MIAMI (CBS4) – Moms and Dads are not going to like the finds of a new survey when it comes to kid’s meals on restaurant menus.
The study, by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, looked at children’s meals at the nation’s top chain restaurants. It found 97 percent of their offerings did not meet nutritional standards.
“The meals flunked across the board. Most were too high in calories, too high in saturated fat and sodium, whole grains were very rare,” said Margot Wootan, the organization’s Director of Nutrition Policy.
More than half of the restaurants in the study didn’t have a single kid’s meal deemed healthy based on standards set by a panel of nutrition experts.
“It’s as if chain restaurants haven’t heard that there’s a childhood obesity epidemic. They’re still serving up the same old menu of burgers, fries, sugary drink,” said Wootan.
Those types of food choices are a real health concern for nutritionist Keri Glassman.
“Kids are eating a tremendous amount of their calories, they’re getting a tremendous amount of their nutrition from fast food restaurants and it’s a major problem that these fast food restaurants and these chain restaurants and not even offering healthy meals,” said Glassman.
According to the group’s report, “The children’s meal with the most sodium is the “Naked Chicken Fingers with Avenue Sauce, Fries and Milk” at Buffalo Wild Wings. That meal contains 3,200 milligrams of sodium, twice the recommended intake of sodium for a child for an entire day.”
The National Restaurant Association said that some restaurants are offering healthy alternatives through voluntary program called “Kids Eat Well.” In a statement issued to CBS, the association wrote, “Participating restaurants offer and promote healthful meals for children that focus on increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy, while limiting unhealthful fats, sugars and sodium.”
Of the 34 restaurants studied, only ten participated in the “Kids Eat Well” program. Ironically, the Subway chain does not participate in the program yet 100 percent of their kid’s meal met nutritional standards.
“All eight of their kid’s meals are reasonable in calories, fats, sugar – they don’t have soda on the menu. And they all come with apple slices,” said Wootan.