Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cheap Kids Meals - At What Cost?

I heard a story on the news yesterday that said because of the hard economic times we are going through fast food restaurant sales will actually be on the rise. In fact, global sales for our Nation’s Number One Hamburger Chain are up. So why the rise in fast food sales in this economy?

One word – cheap food! But at what cost?

The typical kids meal at a fast food restaurant with a cheeseburger, small fries, and a 12 ounce soda has 670 calories and 26 grams of fat. The Mighty Kids Meals for older children offers double hamburgers or cheeseburgers and a 16 ounce soda. They have 850 calories with 36 grams of fat. If your child has a Quarter Pounder with cheese, medium fries, and medium soda, the calories jump to 1100 with 45 grams of fat. (Article from the Texas Children’s Pediatric Associates).

Shockingly, my kids have never had a hamburger but I do make extra lean turkey burgers at home. I use Jennie-O Extra Lean Ground Turkey Breast. (Make sure it says extra lean). I add garlic salt, pepper and dry minced onions for the adults. One serving has 15 calories and 1.5 grams of total fat! I make them just like traditional hamburgers with lettuce, pickles (another blog about pickles coming soon!), and onion on a toasted whole wheat bun.

Another option is veggie burgers. We have a home-made recipe that I will share but it is very time-consuming. For a more convenient option I love Morning Star Farms Veggie Cakes. One box of 4 burgers cost about the same or less than a “value meal” and you will be eating a much healthier meal. They have 2 great flavors, Ginger Teriyaki and Southwestern Style. You can microwave them or cook them in a skillet and then add all your favorite toppings.

Both of these options will probably take as long to fix as the wait in your local drive thru line, are much better for your health, and will not break the food budget.

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