US/World

Restaurant Chains Still Not Meeting Nutritional Expectations

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Image Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

The nutritional value on an average restaurant chains kid's menu has become a topic of discussion the past few years. Whether it's Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Campaign or New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attempted ban on sugary sodas, what's going into our children's body is definitely receiving attention.

In the midst of this trending health concern the majority of U.S. restaurant chains are offering kid's meals loaded with calories, salt, fat and no trace of fruits or vegetables. A study conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest is claiming that kid's menus offered by chains like McDonald's, Chipotle, Applebee's and Dairy Queen failed to meet nutritional standards 97 percent of the time.

The Worst Kid's Meals the study came across included:

1. Applebee's grilled cheese sandwich meal, 1,210 calories

2. Dairy Queen's chicken strips meal, 1,030 calories

3. Chili's peperoni pizza meal, 1,010 calories

4. Denny's Jr. cheeseburger meal, 980 calories

5. Ruby Tuesday' s mac n cheese meal, 860 calories

CSPI nutrition policy director Margo Wootan said, "Most chains seem stuck in a time warp, serving up the same old meals based on chicken nuggets, burgers, macaroni and cheese, fries, and soda. It's like the restaurant industry didn't get the memo that there's a childhood obesity crisis."

The CSPI decided to focus their research on the top 50 restaurant chains in America, 34 of which offered a menu specially designed for kids.  Researchers then combed through these meal options for the nutritional value they offered. One discovery estimated that half of the meals offered to kids contained over 600 calories, Reuters reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children under the age of 10 take in between 1,500 and 2,500 calories a day.

The study did indicate that Subway restaurant's Fresh Fit For Kid's menu offers the ideal balance of ingredients for a nutritious children's diet. Out of the eight breakfast, lunch and dinner options for kids, all eight met the CSPI's nutritional requirements.  

Although this information is startling, the CSPI says these numbers are an improvement compared to 2008 when 99 percent of kid's menus failed to meet the suggested nutritional value.

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