Family outings don't have to be all about food -- especially fast food.
Getting kids away from fast food -- and interested in healthier options -- can be tricky. After all, fast food is everywhere, from TV ads even to some school cafeterias. While you can cut some of the exposure, the key to keeping kids away from fast food is to give them tastier, more attractive options. If the kids ask for a milkshake instead of French fries next time you're out, you've probably succeeded.
1Make healthy food interesting. If eating healthy food means eating bland steamed veggies, is it a surprise that the kids prefer fast food? Instead, offer fun cheese dips with bread sticks for dipping. Offer frozen fruits if they kids don't like the fresh option -- or have fun making smoothies together.
2Create your own reward system. You know those little toys kids get when they go to fast food joints? Stock up on those -- dollar stores carry a wide variety -- and then slip one into your purse when you go out. Pick a restaurant that serves healthy food and let the kids know they get a toy when they order something healthy from the menu. You don't have to reward them every time they eat healthy, everywhere you go. Just pick one place you can visit once in a while and get the same type of rewards they would get for eating burgers and fries.
3Talk to the preschool staff members to let them know you don't approve of fast-food outings. Some preschools take kids on outings regularly -- and fast food places are favorite destinations because many have game areas where kids can play after eating. If you have a say on where the kids go, suggest alternatives. You don't want kids to associate fast food with entertainment, because then they'll be more likely to want to go back there.
4Make your own healthy version of fast food. If kids already have a love for pizza, denying them pizza is not the solution. Instead, make your own. Buy frozen dough and add some tomato sauce on top. Keep the amount of cheese moderate and don't add any oil. Instead, play with extras such as mushrooms, chopped grilled chicken or a mix of veggies. If you have a toaster oven, you can make "French fries" there -- simply buy frozen cut-up potatoes and throw them into the toaster oven. No need to add oil -- they'll turn up crispy if you cook them without defrosting them first.