Parenthood is synonymous with having zero time in the day for leisurely activities, and if you are a working parent, it often means that you have too much on your plate to be able to cook at home to fill-up your childrens’ plates.
So, what do you do? You take your family out to a nice sit-down dinner at a restaurant. This way you get quality family time, in a low-stress environment, and with food that has to be better than a greasy fast food burger. But that “better” food is not always accurate.
Find out what foods should be put on your “not that” list.
David Zinczenko, autor of Eat This Not That, compiled a list of a few of the highest calories kids’ meals at popular restaurants. And the nutritional facts are pretty astonishing. By being aware of nutritional information you can make smarter, healthier choices for you and your kids when dining out. This will help combat the increasing percentage of childhood obesity and the many health issues that stem as a result.
Zinczenko provides examples of what not to eat as well as an alternative meal at the same restaurant:
1) The Yes and No of
- NO: Olive Garden Fettuccine Alfredo meal
48 g fat (30 g saturated fat)
810 mg sodium
* “Fun” fact: the saturated fat in this meal is equivalent to 1.5 full jars of Nutella.
- YES: Cheese Ravioli
8 g fat (4 g saturated)
440 mg sodium
* What a difference sauce makes! The healthier tomato-based marina is much better than the oil and butter-based white sauce of fettuccine alfredo.
2) The Yes and No of
- NO: Grilled Cheese with French Fries
54 g fat (17 saturated fat)
2,170 mg sodium
* “Fun” fact: the calorie count in this meal is equivalent to 400 Cheddar Goldfish Crackers, which is 1.3 full bags.
- YES: Hot Dog with Applesauce
13 g fat (4 g saturated fat)
860 mg sodium
* Though hot dogs aren’t necessarily health food number 1 but as long as it’s not soaked in sodium it is a great calorie-cutter. Plus, it goes great with ketchup.
3) The Yes and No of
- NO: Outback Steakhouse Kookaburra Chicken Fingers meal with Aussie Fries
60 g fat (21 g saturated fat)
2,052 mg sodium
* “Fun” fact: the fat in this meal is equivalent to 12 Frosted Chocolate Fudge Pop-Tarts. And the sodium in this dinner is almost as much as the recommended amount for a child’s entire daily intake, which could really hurt your child’s heart.
- YES: Joey Sirloin with Fresh Seasonal Veggies
28.5 g fat (15 g saturated fat)
631 mg sodium
* Red meat is actually very healthy — it’s lean, mean, and loaded with protein.
4) The Yes and No of
- NO: Denny’s Slap Shot Sliders (2) meal with Finish Line Fries
53 g fat (16 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat)
1,180 mg sodium
* “Fun” fact: the calories in this meal are equivalent to 505 Jujubees, more than 2 full boxes.
- YES: Spaghetti, Set, Go! with Apple Dunkers and Caramel Dip
7 g fat (2 g saturated fat)
325 mg sodium
* The red marina sauce is again a healthier choice, and the serving of fruit is nutritious and delicious, and fun finger food for your kids.
5) The Yes and No of
- NO: Friendly’s Mac & Cheese Quesadilla meal with Friendly Frank, Shirley Temple and Friend-z Peanut Butter Cup
109 g fat (45 g saturated fat)
3,320 mg sodium
* “Fun” fact: the calorie count in this meal is equivalent to 45 Glazed Munchkins from Dunkin Donuts. This single meal has more calories than a child should have in a single day! How many calories should you consume in a day? Multiply your ideal weight by 11.
- YES: Grilled Cheese with Mandarin Oranges, 1% Milk, and a Double Shot Cone
34 g fat (19 g saturated fat)
1,150 mg sodium
* Because the meals come with dessert, the calorie count is still fairly high. Maybe scrap the dessert and drop 270 calories off of the meal.