Like most parents, I care a lot about what my kids put into their bodies. I worry about their protein intake, fat grams and sugar consumption. I try to prepare nutritionally sound meals that look like the rainbow jumped out of the sky and landed right on their plate.
But, despite all of my efforts, there are days when life gets extremely hectic and fast food is necessary for survival. Must I feel guilty every time our car rolls into a drive-through? No.
In order to make the best choices for my family, I decided to ask a team of experts about the healthiest options for kids at our favorite fast food restaurants.
Chick-Fil-A1 of 11
Parents can enjoy Grilled Chicken Cool Wraps while kids dig into the Grilled Nuggets kids' meal at Chick-Fil-A . The Grilled Market Salad with light vinaigrette and the Greek Yogurt Parfait are two additional healthy picks for families.
Chipotle2 of 11
Chipotle offers healthy options for both kids and parents. Try a salad or a bowl with brown rice, protein, beans and veggies. Kids will love the build-your-own quesadilla kids' meal paired with fruit and milk.
Dunkin' Donuts3 of 11
Having a few healthy fast food breakfast options that aren't loaded with sugar will help your family get off to a great start. The Multigrain or Whole Wheat bagel with peanut butter from Dunkin' Donuts is a great option for kids, or go for the Egg and Cheese Sandwich with a side of fruit. Top picks for adults include the Ham, Egg and Cheese Sandwich, an Egg White Flatbread or oatmeal with peanut butter.
KFC4 of 11
Healthier options for kids at KFC include the kids' meal with a grilled chicken wing, green beans, apple sauce and milk or juice. Adults can enjoy a similar meal by ordering a grilled chicken breast with green beans and mashed potatoes.
McDonald's5 of 11
If you can't pass the Golden Arches without a shout-out from the backseat, then having a few healthy go-to McDonald's menu items is a must. Skip the Happy Meal and go for the Fruit and Yogurt Parfait, Egg White Delight McMuffin or Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich. We also suggest swapping French fries for apple slices on the side.
Panda Express6 of 11
Sweet meets tangy at this tasty Chinese restaurant. Try an item from the Panda Express Wok Smart menu such as Grilled Teriyaki Chicken, Broccoli Beef, String Bean Chicken Breast or Mushroom Chicken. You can't go wrong with brown rice and mixed veggies on the side.
Subway7 of 11
With whole grains, lean meats and vegetables as main ingredients, it's no wonder Subway has become a favorite for so many health-conscious families. Fresh Fit subs ring in at less than 400 calories, and they're low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Order one on 9-Grain Wheat, topped with all the fresh veggies.
Taco Bell8 of 11
The words healthy and Mexican food are rarely found in the same sentence, but there are exceptions. If Taco Bell is a family favorite, try the Power Menu Bowl. Customize your meal by skipping the rice and keeping the black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole and romaine lettuce.
Wendy's9 of 11
Wendy's is a favorite among families looking for variety. Salads are great picks for adults, including the Grilled Chicken Salad and Asian Cashew Salad. For the kids, we recommend the Grilled Chicken Wrap with apples and milk.
Special Thanks to our Experts: