods. At fast food restaurants such as McDonalds or KFC, there are usually both fried and grilled options for chicken. Both types taste great. However, the grilled chicken is not deep-fried or cooked in batter and breading like the fried option. This reduces your child’s intake of saturated fats significantly, for a more healthy option that will still satisfy their hunger and taste delicious.
- Add a fruit cup or fruit and yogurt parfait to any fast food meal. Kids usually like to eat fruit since it is sweet. Choosing fruit as a dessert instead of cakes, candies, or pastries satisfies their sweet tooth with natural, healthier sugars. Also, they will be able to get a significant amount of their daily vitamin c needs, helping to boost their immune system!
- Stay away from the “value meals” and the extra sides. If you are getting a sandwich or burger, just get that without the sides or additional items. The bigger the sizes get, the higher the calorie intake, and usually these portions are too big for a child. Skip the fries and the sugary soda drink and just get the one item instead. Also, you’ll save money by not getting the entire “meal.”
- If your child is getting a sandwich or burger, ask if they have wheat or whole wheat bun as an option. It never hurts to ask! These whole wheat bread are much more nutritious and wholesome for your child, and often they taste almost exactly the sea as a white bread bun!
- If your children really want fries, encourage them to split them amongst themselves, or share a small order with your one child. This way they can satisfy their craving for the salty fries without overdoing it. This is a great way to start teaching your children about portion control and moderating how much they eat.
Instead of sacrificing health for convenience, you can have it all! Fast food like McDonalds and KFC prices are cheap, but that doesn’t mean the food has to be junk! When dining at fast food establishments, be sure to guide your kids to make wise, smart food decisions. Split unhealthy items like fries, choose whole wheat bread options, stay away from value meals, include a fruit cup, and discourage fried meats in exchange for grilled options instead. Employing these tips and enforcing these meal options will help you to guide your kids to make healthy choices even when eating out at fast food restaurants. No matter where you and your kids eat, it is all about balancing food types and controlling portions reasonably.