Fast food is a lot of things.
It is fast, convenient, and fun, but can it be healthy?
Are too many 'Happy Meals' the reason that more kids today are overweight?
The rise in families substituting a trip to McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, etc. for a family meal at home is likely one of the causes for the increase in overweight kids, but it is not the only cause. Other factors are also to blame, including an increased time watching TV and playing video games, decreased time in physical activity and unhealthy food choices.
An unhealthy food choices don't end at home, where kids may eat too many high fat and high calorie foods and snacks and sugary drinks.
The choices you make when eating fast food can also determine how healthy or 'unhealthy' it is.
How can you make fast food healthy?
One of the easiest ways is to just watch your portion sizes and understand how many calories and how much fat you add to a meal when you 'super-size' your order. It might seem like a good 'value' to go with the special or large meal sizes, but think about what those extra calories will cost you later as your child tries to burn them off to lose weight.
In addition to choosing smaller portion sizes, checking the menu at your favorite fast food restaurant will likely help you find other low calorie low fat alternatives to traditional fast foods that really are healthy. These might include a salad, baked potato, or grilled chicken salad.
With other types of fast food, like pizza, choose a thin crust cheese pizza and avoid adding a lot of cheese or extra meat toppings.
It can also help your child eat more healthy if you avoid 'fast food' at more traditional restaurants that you visit. It seems like almost every restaurant, whether it is Italian, Chinese, Mexican, etc. has a kids' menu with high fat and high calorie foods, like chicken nuggets, french fries, etc.
Instead of always relying on the kid's menu, consider getting a 1/2 order or child plate of a more traditional and healthier item at the restaurant.