Kids' Eating: Which is healthier, takeout or frozen dinners?
If you're ordering wholesome, low-fat foods, such as salads, baked chicken or fish and steamed vegetables, a takeout meal can be as nutritious as it is delicious. This is especially true if the restaurant uses fresh fruits and vegetables rather than those that are canned or frozen, since these types of processing can destroy some of the vitamins and minerals in plant foods.
If, on the other hand, your typical takeout dinner consists of fried chicken or other high-fat, high-calorie foods, including burgers and fries, you'll undoubtedly be better off serving a frozen dinner at home, for several reasons. For starters, portion sizes served by restaurants are often much larger than the recommended serving size, which means that they contain more fat and calories than your family needs.
When you eat a frozen dinner, on the other hand, portion sizes are typically smaller, and you know exactly what you're getting in each serving—all you have to do is check the nutrition label on the package. In addition, many frozen dinners are prepared with your health in mind. Many are lower in total fat, trans fat and saturated fat than traditional restaurant fare.
Whether you order a takeout dinner or pop a frozen entree in the microwave, you can easily improve the nutritional quality of any meal your kids are eating by serving it with a side of raw veggies or a piece of fresh fruit, and by serving water, juice or milk to drink instead of soda.