As parents we are very concious about what our children eat. We can control exactly what they eat when we are at home, but we do eat out sometimes. At those times we must trust that the restaurants are providing quality meals. That trust may be misplaced. It seems that restaurants, national chains in particular, put little effort into devising healthy meals for children.
What’s on the menu for kids at chain restaurants? Fat, grease and hidden calories, according to one nutrition advocacy group.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest — which has touted the health evils of movie theater popcorn and Chinese food in the past — analyzed food choices for children at the top 20 sit-down chain restaurants. Results released Tuesday show that most kids’ menus offer little variety and are loaded with foods that are fattening.
Hamburger or cheeseburgers were on 85 percent of the menus, and french fries accompanied almost all of the meals but one. Chicken fingers and pizza were also common items listed for youngsters, the report found.
The center said that many of the menu options met the federal government’s daily recommendation for children of 1,500 calories and 17 grams of saturated fat — or more — in just one meal.
“The kids’ menus were replicating fast-food menus, except the portions are bigger so the calories and fat content are even higher at the table-service restaurants,” Hurley said.