Burlington SMArt Kids: Eating out the SMArt way

| Posted On May 06, 2011 | By:
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Dr. Brittanny Boulanger

Kudos to our Burlington SMArt Kids! Not only did our returning SMArt Kids toil over their individual goals last month, but they also worked hard during our recent ninety-minute session…despite the beautiful seventy-degree weather outside!  With the timely arrival of spring, the SMArt kids are even more motivated to focus on the goal of at least 60 minutes of active play per day.  Consider biking or scooter riding, playing capture the flag with neighbors, walking to and from school, or planting a garden.

Of course, the SMArt Kids are always working on all of our five main goals: 

At the April SMArt Kids Shared Medical Appointment, our discussion was focused on fast food. We discussed the fast food or “quick service“ restaurant industry with help from Julie Seed, our nutritionist, and from Chef Jamie Oliver via a YouTube video.  (See his website for recipes, news and plain old motivation.) The SMArt kids liked hearing the facts about typical fast food meals, although they were disappointed to learn that some of their favorite meals at fast food restaurants are not the healthiest.  However, we were able to compile a list of convenient yet healthy alternatives.  (See below)

If you do eat out, remember to do some research ahead of time. Many restaurants offer nutritional data online which will help you select healthier choices. You can visit http://www.fastfoodmarketing.org/ to search for healthier meal choices by restaurant and based on your child’s age, gender and activity level. You can also download a free app for your smart phone like Restaurant Nutrition (it’s available for Apple and Android platforms!)During our SMA, we used this smart phone application to find the nutritional facts for Applebee’s chicken tenders basket, a favorite of one of our SMArt Kids (59 grams of fat and 1000 calories; bottom line is it is too much for one meal!)  If you have to do the drive-through, although I am not encouraging it, consider these “SMArter” fast-food combinations:

We also compared the nutritional information from a McDonald’s Chicken McNugget happy meal with a comparable home-made, baked chicken and sweet potato meal. Our appetites and taste buds may mislead us when it comes to fast food but we discovered the numbers don’t lie!  In sum, there is too much fat, calories, and sodium and not enough fiber or nutrition in the happy meal compared to our healthier dinner alternative.  (See McDonald’s information for all of the nutrition facts of popular menu items.)

As I mentioned above, the SMArt kids assembled a list of many healthy yet easy options for mealtime. Try these nutritious but quick options:

In May, we will hone in on the SMArt Kids’ goal of reducing screen time, whether it be the television, computer, smart phone, or video games. By decreasing screen time, it will hopefully encourage our SMArt kids to engage in more active play, tackling two goals simultaneously.

To all of the SMArt Kids, keep up the good work! We will see you in a month and are eager to hear about the progress you have made.

See you in May!

Brittanny Boulanger, MD

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About Dr. Brittanny Boulanger

Joined Harvard Vanguard: 2005 Undergraduate School: Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH Medical School: University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA Internship: Golisano Children's Hospital, Rochester, NY Residency: Golisano Children's Hospital, Rochester, NY Board Certification: Pediatrics Hospital Affiliations: Children's Hospital, Boston, MA; Winchester Hospital, Winchester, MA Clinical Interests: Newborn medicine and adolescent medicine Personal Interests: Running, soccer, hiking, skiing, travel and spending time with her two young children.

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