Is Fast Food Supersizing Your Kids?

We are what we eat and the same goes with our kids! With nearly one-third of children eating fast food on any given day, we are creating an epidemic of extra-large kids. Childhood obesity rates are soaring and Truestar knows it’s time to trade in those drive-thru dinners of burgers, fries and pop for healthier fast-food fares!

Consider some of the latest Canadian statistics:

35% of boys are overweight,

29% of girls are overweight,

17% of boys are obese, and

15% of girls are obese.

The fast-food frenzy

We are living in an on-the-go world, so it’s no wonder the number of fast-food restaurants doubled from 1972 to 1995. Fast-food restaurants are popping up everywhere, even in unimaginable places like our hospitals and children’s schools. Although fast food is a fun, low-cost option to feed your fussy eater, it offers a small amount of nutrition and can add a large of amount of weight!

In a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics (Jan 2004: vol 113), researchers found that every day, nearly one-third of US children aged 4 to 19 eat fast food, which packs on an extra six pounds per child per year and increases the risk for obesity. The study also showed that children who ate fast food consumed more calories, fat, carbohydrates, sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages and less milk, fewer fruits and vegetables and less fiber than children in the same age group who did not eat fast food. A further finding of the study is that fast food seemed to trigger more eating later in the day, as fast food contains little fiber, a key to hormonal balance and feeling full and satisfied.

Healthier fast-food fare

Long work days, business dinners and after-school programs for the kids are all reasons why many families rely on fast food for their on-the-go lifestyle. Despite the bad news that fast food can negatively affect our children’s health, there is good news: minor changes in your fast-food order can have a major impact on your children’s health and waistlines.

Don’t supersize. Order regular or small portions and share dessert.

Skip the sugar-laden soda; instead, drink water or lowfat milk.

Order off the light menu. Fast-food chains have jumped on the health wagon and offer many lower fat options such as grilled chicken sandwiches, salads and yogurt parfaits for dessert. See Truestar Approved Fast-Food Options.

Watch for added fat and calories. Ask how the foods are prepared, omit extra sauces such as mayonnaise, go easy on higher fat toppings such as cheese and substitute high fat dressings for low-calorie and lowfat dressings. Ask to see a nutritional guide or use the Truestar Food Trakker to see which fast foods are best for your child.

If dining out at the pizza parlor, be sure to go light on the cheese, load up on the veggies and ask for thin crust and whole wheat or spelt dough (if available).

If your child has indulged in a fast-food meal, be sure to make the rest of the day’s meals and snacks healthy. Fresh fruits and veggies with dip provide great nutrition and fiber without all the calories! See Truestar’s nutrition plan for kids for healthy and tasty meal ideas.

Limit the number of visits to fast-food restaurants. Eating the majority of your meals at home usually means more nutrition and less fat and calories!

Keep your kids healthy with Truestar’s exercise, nutrition, supplement, sleep and attitude plans!