Here is part three of our series, "Children, Activity, and Diet." We feel that most parents make misguided choices for kids' meals. This opinion is based on several years of observations of what kids eat for lunch, parties, going out to eat, etc. Most parents are busy because they are parents! It is hard to juggle a job, household, kids' activities, and more. Most parties feature chips, donut holes, brownies, cookies, soda, cake, fried chicken fingers and they rarely serve a fruit or vegetable. Most restaurants offer children's menus feature foods that are very high in fat and sodium. Take a look at our chart to see common choices and what they contain and you will be appalled!
Look at the typical choices for popular kid menu items below:
|Food||Calories||Fat (g)||Trans Fat (g)||Sat. Fat (g)||Sodium (mg)|
|Chicken Nuggets, Fries, Coke||520||23||0||3.5||570|
|Macaroni & Cheese, prep||410||4||0||2||912|
|Lunchable Cracker Stack||390||22||1||9||890|
|Dora the Explorer Soup||70||2||0||.5||580|
|SpaghettiOs Pasta with Franks||230||10||0||5||930|
|Cheeseburger meal with fries||640||24||1||7||920|
Source: Mcdonalds.com, Dennys.com, Kraftfoods.com
Published in Communicating Food for Health Newsletter
Tips for better kids meals:
• Share a healthy menu item with the kids. Ideas include low-fat salad and pasta with marinara sauce, grilled fish or chicken, baked potato and salad, soup and salad OR order a regular size item and take the leftovers home.
• Visit salad bar restaurants and places that offer low-fat options for salad, stirfry and pasta.
• Skip the fried food. Better choices for fast food are a plain burger, skim milk and fruit or salad (dressing on side).
• Involve kids in researching the nutrients for their favorite fast food restaurant menus. Have them visit the new FDA site for Nutrition Facts Label reading for kids so they can be aware of how to read a label and what is in the food they are eating - visit www.SpotTheBlock.com for three easy lessons on serving sizes, calories and nutrients.
• Cook with your kids!!
Kidscuisine.net lists the 5 top reasons to cook with kids as:
1) It encourages kids to eat healthy;
2) It is bonding time for you and the kids;
3) It nurtures creativity;
4) It is fun;
5) Cooking can teach math and science principles!!
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.