To examine the effect that the presence of calorie information on fast food menus would have on parent’s choices for their kids, researchers from the Seattle Children’s Research Institute studied over 90 parents of kids between the ages of 3 and 6. All of the parents received fast food menus that included prices and pictures of the food available and were told to order a hypothetical meal for their kids. Half of the menus also clearly showed calorie information for each item. Menu items included the usual fast food fare, including burgers, sandwiches, beverages and desserts.
Researchers found that parents who were given the calorie information ordered, on average, 102 fewer calories for their children, reflecting a calorie reduction of nearly 20 percent for each meal.
While it may not sound like a lot, studies consistently show that moderate daily calorie adjustments can add up over time. Consider that 100 extra calories a day for one-year can translate to a 10-pound weight gain.
Interestingly, researchers found that when parents were ordering for themselves, there was no difference in calorie content between the two groups – despite the presence of nutrient information.
Wondering how to make healthy choices for you and your family when dining out? Book an appointment with Leslie Beck for one-on-one nutrition counseling and personalized meal suggestions.
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