Sunday, December 12, 2010
Smart Fast Food Eating
Fast Food Figured Out
By: Elana Zimelman, R.D., L.D., C.D.E., Cooper Clinic Nutrition
All too often we find ourselves without the time to cook a meal because of our on-the-go lifestyles. If you find yourself needing to cruise through the closest drive-thru, read these healthy guidelines on choosing the best meals for the family.
Picture this: You just picked up your daughter from school and you’re running her to soccer practice. Your son needs to get to his basketball game. You have less than an hour and there’s no time to waste!
Everyone needs to eat but the question is where and what? Does this sound all too familiar? Finding better fast food picks for your family can be easier than you think. All you need are some go-to guidelines and simple planning.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Plan ahead. Many fast food restaurants post nutrition information on their Web sites. Sift through to pick out the healthiest options at each of your favorite places. You may also go to healthydiningfinder.com and calorieking.com for additional nutrition information.
2. Communicate and compromise. When the goal is to feed your family more healthful options, it’s very important to incorporate changes slowly and subtly. Sit down as a family and pre-select from the menus you’ve downloaded online so it’s not a huge surprise to your kids what options they have when you arrive at the drive-thru.
3. Avoid food fights. Your daughter will insist on McDonald’s while your son begs for Wendy’s. Let’s avoid the conflict by having you as the parent decide where to go. Definitely offer choices that you all have pre-selected off the menu.
4. Choices, choices. At this point your family has done their homework and you all know the options. Keep it simple and offer choices. For example ask if they would like “choice A” or “choice B.”
5. Set an example. You want to pick a healthier option for yourself too.
Taking our advice to heart? Here are some healthful options at some fast food favorites.
Top picks for 500 calories of less:
Grilled Chicken Sandwich (no mayo)
Apple Dippers with Low-Fat Caramel Dip
1% Low-Fat Milk
Mandarin Orange Dup
2% Reduced Fat Milk
Turkey Breast 6-Inch Sub
Dannon Strawberry Yogurt
Honey Mustard Sauce (2 packets)
Fresh Fruit Cup
2% Reduced Fat Milk
2 Beef Soft Taco, “Fresco”
Mexican Rice, “Fresco”
It’s a win-win for everyone. You can help your family fuel up with good-tasting nutrition value, less fuss, and convenience on the way home. When you can, try fitting in family meals at home more often than not. Your kids will thank you (if not now) later.
For more information on nutrition consultations visit www.cooper-clinic.com or call 972-560-2655.