Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fast Food for Fast Times

I've been pretty good this summer about feeding the people in my house.  You know - grocery shopping and cooking and stuff like that.  We have still continued the weekly pizza night (my daughter says its a sure sign that I'm tired when I offer "hey, you guys want to get pizza for dinner?") and we've had our share of meals out.  But I've been in the kitchen, too.  I, in fact, like cooking when I have the time.  "When I have the time".  That'll be the key phrase in another week as we head back in to school and all the madness.

Cute lunch bag as a reminder to pack healthy snacks for those busy times.
All of our running around is, of course, after-school, right around dinner time.  On the days I don't have myself together and have dinner ready when they get home, we do end up going through the drive-thru, eating in the car or on the sidelines of somebody's something.  We probably eat more fast food during the school year than in the summer.  At the Mocha Moms Retreat this weekend, McDonald's was providing nutritional information about their menus.  Perfect! since my car has a magnetic pull towards sweet tea and french fries (hence, why I also need to run on a regular basis).  I took a look so that I could get some ideas for the next time I zoom through the drive-thru.

First - figuring out how much my kids should be eating.  I've always thought they really shouldn't be eating a lot.  I mean, they're kids, they're little people.  But, as I read, they are little people with little stomachs and a lot of energy.  And, admittedly, most of our activities are sports related, so my kids are active kids.  According to a couple charts and figures, my little squad should be consuming between 1200 calories (the 7-year old girl) to 1600 calories (the older girls) to 1800 calories (the 9-year old boy)!*  That's as much as I eat.  (Now, I really feel bad for my friends with three boys.)  That puts us at between 400 - 600 calories per meal.  Alright, let's see what the kids can have.
Menu options fit for a kid
Their normal order is a Hamburger (250 calories) and small fries (230 calories) - only 480 calories.  That's not so bad, afterall.  The little one often goes for the Chicken Nugget Happy Meal (410 calories); I like that the apple slices are now a part of the meal, with smaller french fries, rather than the kids having to choose between apples and fries.   I noticed last summer in Europe that the Happy Meals are sold this way.  What kid isn't going to choose the fries if given the choice?  Now, she happily eats both., or sometimes even skips the fries!  For alternatives, I could maybe get the kids to try the Grilled Chicken sandwich (350 calories) or the Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken (390 calories).  Some good options.

For me?  Its the Fish Sandwich or one of the salads.  I don't eat meat, so those are pretty much my options, as far as entrees, anyway.  But I did notice on one of the info sheets a great tip - I can skip the tartar sauce and get rid of 90 calories.  That's half-way to a vanilla cone (skip the hot fudge) or a small sweet tea.  Another tip, only use half the dressing on the salad - there's the other half of my ice cream cone.

On the list of things that induce mom guilt is feeding the kids fast food.  Reading over this nutritional information is making me feel better.  Do I think we should grab a burger and fries every day?  No, I don't think anybody should eat anything every day (well, except coffee, and maybe rice).  You need a variety in your diet for vitamins and all that good stuff.  But I'm glad to have some options for those days when we are no where near our kitchen.

Check the website for more info on McDonald's menu items or flip over the tray liner next time you order your meal.

*Note - this caloric information is not medical recommendations from me - I'm not a doctor - this is info gleaned from other articles.  Be sure to check with your own kids' doctor if you have questions about their weight, diet, etc.

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