SMArt Kids and Fast Food

| Posted On Dec 23, 2011 | By:

Dr. Brittanny Boulanger

Given it’s always a busy week before the upcoming holiday and school break, we were excited that so many new and returning SMArt Kids made it to our December 20th SMA at Burlington. In light of the upcoming holidays, Linda, our SMA nutritionist, engaged the SMArt Kids by creating a ‘bean theme’ holiday gift that was not only fun to make but will be nutritious to eat. Remember, beans are a low fat, low cholesterol source of protein rich in minerals and fiber. Try them in soup, quesadillas, or a salad. 

We reviewed all of the SMArt Kids goals but focused on the importance of reducing fast food intake. We discussed that fast food options are a poor choice for our SMArt Kids. Remember the quick at-home alternative to the McDonald’s Happy Meal? Try a piece of precooked rotisserie chicken, a serving of frozen veggies (just microwave), and a microwaved sweet or baked potato. This is a quick and much healthier option to the drive-through.

Our appetites and taste buds may mislead us when it comes to fast food, but we discovered the numbers don’t lie!  There is simply too much fat, calories, and sodium and not enough fiber or nutrition in the happy meal compared to our healthier dinner alternative. (See all of the nutrition facts of popular menu items.)

We also revisited the concept of eating more foods from nature rather than eating processed foods. Remember Sally Davies’ Happy Meal project? This New York photographer captured the non-decomposition of a Happy Meal over 180 days.  Any healthy food would never last this long !

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 to search for healthier meal choices by restaurant and by your child’s age, gender and activity level. You can also download a free app for your smart phone like Restaurant Nutrition. If you have to do the drive-through (although I am not encouraging it!) consider these “SMArter” fast-food combinations:

With all of the holiday shopping and travel, eating healthy on the go will be a challenge. Do your best to choose healthy options, pack some meals and eat at home whenever you can.

The SMArt kids assembled a list of many healthy yet easy options for mealtime. Try these nutritious but quick options at home:         

Have a happy, healthy, SMArt holiday! We look forward to seeing all of the SMArt Kids in the New Year.

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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