When it comes to food, families want convenience. It's no surprise that
fast-food restaurants are so popular. However, many fast foods have a lot of fat, calories and salt. Children and adults can eat these foods every once in a while if other food choices are sensible. Here are some tips to consider.
Healthy fast food options
When ordering at fast-food restaurants:
Share. Split an order of fries with other family members.
Choose a food from each food group. Most fast-food places offer a variety of lower-fat choices, including salads (opt for low-fat dressing), plain baked potatoes (top with veggies or salsa), chili, low-fat milk, low-fat frozen yogurt, English muffins, or grilled (non-fried) chicken sandwiches.
water, low-fat milk or 100% unsweetened
fruit juice instead of soft drinks. Juice be limited to 4 ounces per day for children 1 to 3 years of age, 4 to 6 ounces per day for children 4 to 6 years of age, and 8 ounces per day for children 7 to 18 years of age. If dessert is included with a meal, ask if fruit is available instead of a dessert.
Balance high-fat choices with low-fat choices. Order a small hamburger and a salad. Kids often like many foods available on a salad bar like fresh fruit, carrot sticks, and broccoli florets.
When shopping at the grocery store:
Plan ahead. It takes less than a minute to fix a sandwich with reduced-fat meat and cheese if you have the ingredients. Check the
Nutrition Facts label on packaged meats because many deli meats, like salami and bologna, are high in fat.
Shop for healthier meals. For grab-and go meals, try ready-made deli sandwiches (made with reduced-fat deli meats) or roasted chicken served with fresh fruits and vegetables from the salad bar.
Shop for healthier
snacks. Whole wheat pretzels, baked tortilla chips, and baked potato chips are low-fat alternatives, but watch salt content.