Creating Healthier Choices at Fast Food Restaurants

Posted on July 18, 2011 by Integrative Nutrition

Finally, there has been a break through for nutrition in the fast food world for children. This Wednesday, a group of 19 restaurant chains in America plan to announce that they will be offering healthier meal options for children on their menus.

The list, mentioned in an article in the LA Times, comprises of such fast food giants as Burger King, Denny’s, IHOP, Chili’s and El Poco Loco. Each restaurant chain pledged to offer healthier children’s meals, although their involvement in the cause varies.

For example, Burger King plans to stop automatically including fries and soda on the kid’s menu, but instead employees will ask parents what they would like with their child’s meal. Although, French fries and soda are still an option, parents can choose healthier options, such as juice or apple slices. They also have three kid’s meal entrees that are lower in fat including a breakfast sandwich, a burger and chicken tenders that are all lower in sodium and will be advertised in the stores.

The guidelines for the Kids Live Well campaign are as follows:  restaurants have to provide at least one kids meal option that has fewer than 600 calories, no soft drink and at least two items from these food groups; fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins or low-fat dairy. But, not all restaurants are going as far as Burger King has to offer healthier varieties.

Denny’s has chosen to have one kids meal that is low in fat, tilapia with steamed vegetables, but also suggests adding fruit to a pancake breakfast, however, this is an option that is rarely advertised or chosen by diners.

While stopping at the drive-thru is not the best choice for feeding a family, this is a giant step towards creating a healthier generation of children who unfortunately rely on fast food for several meals a week.

How do you feel about the Kids Live Well campaign?

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