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Surviving a McDonald's Party

Written by
Published in April 2007

Consider this.....

mcdonalds healthy choicesYour 6 year old's best friend is celebrating a birthday at McDonald's. Of course, your child is excited but you are not thrilled because you make a conscious effort to encourage your child to eat healthy by avoiding fast foods. What is a parent to do to encourage healthy eating in such a situation? Here are a few tips to help minimize your child's intake of foods that offer little to no nutritive value...

1. Try to have your son/daughter eat a healthy snack before going to the party. Examples of such foods include: yogurt with a fruit, bowl of cereal with milk, crackers and cheese, fruit with cheese, ½ peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Doing this will help curb your child's appetite so that he/she will not eat as much when arriving at McDonald's.

2. Before you get to McDonald's, discuss with your child what he or she will order. Encourage options that will be lower in fat and calories while offering some nutritional value. Here are a few examples of healthier choices from the McDonald's menu (Nutrition facts are available from the McDonald's website):

Menu Item
Calories
Fat (g)
Meal:
Hamburger
260
9
Cheeseburger
310
12
Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich
420
9
4 pieces Chicken McNuggets (without sauce)
170
10
Salads (not including dressings):
Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken
290
10
Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken
220
9
Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken
220
6
Desserts:
Fruit and Yogurt Parfait
160
2
Apple Dippers
35
0
Apple Dippers with low fat Caramel Dip
100
0.5
Vanilla Reduced fat Ice Cream Cone
150
3.5
Kiddie Cone
45
1
Drinks:
1 % Milk carton
100
2.5
Small Apple or Orange Juice
90-140
0
Child Size Sodas
70-120
0

3. If your child chooses a salad and would like to add some salad dressing, encourage him/her having one of the lower fat versions – they are much lower in calories and fat.

4. If your child chooses to have a soda and fries, have him/her order the smallest size, and encourage splitting it with you or a friend.

The Bottom Line

Making healthier choices at McDonald's is possible by considering menu options before getting there. Discussing meal options with your kids before getting to a restaurant will help narrow down choices – you can help narrow the search at McDonald's by suggesting the healthier options above.


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