Children's menus are stuck in a time warp, dominated by unhealthy fried chicken fingers, burgers, excessive cheese and sugary drinks, according to a recent study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
"One out of every three American children is overweight or obese," says CSPI nutrition policy director Margo Wootan, but the chain restaurant industry just doesn't get it. "They seem stuck in a time warp, serving up the same old meals based on chicken nuggets, burgers, macaroni and cheese, fries, and soda."
Of 3,500 meal options for kids, 97 percent flunk nutrition guidelines calling for ½ serving of fruit or vegetable and an item that's at least half whole grain. The chains also violate health guidelines that say meals should not exceed 430 calories, 770 milligrams sodium, 35 percent of calories from fat, 35 percent of calories from added sugar, or 10 percent of calories from saturated and trans fats.
Subway is the healthy exception, including low-fat milk or bottled water (instead of soda) along with apple slices with kid-sized subs in all eight of its Fresh Fit for Kids meal combos.
On Seattle Times blog All You Can Eat, food writer Rebekah Denn explores healthy, local, reasonably priced eating-out options for families with kids: pho, scaled-down menus, veggie sushi.
Share your healthy, reasonably priced, family friendly eating-out tips—and you may win two free passes to Wellbody Academy. What do you do and where do you go when you're out with kids and need a quick, convenient bite? Do you carry your own fixings for avoid-meltdown-meals in the car? (If so, what foods do you bring? And what containers do you pack in?) Do you stop by a favorite local eatery near the park, school, playing fields or mall? Where do you go for family "destination" meals? Comment on Facebook or the Wellbody Blog, or email ProfessorWellbody@pacsci.org.
We'll share your tips with the Wellbody community in a future post and (did we mention this GIVEAWAY?) throw your name in the hat to receive two complimentary passes to visit Wellbody Academy and Pacific Science Center's other exhibits.
While you're here, check out Burger Planet’s drive-through in Wellbody Academy’s Cafedium and use the Customized Calorie Budgetizer to create a plan tailored to your gender, age and activity level.