Taking your family out for a fun and healthy meal can be challenging if budgets are tight or if Whether you’re planning a road trip to a new destination or are just looking for healthier options in your local area,
Focus on Veggie-Based Meals
There are some cuisines that are veggie-heavy. Since vegetables are lower in fat and can fill you up more quickly, stopping at a Chinese restaurant in any US state from New York to Utah, is a lovely way to get a great meal without a lot of junk.
This doesn’t mean you have to survive on salads. Consider a stop at a baked potato bar, add some broccoli and cheese and get an unsweetened iced tea to drink. Often, these potatoes can be quite huge. You may be able to split with a child, or offer part of your potato to your growing, always hungry teen.
Consider Portion Sizes
Modern portion sizes are quite extreme. If your children are too old for the kiddie portions, or if the kid’s menu is not healthy, consider splitting adult entrees. For example, if you and two children are enjoying a meal, get two entrée and three plates and split them at the table.
One meal of baked chicken will probably be larger than the recommended 3 to 4 ounces. If you order one meat and potatoes entrée and one salad-sized meal, you’ll probably get plenty of food for three people. Pair these with water, unsweetened iced tea, or sparkling water to keep the sugar content down.
Stop at a Smoothie Shop
You can get smoothies, parfaits, and salads at some fast food places. However, if the lure of french fries won’t let you pass up something deep-fried, take yourself away from the burger place and visit a smoothie shop.
While kids may be able to easily run all day on a fruit smoothie, adults may want to change things up with a green or savory smoothie. These can actually be quite a treat; often, they contain not only greens but include a bit of zing, such as salsa or fresh chopped peppers. A good smoothie shop will also allow you to customize your choices; for example, if you have allergies or sensitivities to any particular sweetener or product, you can call ahead and order a custom drink that won’t upset your tummy.
Look for Farmers Markets
A stop at a farmer’s market is a great way to stock up on snacks and gifts for folks back home. You can also look for vendors selling parfaits, fruit snacks, or sandwiches of freshly prepared meats.
A sandwich on the right bread can be quite a healthy choice. Fries, chips, and soda can radically change the healthy quality of your sandwich choice. At a farmers market, you can walk around, check out locally grown produce, just grab a sandwich and drink the water you brought, and avoid all the add-ons. If the weather is particularly good, you may be able to talk your children into a trip to the park. If the weather is bad, take a trip to the library and look for gardening books.
Many people believe that we are too disconnected from our food. Shopping at farmer’s markets makes it much easier to impress on children that knowing where your food comes from can greatly increase your health. Additionally, buying your produce at farmer’s markets can reduce your food costs.
Check Out Food Truck Gatherings
Of course, it is possible to find foods that are not very good for you at food truck gatherings. However, you can also find food truck events that include vegan restaurants, Mediterranean wraps, smoothie makers, and frozen yogurt.
Another fun option with both farmer’s markets and food truck gatherings is that you can get some exercise and do a little people watching while choosing your meal. If you’re tired of leaving restaurants feeling completely bloated, a stroll through a food truck event could be a nice change!
Helping your children develop a taste for healthier foods can be a challenge if their only choices are from the kid’s menu. Sharing a plate with mom, dad, or another adult at the party can be a good way to reduce the risk of a high fat, high salt kid’s meal.