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Fast Food Figured Out

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Fast Food Figured Out

Picture this: You just picked up your daughter from school and you’re running her to soccer practice. Your son needs to get to his basketball game. You have less than an hour and there’s no time to waste!

Everyone needs to eat but the question is where and what? Does this sound all too familiar? Finding better fast food picks for your family can be easier than you think. All you need are some go-to guidelines and simple planning.

Here’s how to do it with help from Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE:

  1. Plan ahead. Many fast food restaurants post nutrition information on their websites. Sift through to pick out the healthiest options at each of your favorite places. You may also go to and for additional nutrition information.

  2. Communicate and compromise. When the goal is to feed your family more healthful options, it’s important to incorporate changes slowly and subtly. Sit down as a family and pre-select from the menus you’ve downloaded online so it’s not a huge surprise to your kids what options they have when you arrive at the drive-thru.

  3. Avoid food fights. Your daughter will insist on McDonald’s while your son begs for Wendy’s. Let’s avoid the conflict by having you as the parent decide where to go. Definitely offer choices that you all have pre-selected off the menu.

  4. Choices, choices. At this point your family has done their homework and you all know the options. Keep it simple and offer choices. For example ask if they would like “choice A” or “choice B.”

  5. Set an example. You want to pick a healthier option for yourself, too.

Taking our advice to heart? Here are some healthful options at some fast food favorites.

Top picks for 500 calories or less:

Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Apple Slices
1% Low Fat Milk
Jr. Hamburger
Apple Bites
1% White Milk
Turkey Breast 6-Inch Sub
Unsweetened Apple Sauce
1% Low Fat Milk
Grilled Chicken Nuggets
Honey Mustard Sauce
Fresh Fruit Cup
1% White Milk
Taco Bell
2 “Fresco” Soft Taco – Shredded Chicken
Black Beans

It’s a win-win for everyone. You can help your family fuel up with good-tasting nutrition value, less fuss and convenience on the way home. When you can, try fitting in family meals at home more often than not. Your kids will thank you (if not now) later.

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, click here or call 972.560.2655.