The increasing cases of childhood obesity have forced parents to take a second look at their children’s dinner plate. As a parent, you must ensure that your child eats only those foods that meet his nutritional needs. However, there is a limit to the amount of control you can exercise.
For all those times when you go out to dinner or those times when you are too busy to serve a meal, your family has no choice but to depend on the meals prepared at the restaurant. We can see how bad you feel, but it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. The restaurants, mindful of the nutritional needs of children and the concerns of parents, have special menus and meals for children.
You can ask how they differ from regular restaurant meals. First, they differ in the ingredients they use. Second, they use healthy food preparation methods. Third, they make sure the food they serve is appealing to both the eyes and those little taste buds. Here’s a detail on healthy kid-friendly meals at kid-friendly restaurants.
- Replacing white bread products with whole grains –
Many restaurants prefer to use whole grain products, such as whole grain breads and pastas, rather than the white varieties. This is because white bread is difficult to digest and loaded with calories. Whole grains, on the other hand, contain a reasonable amount of healthy filling fiber.
- Serving organic food –
Organic foods, both plant and animal, are a healthier, safer and more nutritious option. You might ask why. Organic fruits and vegetables are produced naturally without the use of fertilizers, pesticides, or bioengineering. Similarly, the animals are fed only natural feed and are not injected with antibiotics or growth hormones to increase production. If a restaurant serves organic food, go for it.
- Grilled, baked and roasted –
The method of preparation also influences the nutritional value of the food. Foods fried in oil have a higher caloric content. Grilling, baking, and broiling are better food preparation methods.
- Dispensing artificial colors and sweeteners –
You may also want to look for foods that do not contain high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener or artificial food colors. Fructose corn syrup is high in calories, while artificial colors contain toxic substances.
- Healthy drinks –
Many of the children’s restaurants have removed sugary drinks and soft drinks from the children’s menu. Instead, they serve water, fresh fruit juices, and milk shakes.
- Low calorie meals –
In many cases, it is not possible to eliminate certain ingredients because they are the soul and substance of a dish. In such cases, restaurants try to make it healthy by adjusting their total calorie content. This includes the use of low-fat dairy products. They can omit the extra cheese or serve the sauces and dressings separately. Dishes are also prepared to contain a very small amount of sodium. Otherwise, you can request that the changes be made to your plate.
You can also ask for healthy side foods. Most restaurant meals today include fruits and vegetables such as steamed broccoli, fresh carrots, apple slices, tangerines, and the like for kids and toddlers to nibble on; they have said goodbye to the french fries.
So here’s the trick to making sure your child eats healthy even when dining out. Look for food chains that offer healthy and tasty food not only for children but also for adults and make your reservations there.