These meals are loaded –but not with nutrition. And our kids are filling up on them at many of the top restaurant chains. If you’re not familiar with the statistics already—you should be.
A report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest looked at the nutritional quality of kids’ meals at 13 major restaurant chains—and found 93 percent of the 1,474 possible choices exceed 430 calories. That amount is one-third of what the National Institute of Medicine recommends children ages 4 through 8 should consume in a day. An example cited in the report: A Chili’s Bar and Grill meal of country-fried chicken crispers, cinnamon apples and chocolate milk contained 1,020 calories. Another meal of cheese pizza, homestyle fries and lemonade contained 1,000 calories. Then there’s the Burger King “Big Kids” meal with a double cheeseburger, fries and chocolate milk at 910 calories.
In addition to excessive calories, the report found that 45 percent of children’s meals exceeded recommendations for saturated and trans fat (which can raise blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease), and that 86 percent of the children’s meals are too high in sodium. The report also notes that eating out now accounts for a third of children’s daily caloric intake, twice the amount consumed away from home 30 years ago.
Here’s a question to ponder: What are we doing to our children in the name of convenience?