Are you a terrible parent if you grab a quick bite for the kids at Burger King or McDonald's? San Francisco's "ban" on Happy Meals seems to imply as much.
But on busy nights when there's no time to cook, it can be easy to forget that the nation is in the midst of an obesity epidemic. Can a fast food kids meal ever be healthy?
If you talk to parents, they’ll tell you there’s a place in the healthy diet for fast food. But like everything, it’s all about moderation.
“You shouldn’t feel guilty if you sometimes have to grab whatever’s available,” says Elisa Zied, a registered dietitian, author, msnbc.com contributor -- and mother of two. “We have crazy weekends -- between the basketball games, the Bar Mitzvahs and other activities – when we’re eating a little less healthful than we normally do.”
The trick, Zied says, is to achieve a balance through the rest of the meals your kids are eating -- and monitor portion sizes. If you’re going to hit a McDonald’s, for example, have your kid get the smallest burger and maybe even a small fries. Pizza is fine, too, if your kid is limited to a slice or two and then fills up with salad or fruit or something equally healthy, says the 42-year-old New York mom.