But is there really SUCH A BIG difference, between a sandwich with all the toppings eaten at home, followed by a low-fat twinkie and a hamburger eaten at McDonalds ?
But the difference has less to do with the fried up nature of the McDonalds meal and more to do with the accompanying drink.
It’s in the cold drink
Most Mom’s try to limit the availability of fizzy cold drinks on the home front, so the “fast” food type lunch, on the home front, invariably does not come with a huge cold drink. “Unlucky” kids have to make do with water, those not experiencing tough love, will typically get milk, juice or Oros™ squash.
A team from University of Illinois believe it is the supersized cold drink, accompanying the meal, that is a BIG part of the problem in fast food eating.
Picking apart fast food lunches
The Chicago team analyzed exactly what the average kid was eating, when they had lunch at a fast food joint, compared to having food, usually also quite fast, at home,
Among the factors investigated…..
- Overall calorie count
- Diet quality
- Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages
# The average kid in the study, had been part of the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey between 2003 and 2008. As part of this study, food questionnaires were completed for 4 717 children between the ages of 2 and 11 and 4 699 adolescents, ranging in age from 12 to 19.
Soda fountain a wash with calories
As expected, restaurant meals tended to have higher amounts of sugar, total fat, saturated fat and sodium and lower amounts of nutrients overall.
This more of everything “BAD”, translated to more calories.
For little ones, a trip to a fast food joint added 126 calories to their day. For teens, the trip added 309 calories. A similar phenomenon, was seen when the family sat down for the meal, rather than ate it from the box, the calories consumed at full service restaurants, came in at an extra 160 calories for little ones and an extra 267 calories for teens.
A big part of those extra calories, came in the very large, accompanying cold drink.
And the calorie problem multiplied, when the restaurant provided FREE REFILLS, on top of the oversized first glass.
Fast fooding is the norm
Eating on the run happens a lot…..
Sometimes it is because you’re just too tired to care, often it is because you are too busy to cook from scratch or you’re just not anywhere near the kitchen, at feeding time.
The stats from this group of youngsters suggested 41 % of teens and about a third of little ones, consumed a fast food meal on any given day.
That adds up to a lot of extra calories over time. And in the long term….
Don’t go or don’t combo
The easiest way to fix the problem, is to cut back on eating out, make it a weekly / monthly treat, not the standard way the family does dinner.
If you’re rushed off your feet and need fast meals. Eating fast food at home, even if it is coming out of a box, is probably still a better choice, because it won’t be coming with an oversized glass of coke. In an ideal world, make time to prepare REAL FOOD options that can be whipped out at a moments notice, the freezer and the microwave are your friend. I know, I know…. who has the time ?
When eating at a fast food joint – downsize your order or stop when you’re full.
Remember, a combo meal is designed to make it easy for the restaurant, but you can order individual items from the menu. Admittedly the clerk at the till, may forget to wish you a fantastic day – because your order will take a little more work.
Order what you need to be satisfied and watch the fizzy cold drink consumption. A combo may be cheaper, but you’re not saving money in the long run, if you have huge medical bills to pay at some future date.
Also, if you eat it or you don’t, there will still be starving people in Africa, so don’t be afraid to leave the food on the plate, once the “I AM FULL” signal comes through. And remember, just because they served it FAST, does not mean you need to eat it FAST.
Fast food in moderation
Puritan health gurus will tell you to avoid fast food like the plague, but modern living is for the most part, FAST living. Avoiding fast food all together is not easy.
Everything in moderation. And if you do nothing else, watch those liquid calories.Fast-Food and Full-Service Restaurant Consumption Among Children and Adolescents: Effect on Energy, Beverage, and Nutrient Intake. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (2012) Powell LM, Nguyen BT.
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