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How to Make Healthy Choices When Eating Out with Kids

It’s never to early to start eating healthy

A mother and child having a formal dinner

Eating out with kids can be a fun and enjoyable experience, but it can also be a challenge to make healthy choices when faced with tempting and often unhealthy menu options. However, with a little bit of planning and mindfulness, it is possible to make healthy choices when eating out with kids. In this article, we will discuss some tips and tricks for making healthy choices when eating out with kids.

Why Making Healthy Choices When Eating Out with Kids is Important

Children have developing bodies and minds, and proper nutrition is essential for their growth and development. Eating out can be a fun treat for kids, but frequent unhealthy choices can lead to negative health outcomes such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. By making healthy choices when eating out with kids, parents can help promote healthy habits that will benefit their children in the long term.

Child in red sweater eating

Tips for Making Healthy Choices When Eating Out with Kids

  1. Plan ahead and do some research. Before heading out to a restaurant, check the menu online and look for healthy options. Many restaurants now offer healthier choices on their menus, so take advantage of these options.
  2. Encourage kids to try new things. When ordering, encourage your kids to try new foods and flavors. You may be surprised at what they enjoy and it can be a fun way to introduce new healthy foods to their diet.
  3. Choose grilled or baked items over fried. Fried foods can be high in fat and calories, so opt for grilled or baked options instead. Grilled chicken, fish, and vegetables are all healthy options that are often available on menus.
  4. Avoid sugary drinks. Soda and other sugary drinks can be a major source of empty calories. Opt for water or unsweetened tea instead. If your kids want something sweet, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to their water.
  5. Watch portion sizes. Restaurant portions can be large, so share meals or take home leftovers. This can help prevent overeating and save money as well.
  6. Ask for substitutions. Many restaurants are happy to make substitutions to accommodate dietary needs. Ask for extra vegetables instead of fries or for your meal to be prepared with less oil.
  7. Be mindful of condiments and sauces. These can be high in calories and sodium, so use them sparingly or ask for them on the side.
  8. Don’t skip breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast can help curb cravings and prevent overeating later in the day. Encourage your kids to eat a healthy breakfast before heading out to eat.
  9. Pack healthy snacks. Bring along healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, nuts, or whole-grain crackers to munch on before or after the meal. This can help prevent hunger and the temptation to snack on unhealthy items.
Little girl at restaurant

Conclusion

Eating out with kids can be a fun and enjoyable experience, but it’s important to make healthy choices to promote long-term health and wellness. By planning ahead, making substitutions, and encouraging kids to try new things, parents can help instill healthy habits in their children. Remember to be mindful of portion sizes and avoid sugary drinks and high-calorie condiments. With these tips and tricks, you can make healthy choices when eating out with kids and enjoy a fun and nutritious meal together.

FAQs

  1. What are some healthy options for kids when eating out?

Some healthy options for kids when eating out include grilled or baked chicken, fish, or vegetables, salads, and whole-grain pasta or rice dishes.

  1. How can I encourage my kids to try new foods when eating out?

Encourage your kids to try new foods by making it a fun and adventurous experience. Let them pick out a new dish to try or challenge them to find a healthy option on the menu.

  1. Are there any healthy drink options for kids when eating out?

Yes, some healthy drink options for kids when eating out include water, unsweetened tea, and 100% fruit juice in moderation.

  1. What should I do if there are no healthy options on the menu?

If there are no healthy options on the menu, try asking the restaurant if they can make substitutions or modifications to make the dish healthier. For example, you can ask for extra vegetables instead of fries or for your meal to be prepared with less oil.

  1. Can I still enjoy eating out with my kids while making healthy choices?

Absolutely! Making healthy choices doesn’t mean sacrificing taste or enjoyment. Encourage your kids to try new healthy foods and make it a fun and adventurous experience. By being mindful of portion sizes and making healthy substitutions, you can still enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal with your family.

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