Eating out the SMArt Kids’ Way

| Posted On Mar 13, 2013 | By:

No to fast foodDespite the distractions of Valentine’s Day and school vacation week, the SMArt Kids returned to our recent SMA motivated and focused on our SMArt Kids’ goals.

As usual, 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 pre-cooked rotisserie chicken (skip the skin!), 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.

Happy Meal vs ChickenHappy Meal containing Cheeseburger, Small fries, Apple Slices.  Chicken dinner containing 3 ounces baked chicken, 6 ounces sweet potato, ½ cup green beans/carrots/broccoli, 1 cup skim milk and 2 clementines.


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 are too many calories, too much fat and sodium, and not enough fiber or nutrition in the happy meal compared to our healthier dinner alternative. (McDonald’s provides information for 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! Just think about a rotting tomato.

Happy Meal

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 based on 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 strategies:

With all of the personal, school, work and family responsibilities, 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:

Keep up the good work SMArt Kids! Looking forward to seeing you in March.


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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