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Friday, November 12, 2010

"Not so Happy Meals" (Fast Food Math) & a Harvest Festival from a slower-paced time

Let Your Fingers Do the Walking:

Not So "Happy" Meals?

Last week, San Francisco voted to ban toys in children's fast food meals that failed certain nutritional guidelines -- setting off a debate around the country which you can read here.

Here's how you can do your own "Fast Food Math":

While families wish every night could be a sit-down meal,  children & parents lead busy lives -- and often need to eat on the run.  The National Public Radio program Morning Edition ran a story on "Fast Food Math" --  Here are some excerpts:

If your kids have eaten at a fast food restaurant in the past seven days, you're in good company. According to a new survey by researchers at Yale University, 84 percent of parents say their kids have, too.

Part of the demand you hear from the back seat may be due to the fact that kids today are seeing more McDonald's and Burger King ads than ever before.  The average preschooler sees about three ads a day, according to the findings. Teenagers see about five per day.

And though some healthy options are available (e.g. apple dippers and milk),  researchers found that "about 80 percent of the time they were given the french fries — automatically --they were not even offered the healthier choices."

To help families make better choices, the Rudd Center has released a Web-based meal calculator for parents that includes popular offerings from various fast food chains. Parents can input their child's age, sex, activity level and favorite fast food meal and find out how it measures up nutrition-wise with guidelines for health.

Researchers have also built a table with the best and worst combinations for kids from several fast food restaurants. The healthiest meal they studied is a Subway Veggie Delight sandwich on wheat bread with no cheese, a bag of apple slices, and a box of 100 percent juice. This combination contains 285 calories, 295 mg of sodium and no fat. Less healthy but perhaps favored by kids is the Burger King cheeseburger with fries and Dr. Pepper. That meal contains 635 calories, 1,106 mg of sodium and 9 grams of fat.
The table also shows that some chains feature more healthy side dishes than others. While Dairy Queen gives kids free ice cream with their meal, some chains — including Wendy's and Sonic — have added fruits and vegetables like sliced apples and Mandarin orange cups to their menus. But, as the Rudd Center notes, overall, french fries still rule and remain the default side dish almost everywhere.

Around the Community -- A time when food was definitely not "fast"!


Fosterfields Living Historical Farm Presents
Thanksgiving Harvest Home
WHEN: Sunday, November 14, Noon to 4 PMWHERE: Fosterfields Living Historical Farm, 73 Kahdena Road, Morristown
ADMISSION: $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $4 for children ages 4–16, and $2 for children ages 2 and 3.
Free for children under age 2 and Friends members with a valid membership I.D.
FREE admission for veterans and current U.S. military personnel.
Call 973.326.7645 for more information, or visit www.morrisparks.net
Revisit 1919 during Thanksgiving Harvest Home at Fosterfields!
Discover how the Foster and Woods families may have once celebrated the holiday. Come to The Willows porch at 1:30 PM to honor Armistice Day (now known as Veterans Day).  Tour The Willows to learn how the Fosters spent the holiday. At the Farmhouse, enjoy seasonal music and on the farm, help with husking corn, raking leaves, sawing wood, and see the operation of a gasoline engine. Meet the farm animals, and get to know the Narragansett turkeys during a “Turkey Talk’ presentation by the farmers. In the upper barn, take a turn at square dancing. See a side saddle riding demonstration and learn about equestrian activities once held in the area. At the Visitors Center, make a family-friendly craft to take home.

Thanks to Ruth Ross from njartsmaven.com for this listing.

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