Thursday, April 26, 2012

Eating On the Run? 6 Tips for Making the Right Choices

Cameron at Chick-fil-A  

Let’s face it: we don’t always have time to cook a healthy meal for our families. Whether it’s because of work, school or other obligations, cooking a full meal three times a day, seven days a week, just isn’t feasible. You may find yourself carting the kids around town only to find yourself deluged with the familiar chorus of “I’m hungry!”

Drive-thru fare may not be what you want for your children but it may be unavoidable. While there’s nothing wrong with the occasional Happy Meal, you can make the right choices with a bit of forethought. 

Here are six tips for making the right choices when eating on the run with the kiddos:

Plan Ahead

If you know that you and the kids will be spending the day running errands, plan ahead to stave off the hungries. Pack a cooler full of chopped vegetables, chunks of fruit or even granola bars and yogurt cups. These light snacks can keep your children full enough to wait for a proper meal until you can make it home. Small bellies can easily be filled with a granola bar and a few pieces of fruit!

Take Time to Read the Menu 

When you do find yourself at the nearest fast-food restaurant, take time to read and understand the menu. Instead of a breaded chicken sandwich, order your kids one that is grilled. Rather than a side of fries, look for a side salad or apple dippers. When you’re at the drive-thru, avoid fat-laden beverages like milkshakes and opt for a bottle of water or two percent milk instead.

Supersized Portions 

Did you know that a regular sized portion at a fast-food restaurant is actually larger than an actual serving size when it comes to caloric content? There is never a time that it’s okay to super-size your meal! For a startling example, one order of super-size fries at McDonald’s packs a whopping 610 calories. A moderately active toddler needs between 1,000 and 1,400 calories per day. One pit-stop at McDonald’s could give them more than half of their daily caloric intake requirement!

Skip the Buffet 

Buffets are popular because you can get in and out as quickly as if you were going the fast-food restaurant. Many people are more apt to make unhealthy choices at a buffet that at almost any other restaurant. If you must stop at a buffet, choose the salad and fruit bars over the carb-laden hot foods bar.

Make a List

When you’ve got the time, sit down with your computer and make a list of the healthier choices at the restaurants nearby. All of the popular fast-food chains have menus online that are very easy to find. Keep the list on your car’s visor so that you can refer to it whenever you need to. Doing so will save you time from having to scrutinize the menu every time you stop for lunch.

Undress Your Food 

When you pull into your local Burger King, Subway or McDonald’s, think about ways that you can undress your food to make it healthier. Skipping sauces, opting for no cheese and even choosing flatbread over regular can help save on fat and calories. Who wants Big Mac sauce finger-painted all over the back seat anyway?

You obviously don’t want to take your kids out for a quick meal on a regular basis but, when it can’t be helped, knowing how to choose the healthiest options is in everyone’s benefit. One of the best things you can do is to choose healthy options for yourself! Remember that you are the best example for your wee ones.

Renee Varney is a freelance blogger and occasionally writes for a site she loves using to find local Food Deliveries using their Chicago Delivery directory. 

alt="YOUR TEXT HERE"rel="Facebook image"src="IMAGE URL HERE"style="display:none;">