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Healthier Kid’s Meals Still Unhealthy Menu Comparison of Top Fast Food Chains
You’ve heard it before, and you are about to hear it again. If you wish to pack on weight, eat at fast food restaurants. There is some contention that this is not an absolute truth, so I’ll concede that people are entitled to their opinions.
Whereas I am also entitled to an opinion, I would like to agree that if you wish to pack on weight, eat at fast food restaurants. But you bring the kids along, remember that there’s a little something more in those children’s meals than just a plastic toy. There is also the increased possibility for diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and poor academic performance.
I’ll begin by pointing out that a Wendy’s Bacon Double Deluxe and Large Frosty is a combined 1420 calories while the general caloric recommendation for a whole day is between 1500 and 1800. If you feel that Wendy’s is too heavy load to bear, then grab a** Big Mac and medium fries at McDonalds. That’s only a combined 920 calories.** but if you are thirsty, and throw in a large iced tea at 280 calories, then there you have it, 1200 calories in one sitting.
In a related vein, it may surprise you to know that Kids in Head Start Program Have Healthier Weight by Kindergarten Than Peers (article).
The Fast Food Fast FixFast food chains not so long ago announced their commitment to making kids meals healthier. In an environment where about** 17 million American children and adolescents are obese**, that seems like a pretty good idea. The problem is that some of these healthier options aren’t that healthy. For instance, a** Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets Kids Meal has about the same amount of calories as a Big Mac. A McDonalds Cheeseburger Happy Meal contains more sodium than 13 orders of McDonalds kids fries, and a Sonic Kids’ Jr. Burger Meal has more sugar than two Twinkies.** Consider these three instances as examples of back to the drawing board.
Comparing the MenusMeals for moderately active preschoolers should contain about** 410 calories on average**. While it is possible to stitch together a 400-calorie kid’s meal in a fast food restaurant, small deviations can turn contained calories into calories that are out of control.** For example, if apple slices are replaced with french fries in a health-crafted meal, the calorie count can jump from 400 to over 600.** This is if you could even convince your child to go healthy in a place where the aroma of french fries is enticing and recommends going fat.
If you are wondering how one kids’ menu compares with another, here are a few examples.
- KFC Li’l Bucket consisting of a Chicken Little Sandwich, mac and cheese, Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters, and GoGo Squeeze Apple Sauce is** 570 calories.*** ** McDonald’s** cheeseburger, small fries, milk, and apple slices is** 645 calories.*** ** Taco Bell** child-sized meal consisting of 1 crunchy taco, chips and guacamola, and a 7 ounce lowfat chocolate milk is** 710 calories**.
- Wendy’s kids’ cheeseburger, kids’ fries, and Jr. Original Chocolate Frosty is** 710 calories**.
- Boston Market kids’ chicken, mashed potatoes, 12 ounce lemonade, and cornbread is** 710 calories**.
- Carl’s Jr. Kids’ Meal consisting of a kids’ cheeseburger, onion rings , and 12 ounce fruit punch is** 960 calories**.
Does this still sound like a good option for children?
Many mothers will feed their children readily-available convenience foods, just as I did when I raised my daughter, unknowing these foods are calorie-dense, low-nutrient and contribute to being overweight. Currently 1 in 3 children ages 2-19 is overweight.
My daughter, Crystal, a wife and mother, has beaten those odds and raised a normal-weight child. So I asked her to share with readers how exactly she instilled healthy eating and activity habits beginning when her daughter was in the cradle, and raised a 5-year-old child who loves raw veggies and playing outdoors. Read our interview series, "Raising a Normal Weight Child in an Overweight Society."
Living larger than ever,** My Bariatric Lifisit me on ** MyBariatricLife.org**,** ** Flickr**, Vimeo, Twitter, YouTube,** ** StumbleUpon**, Google+ iew my** ** Borne AppÃ©tit recipe collection on Pinterest**
References:** Obesity Action**
Cheryl Ann Borne, writing as My Bariatric Life, is a contributing writer and Paleo recipe developer for HealthCentral’s Obesity Community. Cheryl is an award-winning healthcare communications professional and obesity health advocate who has overcome super obesity and it’s related diseases. She publishes the website MyBariatricLife.org and microblogs on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Cheryl also is writing her first book and working on a second website. Watch her transformational video on Vimeo.