Most families eat at a fast food restaurant at least once a week and many people have fast food several times a week. While fast food may be convenient, cheap, and taste good, it can have a bad effect on your child’s weight and health.
Fast food meals are often high in sodium, fat, and calories. Eating high fat, super-sized meals can lead to weight gain. Weight gain increases the risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Fast food restaurants now offer smaller portions, more grilled chicken choices, and kids meals with fruit and milk instead of fries and soda. Some of the fast food chains limit the salt and trans fats in kids meals.
Here are some ideas for making healthier choices:
Most large food chains provide nutrition information that lists all menu items, and show total calories, grams of carbohydrate, protein, total fat, saturated fat, and trans fats. Ask for information at the counter or go online to the restaurant's Web site. The Web sites often include menus, nutrient lists, and easy to use calculators so you can see exactly what your child is eating and where you need to make changes. Some Web sites also have information about food allergies and diabetic exchanges. It has never been easier to select fast food meals to fit a healthy diet.