After extensive research and numerous comparison tests, I have compiled the healthiest fast food restaurants for our children. To some, the results might be shocking, while it may come as no surprise to others.

With all of the claims made on billboards, tv, and magazines, it’s hard to know what truly is best when it comes to going to a fast food establishment. Hopefully this info will help you navigate the confusing hub bub and make the best decisions for your family.

Here is my list of the healthiest fast food joints to take your kids:

1. NONE!

And that concludes my list.

Nope, I didn’t forget 2, 3, 4, etc.; number one is the only answer. There is no healthy fast food restaurant for anyone, and especially your children who depend on you to provide! Maybe there are healthier choices, but they are still devoid of the nutrition from something similar made at home.

I get that many parents are short on time, but I don’t see that as being a good reason to resort to fast food or frozen, packaged meals to feed your kids. True, I don’t know everyone’s life story or current situation, but our kids depend on us, their parents, to protect and properly provide for them.

If you claim to care about your child’s health, then why subject them to overly processed, chemical laden “food”? It’s unfair to children who don’t know the difference between healthy vs. unhealthy food, and can only accept what you get them or have nothing at all.

Most fast food options will have you waiting in line either at the drive-thru or inside which can take upwards of 15 to 30 minutes depending on time of day. Alternatively, you could prepare a healthy meal with whole foods at home and even get the entire family involved.

And the argument over the cost of healthy food being too high is absurd. The amount of money you spend on going out easily outweighs the cost of buying your own ingredients and cooking at home. Factor in the gas it takes to go wherever you’re going, price for drinks, added tip if at a sit-down restaurant, and the lesser quality food that impacts health, it’s just not worth it.

We show Avery how eating our homemade meals makes us feel great and gives us energy to get through the day. Plus, making your own food can be educational and fun for your kids. She watches me prepare meals in the kitchen and then takes part in eating (or attempting to eat) healthy foods like carrots, broccoli, and lately, cucumber.

It’s important to start your kid on the path to eating healthy from the start, but I realize many of you have grown children who may resist your attempts at offering healthy food. This is no reason to just give up and let them go about their way; that’s just a guarantee to lead your child down the path to obesity.

Here are 5 ways to get your kids interested in healthier food options and maybe even help you bond more as a result:

  1. Teach by example. As parents, we are our children’s role models, so when you eat healthy, they will want to eat healthy too.
  2. Take them grocery shopping. Sounds crazy, huh? Well, stay out of the middle isles with colorful boxes promising “fun” and “happiness” and peruse the perimeter with your kid. Let them pick out a new produce item to take home; they will be more interested in trying something they chose.
  3. Let them help. If your kids are old enough, get them in the kitchen to “help” however they can. Just having the slightest bit of participation will make kids more prone to trying something they had a part in preparing.
  4. Don’t give up. If at first you don’t succeed, try again! A child may need to see a food several times before actually trying it, so be persistent. We learned this with Avery; she wouldn’t look at the carrots we gave her, but now she’ll pick them up and bring them right to her mouth!
  5. Make it easy. Kids (and most adults) tend to pick food based on what’s the easiest to grab. So when looking for a snack, most of us will grab that bag of chips instead of chopping fresh produce into bite-size pieces. Try cutting fruit and veggies and have them ready to grab right out of the fridge for your kids to snack on. You’ll be surprised at how they’ll go for them now that they are easy to eat! This will also help the adults in the house!

By now, you get my point, if you truly want to best for your kids and want them to grow up strong and healthy, focus on healthy food. Exercise is another important aspect, and I’ll get into that on another post I’m sure. For children, just getting outside and being active is the best exercise. Limit time in front of a screen and hey, try joining and playing outside with them!

Here’s a long, but extremely eye-opening info-graphic on the childhood obesity epidemic; it’s sad to read, and I hope to do what I can to change this!

Our kids look up to us and want to do what we do, so by living a healthy life, we are helping shape a healthy future for our little ones. If you don’t know how to start on a healthier path, MR. Google has plenty of information.

Here’s a search I performed for you to find Healthy, easy weekday meals.

Are you currently trying to change your unhealthy habits at home?

Do you already follow healthy living? If so, any tips for other parents?