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Restaurants Are You Listening?
To eat or what not to eat?
Beyond Kid’s Menu Options.
Today’s puzzled minds are challenged just wondering, how in the world can we keep our families on the same wavelength and never the less our kid’s tummies filled with healthy nourishment?
Day in and day out, we try so hard to make it happen and especially when getting the family to seat together at the dinner table seems just an unreachable dream. Nowadays, is when we as parents need to learn time management and conscious sustainability, wishing not the convenience of fast junk foods, but instead the easy access to kid’s healthy menus on the GO!
HERE COMES THE CHALLENGE!! If seating down with the family for a home cook meal is unfeasible, not even a couple of times a week, then what can we do? How can we get our kids choosing healthier meals?
Eating out becomes a predicament for either parent; the working parents as for the ones that stay-at-home. Even the ones staying-at-home experience the fact that there is no quick-easy access to healthy foods when needed, unless your cupboards are filled with the right stuff.
Carrying a medium size cooler in the car, with enough healthy snacks and drinks might seem to be the answer when driving from school, to soccer practice, to dance lessons, to martial arts classes, tutoring and so on. However, the trouble starts when snacks and drinks run out and you still have another couple of stops to do, you find yourself with kids yelling and asking for something else to eat or drink. Then the drive through option can for sure be the answer, but the good news is that now you have the healthy options, even within the unhealthiest menus. “You HAVE the control of your children’s health, not restaurants.”
Not imposing that eating out it’s all-bad! Eating out doesn't need to be vanished, it can be lots of fun and specially for family celebrations, eating whatever you want on certain days, including a nice big yummy (cheat-day) dessert; this could be totally suitable, but not when eating out becomes a regular daily routine. Moreover, this availability becomes impractical when it comes to the speedily growing statistics of childhood obesity in the U.S., which it has most of us know, more than tripled in the past 30 years.
We all recognize that there is a problem, then why isn’t there a regulated law-enforcement for the “Food and Beverage” Industry when it comes to creating and offering healthier children’s menu in every single eating place there is? This topic is not intended to generate a debate, but rather creating awareness among our Nation. In fact, as we speak we DO know that there are new programs and regulations gradually taking place; and already some franchises and privately-owned restaurants are implementing the moral duty of offering not just the best quality in foods, but to ensure that your family gets the proper nutritional value while dinning out. Even some of the public schools in certain states are now listening.
Whether taking the kids to a drive-through or a sit down restaurant, the first step to healthier eating is to actually learn about what you have been ordering and what else is available. Most importantly, parents should set the example and make healthy choices for themselves.
Are there any eating-places that pursue a healthier guideline? Yes! There are few local programs like the “Winner's Circle”, which concentrates their efforts in family healthy, dining and created a partnership with local communities, restaurants, schools, and food industry partners promoting a health based fair competition. The Winner's Circle program uses one consistently a purple star with a gold fork logo, to identify healthy foods choices in restaurants. Winner's Circle encourages people to eat healthy from a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and calcium-rich foods while getting rid of the excess fat, sodium, and sugars.
In addition, there are nationwide programs such as the new “Kids Live-Well” program, where the healthy foods criteria in restaurants are offered in a larger scale. Kids Live-Well, formed by a “Healthy Dining’s” team of expert dietitians, in conjunction with the National Restaurant Association (NRA), working with restaurants nationwide to offer us a selection of Kids Live-Well menu choices. Their choices criteria include lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Google “Kids Live-Well” for the latest restaurants that have joined this program.
We all know that choosing living a healthier life starts in the mother’s womb. Lessons learned from our parents and to our own flaws! That’s why is so important to “Coach our Kids” as soon as they can talk and in the end, it won’t matter if there is or there isn’t some type of a healthy approach or healthier sustainable menu choices, when it comes to feeding our kids out there, if factual healthy habits don’t start at home.