Mar 1, 2017
You can choose healthier options when eating out If you are like many parents, you know it’s impossible to find the time to cook meals at home every day. Registered Dietitians at Children’s Health℠ offer up seven easy tips on making smarter, healthier choices when the only choice is eating out.
Although a home cooked meal is almost always healthier than eating meals from restaurants, sometimes it can be difficult for parents to dedicate the time it takes to cook meals at home. Check out these tips for making the smartest choice possible when faced with a fast-food menu.
- Know before you go! Look at the nutrition facts menu online and plan your meal. Look for food items that are lower in calories, saturated fat, and sugar.
- Grilled over fried; chicken over beef; mustard over mayonnaise. Choosing meals that are grilled, boiled, steamed and baked contain less saturated fat than breaded, fried. Lower fat meats include chicken breast, turkey breast and fish. Two tablespoons of mustard have 0 grams of fat while mayonnaise has over 20 grams of fat!
- Surprise! Not all salads are healthy. Salads can be one of the best options, if they are full of mostly veggies, fruit and low-fat meat. Avoid choosing salads that include cheese, bacon, tortilla chips or croutons. Ask for a “light” dressing or vinaigrette dressing and ask for it on the side.
- Size matters. A single regular size meal may contain more calories than your child needs. Order a kid’s meal when available or share meals with other family members.
- Swap your sides – no more fries! More restaurants are now providing healthier side options including a small salad, a fruit, applesauce, low-fat yogurt, baked potato or baked chips.
- Rethink your drink. Soda, fruit punch, lemonade, chocolate milk and juice (even 100% fruit juice) are full of sugar and provide little nutrition to our bodies. Choose water, low-fat milk or unsweetened tea. Carry sugar-free flavoring packets such as Crystal Light in your car to add flavor to your water if wanted.
- What’s your tummy saying? Encourage your child to listen to their hunger and fullness signals. If they are satisfied, they can always save their food for later – do not force your child to finish their food.
Is your child a picky eater? Check out these easy tips for introducing new foods and expanding your family’s nutritional horizons
At-a glance: Your best bets for fast food alternatives
|Choose this…||Not this…|
|Mexican Food Chains||
Stay current on the health and wellness information that make a difference to you and your family. Sign up for the Children’s Health newsletter and have more expert tips and insights sent directly to your inbox.