Fast food and obesity are linked together. Fast food type meals are full of fat-laden and empty calories and typically offer very little, if any, nutritional benefits. Portion sizes at all restaurants are too large and many times ONE meal is equal to the calories, fat grams, and sodium requirements for the WHOLE DAY! Consuming fast food regularly can lead to obesity.
Many children get fast food-type meals in the school cafeteria. As a parent, be sure you discuss the options available at school with your child. Consider limiting the number of days your child buys school lunch to once or twice per week. Also, limit the number of times your family uses fast food restaurants or limit the number of times your child orders from the typical kid’s menu at a restaurant. Fast food and obesity don’t have to go hand in hand — you can limit your family’s use of fast food restaurants and the school lunches offering fast foods.
In addition to large portion sizes, many of the drinks we consume when eating out are not very healthy and are loaded full of empty calories. Flavored milk, soda, lemonade, sweet tea, beer, wine – does this sound familiar? Order only — water, water, water for the whole family when eating out. You’ll save on calories and on the bill. Here’s a game to play with your kids as you’re making this healthy change. To limit the drinks ordered, ask your child what he likes to drink from the menu. Then, offer to pay him the money you’d spend on that drink on the condition that he orders water instead. You pay your child the $2 that you normally would have spent anyways and your child gets an incentive for making a healthy choice. And, more importantly, your child saves on empty calories!! It’s a win-win situation.
If your family eats out often, you may want to consider purchasing Nutrition in the Fast Lane. This is a handy sized paperback book under $10 that lists nutritional information for menu items at popular fast food type restaurants. It can help you make healthier choices when eating out. Also, the “Eat this not that” series of handbooks is really helpful too. Fast food and obesity are linked, but you can make healthier choices.