Remember the burger wars? A few years ago, all of the major fast food companies got into a fight about who’s burger was the best. At that time, they threw all of the health concerns out the window and tried to sell the biggest, fattest burger with the most slices of cheese and the most slices of bacon.
One cardiologist called Wendy’s triple cheese a “cardiac bypass special.” You could almost hear your arteries harden when you ate the thing. Not only that but most of the places fried their French fries in partially hyrogenated oil that contained a lot of trans fats. Add a milk shake and you were lucky to even survive the meal.
Then, all of a sudden, America became more health conscious and the burger wars were ended. The companies listened to their customers, and while the heavy fat-laden burgers stayed on the menu. (Hey, we have a patriotic right to be the fattest people on the planet.), the companies listened to their customers and started offering a selection of more-healthy salads.
But those sal;ads were like the baked potatoes that they also offered. They were fine plain but after you added all of the cheese, dressings, and bacon bits, they became fat-laded as well. So, what CAN you eat and especially your children, when you go to one of those fast food restaurants?
According to CNN: “With billions spent in advertising high-fat, sugary foods to children, it’s no wonder parents have to take a kid outside for a good talking-to to persuade them to eat the healthy stuff. It’s a battle parents face often: According to a new study from Yale University, 84 percent of parents take children to fast food restaurants at least once a week.”
Fast food restaurants routinely test their French fries by rubbing them into the mouths of babies and gauging their reactions to the taste. It saddens me to see mothers buying fries for their small children instead of encouraging them to eat healthier at a younger age. If the babies eat sugary, high-calorie foods when they are young, they will grow fat. And fat children grow up to be fat adults.
Selecting the healthy options at a fast food restaurant is not always easy. A Yale study found that out of 3,000 children s meals at fast food restaurants, only 12 of them met nutritional guidelines.
If you buy a Happy Meal for your preschooler at a McDonald’s you have already satisfied half of your child’s daily calorie allotments. Instead of your standard Happy Meal, try to get the meal on whole wheat bread and with juice or low-fat milk instead of the sugary soda.
Try to get your child to like a veggie sandwich, a grilled chicken, or macaroni and cheese from Burger King. Even if you have to bribe and coerce your child into eating healthier meals at the fast food restaurants, in the long term it will be worth it. And while your at it, you might want to choose some healthier options for yourself as well.