US Restaurants Agree to Offer Healthier Foods to Kids

Childhood obesity image

American kids and youngsters are used to gorging down burgers, French fries with ketchup and lots of soda at their favorite restaurants. But, now a new initiative by restaurants will offer kids a healthier and more nutritious menu.

Better Food Options
Nineteen restaurant chains in the US have pledged to offer these healthy food options to kids as awareness and concern are growing about how fast food is playing a major role in the nation’s obesity epidemic. Burger King will stop offering soda and French fries in kids’ meals. Instead, children can opt for sliced apples or milk in their meals. Burger King says soda and French fries will not be a default option, and kids can instead choose healthy food items.

More the Merrier
Other fast food chains that have taken this welcome decision include El Pollo Loco, Chevy’s, Friendly’s, Chili’s, IHOP and Denny’s. As per their campaign, these fast food restaurants will offer at least one meal for children with less than 600 calories, no soda, and at least two foods from low-fat dairy, lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

Burger King Takes the Lead
The association for US restaurants says they want to take the lead in offering better dining options for their young consumers to help raise a healthy generation of kids. Totally, the participating restaurants groups have about 15,000 branches across the US. Burger King will publicize its healthy meals on posters and ads.

McDonald’s is Absent
Nutrition experts welcomed this development and agree that the criteria for healthy meals are indeed stringent. However, McDonald’s is conspicuous by its absence in this campaign. It is a worldwide leader in hawking hamburgers and has faced a lot of flak for its marketing of fast food to children. McDonald’s says its current offerings are balanced and nutritious already for both adults and children. It also needs more time to evaluate about participating in this latest program.

All Meals Should be Nutritious
Each of the participating restaurant chains is formulating its own unique healthy meal program for kids. Health experts say removing soda and fries from the default option is very welcome as most people select the default meals. Now, consumers can select better and healthier foods, they opine. But, some nutrition experts say offering only one healthy meal and side dish will not be enough. They argue that the program should be broadened to make all children’s meals healthy and nutritious.

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