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Healthiest options for kids if fast food is on the menu

on June 22, 2012

While, we all agree that fast food is far from the best options, but with summer here and full of long car rides home from the beach and schedules jam packed, sometimes it may seem like the easiest thing to do.  Earlier this week, we gave you a list of the worst offenders for fast food, today we compiled a list of some of the healthier options.  While there is still no comparison to a freshly cooked, nutritious meal, these options will at least help to provide your children with fewer negative attributes of fast food.

1. Subway– While all of their sandwiches are relatively healthy, the veggie delight is the best option since there is no sodium packed meat included in this.  Add a side of skim milk and apple slices and the entire meal comes in at only 285 calories!

2. KFC– Their grilled chicken drumstick with corn on the cob, string cheese, and and unsweetened tea comes in at only 270 calories and has the adequate amount of protein and calcium needed for the day!

3. Chick-Fil-A– Their chargrilled chicken sandwich with a fruit cup might come in at 420 calories, however this meal also provides 10 grams of fiber, adequate amounts of Vitamin A and Calcium, as well as the full daily amount of Vitamin C for the kids!

4. Au Bon Pain– Not only is this chain rated as the “healthiest fast food restaurant in America,” but the food speaks for itself as well.  The grilled chicken on multigrain bread is a protein-packed option that’s sure to keep your little one satiated all afternoon. For on the go options, try some of their “portions” offerings, which include smaller servings of nutritious snacks like hummus and cucumbers; cheddar, fruit, and crackers; and apples, blue cheese, and cranberries.

5. Burger King– Their children’s chicken tender meal with apple slices and skim milk comes in at 350 calories and provides adequate amounts of Vitamin C, Calcium, and protein.

6. Wendy’s– The chicken nugget combo with apple fries (minus the caramel sauce), and unsweetened tea in place of a soft drink comes in at 250 calories.  Your children will get a protein packed meal and adequate amount of Vitamin A and C.

Hands down, the one fast food restaurant you should stay away from is Taco Bell.  In all research conducted, studies have shown that they unfortunately do not offer any options of well balanced meals for children in relation to the caloric intake for each meal.

One tip that many nutritionists provide with regard to fast food and children, is to consider order smaller versions of adult items instead of doing the traditional kids meal that usually contains fries, etc.  Sure, the children might miss the toys but in the end they will thank you later.  Some options are ordering a 4pc nugget meal with a fruit and yogurt parfait from McDonalds.  Wendy’s also offers a lot of their salads and sides in half options, so if your little ones love salads then that could also be an option.  One of their healthiest salads is their berry almond chicken salad which contains grilled chicken, fresh blueberries and strawberries and a serving of almonds which provides a well balanced meal at only about 175 calories for the half size of the salad.

 

Sources:

http://www.usnews.com

http://www.parenting.com

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