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Dealing with the McDonald’s Factor when Feeding Today’s Children

Childrens Health > Dealing with the McDonald’s Factor when Feeding Today’s Children

Americans have created a society of little patience. We want everything and we want it now – not later. The distributors of fast foods, like McDonalds, have been all too happy to oblige our neurotic need to eat and run. Unfortunately, our children are following suit and are suffering some serious health consequences as a result of adults’ fascination with fast foods.

Fast food restaurants are notorious for serving foods that are high in fat and additives, high in sodium and laden with carbohydrates. But then, hey, they’re fast, right? As parents get busier, they are losing sight of their own health and the health of their children.

It’s time to deal with the McDonald’s factor and the sooner you do, the sooner your children will start making better choices too.

• Plan meals one week in advance. Decide as a family what you should have for dinner each evening and how you can make sure you get adequate servings of all of the food groups each day. Turn it into a game and your children will learn to love to play.

• If you plan to eat out, eat at a sit down restaurant that encourages you to relax while you eat a good meal. Avoid menu selections that are full of fat, sodium and simple carbohydrates. Talk over menu choices and allow yourselves enough time for dinner to make the meal about being together, not about getting food fast.

• If you find yourself stopping at a fast-food restaurant, avoid french fries and sugary soft drinks. Ask about low-fat, low-carb menu solutions and praise children for choosing healthy foods over unhealthy foods. Encourage them to eat salads, grilled chicken instead of deep-fried chicken and if they must have a hamburger, leave the cheese off and order fruit instead fries.

• If you plan a trip to the fast-food restaurant, plan a trip to the park right after so children will have a chance to wear off some of the calories they consume.

• Carry healthy snacks with you in the car so that if you are detained at an appointment or while running errands with children you can give them snacks to tide them over until dinner time. Carry fresh fruits, cut up vegetables and whole nuts for kids to munch on instead of an ice-cream cone, piece of candy or a bag of fries.

• Make sure you have healthy food selections at home so that if children do eat fast food now and then, they will benefit from a healthy diet most of the time.

• Look at your children’s lunch menu from school. Talk about the selections schools offer. Eat lunch at the school from time to time to see what is being served.

If you make good food choices at fast food restaurants, your children will learn to do so too.

Childrens Health > Dealing with the McDonald’s Factor when Feeding Today’s Children