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Overcoming the Pitfalls
of Fast Food Eating!

Total expenditures for all food consumed in the United States in 2010 was estimated to be $1.24 trillion, announced by the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). Food purchased for home consumption accounted for $646.8 billion and spending on food consumed away from home was $594 billion. Full-service and fast food restaurants account for about three quarters of all food-away-from-home sales according to the ERS. And revealed by the National Restaurant Association, U.S. adults purchase a restaurant snack or meal 5.8 times per week. Does any of this surprise you? Fast food is a growing trend that escalates during summer months when families vacation and are more likely to eat out. But what are the real pitfalls of eating out and how can you balance them? Meet the USAF FitFamily featured family of the month - the Turner’s – and find out!

USAF FitFamily members Jessica and Shawn Turner don’t let their guard down!

While summer tends to find adults and youth vacationing from normal healthy eating habits, the Turner family tries to remain diligent. Some of the pitfalls of fast food dining include large portions and a lack of nutritional value, but for SSgt Jessica Turner,  USAF AETC 17 FSS/FSDE and son Shawn (age 8), they keep it simple by choosing the healthier options offered on the menu. Eating out at fast food restaurants is fun and does give the family a change-up in their regular dining routine, so the balance for them is to make this just a once-a-month treat. While vacationing in California this year, the Turners made an effort to eat veggies, watch portions and stay active by taking daily walks.

USAF FitFamily promotes teaching nutrition at an early age
The national fitness movement has prompted full service and fast food restaurants and even established guidelines for school cafeterias to provide healthier menus for their patrons. Offering healthier food selections is not a guarantee people will take advantage of it, but with early and ongoing education plus easy availability, better choices can be made. McDonalds is typically the fast food preference for the Turners, and even with all the recent advertising to promote a healthier menu, according to Jessica, Shawn will choose fruit over fries and milk over soda. While Shawn may not be aware of exact nutritional values, he does know that healthy foods and physical activity are an important balance to help him grow.

This FitFamily loves to run year-round!
It’s not just a summer sport or classified as a “kids-only” activity, running is something the Hodson/Porritt’s does together as a family and individually, all year long. Mostly they participate in events like the Arizona Roadracers Summer Series that includes a kid fun run (according to Colleen, Sevrine isn’t satisfied with the kid’s race, she wants to go the distance)! But some days they map out their own running route together and Sevrine will ride her bike or scooter. In all cases protection from the outdoor elements is required. A hat or helmet (for the bike or scooter), sunglasses, continued hydration and UV appropriate clothing are a regular part of their routine. Colleen adds, “During the summer we try to run during the coolest part of the day.”

Countering fast food caloric intake, USAF FitFamily suggests members consider new things!
The USAF LivingFit and USAF FitFamily site share a wealth of nutritional information as well as serve as resources for fun activities to do. While stationed at Goodfellow AFB, Jessica serves with the 17 FSS and leads a very busy schedule. And when you’re busy, it’s so easy to run by and pick up an already-prepared meal. Fitness is important to Jessica and consequently to Shawn as well, so establishing a healthy routine to offset calories is important. Swimming, running, and family walks with their dog are just a few physical activities the Turners do regularly. She and Shawn use the site for ideas on things they can do together as a family. “Flying a kite was something I honestly had never thought of,” said Jessica. “We try hard as a family to go out and have fun and stay active and healthy. Goal Tracker has been a valuable tool to keep us on a healthy path.”


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