With more and more people becoming interested in eating healthy, it does become challenging when you are eating out and especially if you have kids. I took my grandkids out to eat this week and most of the choices on the kids menu were anything but healthy! This made me think a lot about how we can enjoy a meal out and still keep our kids on track with healthy eating habits because it is important to teach them that sometimes even though there are many choices, they aren’t always the ones we should choose. Sometimes we have to take matters into our own hands! But, how can we do that?
Here are a few suggestions to help you and your family make better choices:
Many restaurants like McDonalds and Wendys do offer fruit now and that is great news. However, many have not jumped on that bandwagon. If you know that you are going to eat out, you might want to take a small fruit cup with you so that you can give it to your child with their meal. Fruit is a much better choice over french fries. Most restaurants will have vegetables on their menu and even if they are not offered in a kid’s meal, you can order it on the side and ask for it instead of french fries.
You can also try ordering “off” of the menu. Most restaurants want to accommodate their patrons so you can ask for food to be cooked for your child the way you would like…for instance….instead of fried chicken fingers, you can ask that the chicken be cut into fingers and grilled without breading.
Another great idea is to skip the kid’s meal all together. Most restaurants serve too much food in an adult entree anyway, so why not just ask for an extra plate and split your healthy meal with your child? If you have a family of 4 you can save a lot of money by ordering 2 adult meals and then splitting with your kids. Better for your wallet and your waistline!
Drink water!! No one at the table needs sugary soda so skip that and not only will you be making a healthier choice, you will save money, too!
If you are eating at a fast food restaurant, choose a deli sandwich instead of a burger. Most chains now offer these and they are a much better choice. Have fruit or veggies/salad on the side and you have a pretty healthy meal!
Try eating at an ethnic restaurant!! Most of them offer healthier choices like beans, veggies and steamed chicken or even sushi!
And don’t forget to ask your waiter to talk to the chef about using less salt. If you don’t ask, you will be consuming more salt than you should be eating. Train your children to use less salt and more spices. I carry a no salt alternative in my purse and use it when I go to a restaurant!
Eating out should always be a special time….not something that you do every day. However, if you learn to make healthier choices, you can enjoy this time with your kids and not feel guilty.