How often do you take your kids for eating out? In a startling study, almost 90% of thousands of children’s meals at some of the biggest restaurant chains do not comply with the standards set by the National Restaurant Assn.’s for healthy kids’ meals. However, the study has some good news to share. In almost half the chains, at least one healthier meal is served. Also, about three-quarters of the restaurants served fruits and vegetables.
Some of the most popular meals among children like a grilled cheese sandwich with fries, chocolate milk, pepperoni pizza, fries and soda, chicken nuggets, burgers, macaroni and cheese, etc. contain far too many calories and saturated fat that are not required for kids, resulting in high levels of obesity among children. One out of every three American children is obese, which is a matter of great concern.
To tackle the issue, both the restaurants and the families need to come up with innovative, healthful children’s options. Parents need to be educated about the benefits of healthy eating for their children. Besides, the parents must set an example for their kids by eating healthy themselves and regular exercising. When you take your children out, do not ask them to choose items from the kids’ menu; instead give them healthy choices. A pot of vegetable chilly prepared at home is nutritious and tasty and can appeal to your children.
The Washington-based CSPI regularly issues reports to the food industry to call out unhealthy food items. Restaurants have started realizing the importance of healthful meals and are joining the bandwagon of nutritious children’s menus. The food chains need to add more grilled items and other nutritional improvements at the same price points. They must eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages and fried foods from their menus for kids.
Twenty years ago people used to eat out less; special occasions were reserved for eating out. However, in today’s fast-paced world, eating out has become rather a habit and people are spending more than 40% of their food budget on eating in restaurants.
Next time you take your kids out, make sure to choose healthy meals for them.