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Healthier Eating Outside of the Home

With busier schedules, families often don’t have time for meals at home, but this shouldn’t mean your meals should be unhealthier.

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A few days ago, on February 15, McDonald's announced that they will begin to offer healthier options for their kids’ meals. One of the changes will be to promote water and advertise healthier sides for kids’ meals, which is great news given that the sugar, sodium, and fat levels normally associated with kids’ meals have more sugar in them than recommended. However, this is not just the case with kids’ meals. Most menu items offered at fast food, or fast-casual restaurants offer options that are unhealthier than a homemade meal.

Changing the way we approach meals at fast food restaurants is going to have to start happening on a larger scale sooner, rather than later, due in part, to the change in how families eat. Because schedules often do not allow for a sit-down meal every day of the week, going out for lunch or dinner is no longer a rarity, meaning more families are eating unhealthier meals more frequently.

With obesity rates already soaring-- one third of children and 8.9 million adults across New York are considered overweight or obese-- and obesity related diseases costing the State $11.8 billion annually, something needs to be done. Obesity is also a significant contributing factor for type II diabetes, as well as heart disease and stroke. Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death across the country, and stroke is number five.

It therefore seems logical to start making it easier for children and adults to find healthier options when eating out of the house. All New Yorkers should be able to go to a restaurant and have affordable, healthy options for their families.

Hopefully this change by McDonald's is just the start of a much larger initiative by many more restaurants all around the state.

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