Are my kids eating too much?

Let’s face it, today we live in a world where every meal is super-sized and eating the correct portion looks more like a snack. One-third of today’s children are overweight or obese, a statistic we hope will drop dramatically. Times have certainly changed over the last few decades as more homes have two parents working full time instead of one. This leads to busier schedules making a quick trip through the drive-thru a very common dinner. 

A research study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and a nutrition researcher at the University of North Carolina Asheville found that most of the United States top restaurants are failing at making healthy food options for kids’ meals. The average recommended amount of calories a day for boys and girls ages 4-8 is between 1,200-2,000 calories a day (although this changes based on activity level). After studying more than  3,494 kids’ meal combinations from 41 restaurants, researchers found that 50% of kids’ meals had more than 600 calories and 91% of kids’ meals at the chains studied didn’t meet the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell standards. Check out the list below from to find out the calorie content of some of the most popular kids’ meals. 

  • Applebee’s grilled cheese on sourdough bread, fries & 2% chocolate milk : 1,210
  • Chili’s pepperoni pizza with homestyle fries and a soda: 1,010 calories
  • Ruby Tuesday’s mac ‘n cheese, white cheddar mashed potatoes and fruit punch: 860 calories
It’s not just meals that are getting bigger, it’s our dinnerware as well. The average dinner plate has increased from 10″ to 12″ and many more are larger than that. In the 1950′s a “king-sized” soda was 12 ounces. Today, many medium drinks are 32 ounces or larger. Gas stations also offer cups for fountain drinks ranging in size from 20 ounces to an unbelievable 64 ounces. Portion sizes continue to grow, and many people aren’t sure what the correct portion size is for their meal. Check out the photo below for tips on figuring out the correct portion sizes!
HealthNet has a Registered Dietitian to help you with learning how to eat healthy.  We can help you with weight loss, diabetes, cholesterol and much more. To find a location near you to schedule a FREE appointment with our dietitian, please click here
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