With the concern over America’s obesity problem increasing and more people becoming health conscious, it’s become necessary for restaurants to follow suit and make their menus healthier for kids. Studies show that American families are eating more often than ever before, so it’s essential that children eat right.
The latest research will show why the change is menus have become necessary. In the past, menus in restaurants were very high in sodium and fat, which is why restaurant owners like Applebee’s and IHOP have added a lot of healthy options in their menus. Although the content varies, the following are just some of the items you will find the next time your family eats out.
Research indicates that people like to eat foods with bright vivid colors, which is why fresh salads with orange carrots, deep red tomatoes and various fresh green vegetables are popular with kids now. Aside from the bright colors, fat free or low fat dressings make them more palatable. Salads are great for dinner, but restaurants are also now offering a lot of different but healthy finger foods such as slices of zucchini, carrots, green and red peppers among others.
Fresh fruits are also very much in these days as they are being used to garnish plates, with watermelon, oranges and strawberries among the most popular. Not only are these nutritious, but they make for a good side dish for children’s meals. When it comes to nutritional value, fruits are hard to beat as a single cup of strawberries is equivalent to a child’s daily recommended fruit serving. There was a time when fruits used to be expensive, but now that’s no longer the case as competition among restaurants have driven the cost down.
Rather than offering sweetened drinks, most kids menus today offer cranberry juice, orange juice and other flavors, with a growing number serving up boxes or bottles of fruit juices and doing away with soda altogether. If you’re going to order one make sure that it is 100% fruit juice and not a drink with just a bit of fruit flavored added.
Whole Wheat Bread
Health experts have long known the benefits that whole wheat, multi grain and whole grain breads provide, and now restaurants are offering whole wheat sandwiches and burger rolls for kids. Aside from restaurants, bakeries are now offering whole wheat alternatives as well which are not only tasty but affordable.
Whole Wheat Pasta
Macaroni and cheese and spaghetti with meatballs have long been staples on children’s menus, so replacing it with wheat pasta is easy. What makes whole wheat pasta especially attractive is the fact that there’s not much difference in taste so kids will enjoy it.
Low Fat Yogurt
Low fat or no fat yogurt has always been a favorite of health conscious adults and now they’re available to kids as well. Low in calories but rich in calcium, yogurt is especially good for kids who are growing up, and while yogurt may be a bit bland, flavored variants are now becoming more common.
Low Fat Milk
Low fat milk and skim milk are now included in most kids’ menus as it has been proven that they cut down on calories and fat and is a healthier option compared to soda.
Other Low Fat and Healthy Food Options
Aside from those already mentioned, you will also find a lot of restaurants offering healthy food options such as turkey hotdogs. Hotdogs have always been popular with kids but rather than serve an unhealthy hotdog or corndog, restaurants are now offering fat turkey dogs as they’re much healthier.
Aside from turkey hotdogs restaurant menus also include grilled chicken in their menu. Much healthier than their fried counterparts, grilled chicken goes well with nachos, wraps, sandwiches and Caesar salads. Children will enjoy grilled chicken as is, but nowadays you can order them as strips, perfect for dipping in low fat dips or something to eat with their salad.
Choosing a Healthy Restaurant Menu for Your Kids
There used to be a time when your choices for healthy food were limited, but that’s no longer the case as options are growing. This is good news for parents who are concerned about the kind of food that their children are eating. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to find out what kind of menus a restaurant is offering. By simply going to their website you’ll be able to get a good look at their kids’ menu and see what they have to offer.
To meet the demands of parents and government authorities, restaurants have made it easy to understand their menu options and in some cases provide information about calorie content, fat and so on. If you’re really worried about the type of food your child will eat, dining at healthy restaurants is a must.