Teaching Kids to Make Healthy Menu Choices

According to the National Restaurant Association, Americans spend 47% of the food dollar (defined as the expenditure by U.S. consumers on domestically produced food) on dining out of the home, reflected by the 1.2% increase in restaurant sales in real (inflation adjusted) terms. In other words, whether it is at sit down venues or fast food pizza parlors Americans are increasingly eating outside the home. While obesity rates have slowed, they remain high, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Considering the large proportion of meals that take place outside of the home, it is crucial for families to educate their children from a young age on making healthy choices within a restaurant setting. Tips to doing so include:

  • Ruling out the kid’s menu
  • Taking advantage of healthy options
  • Taking advantage of healthy options
  • Expand children’s tastes through culinary exposure
  • Order fewer entrees than there are people at the table and eat family style
  • Skip the sugary drinks

What’s the bottom line?

 Our kids are in dire need of skills and strategies for eating restaurant food more healthfully. While your kids are young and impressionable, treat family restaurant excursions as teachable moments. Make them opportunities to instill healthful restaurant eating tactics as reflexive behaviors they can practice throughout their lives.”

Crunched for time, American consumers may not always have time for a home cooked meal. By actively making healthy choices and educating their children, parents can attempt to instill the same health values as they would around the dinner table.

 

Read more here- “Nine Ways to Help Your Children Eat More Healthfully in Restaurants,” (Hope Warshaw, The Washington Post)

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Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.

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