Five years later and restaurants can’t take a hint. According to a recent study conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, 91 percent of the kiddie meals at the top 50 restaurant chains do not meet the nutritional standards of the Kids LiveWell healthy eating initiative set forth by National Restaurant Association. A related study conducted five years ago by the same organization, found that restaurants received similarly poor marks.
“The results of this updated study were disappointing,” said Dr. Ameena Batada, lead author of the study. “We were hoping for more of an improvement.”
Obesity is a huge problem in the U.S. — a whopping one-in-three American children are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With families increasingly eating out instead of enjoying home cooked meals, these unhealthy menu options for the kiddos could be adding to the obesity epidemic.
But all hope isn’t lost. Dr. Batada offers some advice for helping your kids make healthy decisions when dining out.
“Plan ahead with your kids and discuss the options ahead of time,” she suggests.
Restaurants are increasingly posting their menus and nutrition info on their websites. Take a look at the nutrition info before you head out the door and be sure to discuss the dining options with your kids.
Dr. Batada notes that more restaurants are offering healthier side options like fruits and vegetables. Encouraging your kids to swap out the fries for a healthier side could really change the calorie count of their meal. Finally, you should always have your kids opt for water instead of a sugary sweet beverage.
Do you take pains to make sure your kids eat healthy, even at restaurants? Let us know in the comments.