05/30/2012 01:53 pm ET Updated Jul 30, 2012

Healthy, Budget-Friendly Menu Options for Kids

By Lauren Coulston, Integration Manager, Women & Co.

Don't you hate paying for what amounts to overpriced fried food on the kids' menu? It's one of my pet peeves. A recent dinner at our favorite neighborhood restaurant had a new change that only a mom could get excited about -- a kids' menu without the standard unhealthy fare of chicken nuggets and French fries. Instead, my daughter ordered roasted chicken drumsticks, brown rice and steamed broccoli with a side of... apple and banana slices! The menu noted that the restaurant was now offering healthy children's choices courtesy of the government guidelines at A healthy kids' menu is completely genius in my book, so I was intrigued.

I looked up MyPlate to research the government guidelines. They apply to everyone, not just kids. Apparently there is no longer a food pyramid but MyPlate, which is not only about what you are eating, but how much you are eating. The idea is that you want half of your meal to be comprised of fruit and vegetables, the other half grains and proteins, plus some dairy. This program is something that First Lady Michelle Obama supports as part of her Let's Move initiative -- the site even features some of her healthy White House recipes. In addition to recipes, I found a myriad of resources on the site. For example, did you know that 32 seedless grapes equals one cup, which is half the daily recommendation of fruit? The site provides tips for healthy eating on a budget including a sample 7 day menu. There are also some great resources for teaching kids about eating healthy like coloring pages (just printed them out) and games.

As we head into spring and summer when we're trying to eat healthier, I was happy to find this great resource. What resources do you use to make healthy, budget-friendly choices?

About the Author:

As Integration Manager, Lauren manages Women & Co.'s strategic partnerships to syndicate content and build integrated programs on websites frequented by women. Lauren brings over 15 years of financial services experience and a passion for helping women feel financially empowered. Lauren holds a B.S. in Finance from Tulane University's A.B. Freeman School of Business. In addition to her role at Women & Co., Lauren is Events Chair of the Citi Working Parents Network NYC and serves on the Citi International Women's Day Steering Committee.