Thankfully, many parents have gotten the message that fast food fare for kids is often unhealthy – providing far more calories, bad fat, and salt than kids should get, while skimping on the nutrients they need to grow strong, vibrant minds and bodies.
But the kids’ meals at popular sit-down family restaurants are often even worse, according to a study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest published in the March 2004 issue of the Nutrition Action Healthletter.
Senator Tom Harkin from Iowa introduced legislation on February 24, 2004 to require large restaurant chains to list nutrition info on the menu. This is important for children’s menus!
The same item at different restaurants can have a very different impact. For instance, the CSPI study found that macaroni and cheese at Cracker Barrel has almost three times the bad fat of Chili’s macaroni and cheese – but Chili’s chicken fingers have three times the calories of Cracker Barrel’s chicken fingers.
Parents deserve information like this to help their families make wise food choices. And kids deserve tasty, healthy options on their menus. And they deserve healthy side dishes (yogurt, fresh fruit, applesauce) instead of fries, fries, and more fries.