Where to Buy

Healthy Fast Food Options for Toddlers

Food courts provide so many different options that entice little ones – how do you make the best choice for your healthy growing toddler? Below are some suggestions to help you choose a healthier fast food option for your toddler.

What To Look For

When choosing a ‘fast food’ option, try to ensure it has all 3 components for a healthy balanced meal:

  • A serve of lean meat, chicken, fish, egg or a vegetarian alternative such as lentils or chickpeas – these provide protein for repair and growth of muscles
  • Some energy-boosting carbohydrate such as bread, rice, pasta or potato, which helps fuel active little bodies
  • Some salad or vegetables for fibre, vitamins and minerals, to keep digestive and immune systems strong

A great example is a meat and salad sandwich, or a cheese and salad wrap. Many fast food outlets now list the nutritional panel for each meal, taking the guesswork out of making the best choice.

What’s On The Menu?

Fast foods don’t have to be over-processed, unhealthy and packed with high levels of fat, salt and preservatives. Many fast foods available for families in food courts do come under this unhealthy banner, however companies are moving towards producing healthy ‘fast food’ for toddlers and adults alike. Here are a few examples of healthy ‘fast food’ options for toddlers.

1. Burger, sub or wrap

  • Ask for a small serve
  • Ask for wholegrain bread
  • Use avocado instead of salty sauces
  • Include some salad
  • Avoid creamy sauces and mayonnaise
  • Avoid the meal deals, extra fries and soft drink
  • Avoid adding sauces and extra cheese

2. Kids chicken meal, roast drumstick, chips and water

  • Order a side salad
  • Share a serve of chips – they don’t need a large serve
  • Avoid adding salty sauces

3. Asian sushi roll

  • Choose avocado, plain tuna or cucumber rolls
  • Avoid using soy sauce as it is high in salt

4. Pizza

  • Choose a thin crispy base
  • Share a small serve
  • Ask for less cheese
  • Order a small salad to go

Tips for eating out with your toddler

  1. Be careful not to over order – fast food serving sizes are designed for adult appetites, not little tummies!
  2. Don’t get ‘up-sold’ for a meal deal as the kilojoule content can be the equivalent of 2 standard sandwiches.
  3. Little ones need water – don’t buy cordials, juices or soft drinks.
  4. Be careful when adding sauces – young taste buds are very sensitive and sauces may encourage a salty taste whilst pushing the sodium level up well over a toddler’s healthy limit.
  5. Try to include (even if it means you buy one for yourself) a salad or some veggies to go with their healthy ‘fast food’.
  6. Choose wholemeal or wholegrain whenever possible, to increase their fibre intake.

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