Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Official Word on Kids' Menus? Bad News

The Center for Science in the Public Interest just published a report detailing the nutrition and caloric content of kids' meals from 13 major chains. The result? An astounding NINETY-THREE percent of the 1,474 meal options exceeded the caloric limit of 430 calories for a child's meal. The 430 is based on one-third of a the recommended daily allowance of calories for a child aged four to eight.

Worst options:
  • Chili’s kids' meal comprised of country-fried chicken crispers, cinnamon apples, and chocolate milk boasts 1,020 calories, and another of their offerings comprised of cheese pizza, homestyle fries, and lemonade has 1,000 calories. 94 percent of Chili's kids' meal options have too many calories.
  • Burger King “Big Kids” meal with a double cheeseburger, fries, and chocolate milk has 910 calories
  • Sonic's “Wacky Pack” has grilled cheese, fries, a slushie and 830 calories.
  • KFC's “Laptop Meals” with popcorn chicken, baked beans, biscuit, Teddy Grahams, and fruit punch has 940 calories.
  • For KFC, Sonic, Jack-in-the-Box, Chick-fil-A, and Taco Bell, ALL meal options exceeded caloric allowance.
  • Popular chains such as McDonald's and Wendy's were also high on calories. 93 percent of the kids' meals at these chains exceed the recommended allowance.
Better option?
  • Subway, but only one-third of their menu items for kids fit the bill, partially because the chain does not offer soft drinks with kids' meals. The better meal options there include a mini-sub, juice box and apple slices.
Best option?
  • Feed them the good stuff at home. Of course.
Avoid at All Costs:
  • Applebee’s, T.G.I. Friday’s, Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and IHOP do not disclose nutrition information even if you ask for it. That's never a good sign.

1 comment:

Janet said...

Wish I could say I was surprised, but it's part and parcel of the same program that overfeeds adults. Your solution is the obvious one. Why don't more people take it? I'd love to know the answer to that one.