Helping Kids Make Healthier Fast Food Choices

Although it may be tasty and convenient, fast food is also notorious for being packed with saturated fat, sodium and calories. Yet recent data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey indicates that 34.3% of all American children and adolescents consume fast food on an average day. That means one out of every three kids between the ages of 2 and 19 is filling his or her belly with fast food today.

It’s definitely time to re-think how often we choose to eat fast food and also what fast food choices we’re making. Here are a few tips to get you and your family started in the right direction:

  • Avoid choosing large portions. Instead of a large fry to go with your sandwich, try a small or medium.
  • Choose grilled or baked options instead of fried. This will reduce added fat and calories.
  • Limit sour cream, creamy dressings, cheeses, and mayonnaise to cut back on total calories and fat.
  • Avoid the sugary drink on the side or choose a smaller serving size. The best choices for both kids and adults are low-fat milk and water.

When your family chooses to eat at a fast food restaurant, make sure to check out the nutrition information online or in the store to help you pick a healthy meal. Eating fast food can be quick and easy, but it’s still important to make sure that the choices we make are the best for our health and our children’s health.

Remember, a healthy dinner at home doesn’t have to be a large production. Click here for 5 homemade meals you can make in a snap.

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Chloe Plummer, MS, RD, LD, is a clinical dietitian with ProMedica Advocacy and Community Health. Her column, Nutrition at the Table, appears on HealthConnect each month.