Before you say, "No," to fast food for your kids, check out this list. It may surprise you:
- French fries: Can be a good source of vitamin C, calories, some fiber and, if cooked well in fresh oil (or brushed in oil and oven-baked), will have no negatives unless your child tends to be overweight, in which case deep-fried fries should be limited, as they are high in calories.
- Burgers: When made with lean meat and broiled or dry-fried, they are an excellent source of iron, B vitamins and protein for children. Homemade is a better bet than commercial burgers, which are usually higher in fat. If choosing beef, you may prefer to use organic.
- Baked beans: High in protein and fiber and low in fat.
- White bread: Good source of calcium and ideal for children who generally don't need as much dietary fiber as adults. Try to buy good quality bread made from hard wheats.
- Chocolate: Contains iron and calcium and, if a child isn't overweight, is a better occasional snack than candies.
- Pizza: Good food for children, containing calcium, vitamin C, and fiber. Go for vegetable-topped pizza rather than high-fat meat versions.
- Ice cream: Good source of calcium and protein. Top with a homemade fruit puree for a healthy dessert for children.
- White pasta: Fine for children, who don't necessarily need the extra fiber that whole-wheat pasta provides.
Information provided by Judith Wills, author of The Food Bible (Simon & Schuster, 1999).