Your 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):
Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich
4 pieces Chicken McNuggets (without sauce)
Salads (not including dressings):
Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken
Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken
Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken
Fruit and Yogurt Parfait
Apple Dippers with low fat Caramel Dip
Vanilla Reduced fat Ice Cream Cone
1 % Milk carton
Small Apple or Orange Juice
Child Size Sodas
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.
Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or dietitian. Information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.