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Fast Food Families: Why You Cant Afford the Drive Thru

Its a question that makes most moms squirm. Whats for dinner? Unfortunately, many times in desperation the answer is found at the nearest drive thru. Todays average American eats 4 or more meals away from home each week. Fast food is no longer a treat for many families. Its a habit that comes with a big price tag not listed on any value menu.

Consider the mom whos trying to lose weight. She should be eating 1,800 calories or less per day. If she orders a hamburger, small French fries and small soda at the neighborhood drive thru, shes just spent 1000 calories on lunch. Not to mention the terrible nutritional value of those calories. Its a very high price to pay for convenience.

Heres a frightening study. Researchers found that every day, nearly one-third of U.S. children aged 4 to 19 eat fast food, which likely packs on about six extra pounds per child every year. Billions of dollars are spent every year on fast food advertising directed at kids. No wonder Americas kids are wrestling with obesity in alarming numbers.

So what can you do to break the cycle of unhealthy fast food consumption for yourself and your kids before its too late?

1. Reduce the number of times you eat fast food. If you currently eat fast food once a week, then make it your goal to go for two weeks before hitting the drive thru again. Over time, wean yourself away from fast food restaurants. Reserve trips to McDonalds or Burger King for occasional meetings with friends.

2. Find other convenient alternatives for meals. Making sandwiches with sliced turkey breast and whole wheat bread with ready-made salad makes an easy meal thats more nutritious than any value meal. Buy a rotisserie chicken or other ready-to-eat options at a grocery store instead of choosing fast food. If you dread doing the dishes, why not use paper plates?

3. Watch Super Size Me. You will be astounded by this documentary about the fast food industry. Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock eats only McDonalds for thirty days straight. Youll see what happens to his body in just one month. Believe me, you wont look at a cheeseburger and fries in the same way ever again. This captivating Sundance award-winning feature reveals how we as a nation are eating ourselves to death.

4. Check the nutritional facts on the menu items you order. What fast food place do you frequent most often? What do you usually get? Go online and look for "nutritional facts" on that restaurants website. You may be shocked to discover the bacon double cheeseburger you love is a whopping 900 calories. If you have to go to a fast food restaurant to meet a friend or something, do your homework first. Order the least caloric and damaging item on the menu. Its usually a grilled chicken sandwich, chili, salad with dressing on the side, or a fruit cup.

When your kids ask whats for dinner, dont automatically make a beeline for the nearest drive thru. Theres nothing convenient about eating fatty, unhealthy food that leads to obesity. Get creative and find better food alternatives for you and your loved ones.

Go to Arlenes website for her Fast Food Guide listing the best bets at the drive thru of many of the nations most popular chains.

About The Author Get FREE tips that work at Arlene's website or blog at
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