From Arby's to Taco Bell and everywhere in between, kids love fast food. Yes, it's convenient (and, OK, admittedly delicious) but it's no secret that most fast food options are just not good for you.
Plan ahead for on-the-go dining
One of the reasons fast food is so popular is because it’s easy — especially for busy families with both parents working and kids in school and extracurricular activities. Even if you have to eat on the go, plan some “portable” meals instead of relying on the drive-thru.
If you don’t have time to make a full-blown dinner by the time you get home from work and before you need to take the kids to karate, pack a cooler full of grab-and-go eats like no-mess sandwiches (sans shredded lettuce and drippy mayo), granola or protein bars and snack-size packs of almonds, whole grain pretzels or whole wheat crackers with cheese sticks and apples. Just because you’re dining on the go, doesn’t mean you can’t offer a healthy, wholesome meal.
Monkey see, monkey do
If you really want your kids to eat healthy and ditch the drive-thru, you need to set the example. You don’t have to denounce fast food and all treats forever. Simply making small changes in your eating and lifestyle patterns will help your children follow suit. Encourage eating right and living an active lifestyle and before you know it, your family’s fast-food addiction will be gone for good.
Bring back family dinners
The family dinner table has gone the way of the dinosaur in many homes. Let’s bring it back! Make an effort to offer your kids a home-cooked meal at least three to four nights a week. Even if you’re not Giada De Laurentiis, we know you can whip up something! Enlist the hubby and the kids to help you chop veggies, stir soups or taste-test noodles for tenderness.
Offer a fast-food style alternative
Give your family a similar alternative so they don’t feel totally deprived from their fast-food faves. For example, if chicken nuggets and fries are top on your kids’ list, make a healthier version for them by cutting chicken breasts into small pieces, dredging them in milk and then crushed corn flakes and baking them until cooked through. Instead of bagged fried and frozen potato strings to accompany your homemade nuggets, bake sweet potato wedges until crispy outside and tender inside.
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