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Restaurant chains offer limited healthy choices for kids

Posted on Aug 06, 2008 by Maggie LaBarbera

What's the buzz this week? A nonprofit organization has released a report about the calories in kids meals! From the top 13 chain restaurants. The report card was not too good for most of these restaurants. But really, are you surprised?

  • 93% of the food offered to kids were over 430 calories.
I think that there are several challenges we parents face.
  • how do you know how much calories your kids are supposed to be eating? maybe you think, 500 calories doesn't sound too bad
  • when you go out to to eat, you may be thinking or trusting that when it says "kids menu" that it is sized appropriately for children.
  • maybe your child is not overweight so you don't think you need to worry about their calorie intake
  • maybe your child is overweight and you don't want to harp on them or embarrass them by selecting a lighter meal
So how can I help. First, find out what your child's calorie intake should be on a regular basis. Yes regular basis, because it's okay to once in a while eat a little more than we need. Go to the meal planner and enter in three peices of information and you will know what your child's body needs.

With just a little planning you can find out the calories for most of the major restaurants. If your like most families, you probably frequent 2 or 3 that are convenient for those family outings. Most restaurants have their nutrition information for their menus listed online under some kind of "nutrition" heading. Print out the menu and review it with your kids. Pick out some food choices that are lower in calorie. Help your child begin to think about "larger burger" skip dessert, maybe they will need to play in the backyard or do something active to burn it off. Everything in balance.

But make it an enjoyable experience so look over the menu of your favorite restaurant on a Sunday afternoon not right before you are going to go there.

If your child is overweight or if your child is not overweight, they are in the process of forming habits. All children need to learn about nutrition.

That means they need your help in learning how to make healthy choices now. You are their best role model...afterall. Would you teach math to person right before they are about to look for a job? No, math gets taught when kids are young, over time because it takes time to build that foundation. Nutrition is the foundation subject for good health. Kids need to learn it over time so they too build a strong foundation to help them make better lifestyle choices now and later.

But, I know I always say this, but it is so true. We have got to make it fun. Why? Otherwise, they will not want to learn about it. They will associate bad memories with the topic and shy away from it. We have to be smart like the high sugar companies. We have to make it fun and enjoyable.

Perhaps it is easier to say than do! but what if I told you that if we don't start to help our children form better habits:

  • they will have a shorter lifespan than you
  • they have a 1 in 3 chance of developing diabetes before they are 30 years old
  • overweight children will most likely be overweight adults
  • early heart disease is being found in elementary school children
It is worth the time and effort to make nutrition a priority. Let them create their own balanced meal online and learn what their body needs with our Build-a-Meal game. Use just some of your time everyday to help your child learn about healthy choices.

Send me your ideas and suggestions. I am committed to helping you make nutrition fun for your family.




Sunday, Aug 17, 2008 @ 06:50 AM

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Nice blog post, also besides dining out-try healthy cooking lessons!
Friday, Aug 22, 2008 @ 12:02 PM

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Nice site!
Cooking Games For Kids
Tuesday, Sep 16, 2008 @ 09:37 PM

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anybody here know of a good site to find more info on cooking games for kids? I've got this site bookmarked and im gonna keep checking it out, but i still would like to find a site that covers cooking games for kids a little more thoroughly..thanks
Wednesday, Oct 15, 2008 @ 03:43 PM

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Nice information dear! My friend's mother is dietician at Delhi Hospital said that 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds soaked in curds and consumed in the morning in empty stomach prevents diabeties and also helps diabetic patients to recover.
Saturday, Jan 03, 2009 @ 07:40 AM

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ant chains offer limited healthy choices for kids | Nourishing Thoughts, Promoting Healthy Nutrition For Children- Family Nutrition Blog was a perfect blog in the world of eat healthy at restaurants.
Incredible Learning
Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 @ 11:29 AM

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Good reading,thanks
Thursday, Apr 16, 2009 @ 11:27 AM

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thanks !! very helpful post!
Ila Hantz
Friday, Apr 24, 2009 @ 12:02 AM

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Hi, I cant understand how to add your site in my rss reader. Can you Help me, please :)
Friday, Apr 24, 2009 @ 11:58 AM

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I found a great article this morning talking about this very thing in Google news...your points are right on time.

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