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Why You Shouldn’t Bother Ordering Kids Meals

by Trang Le of "Mamapedia"
Photo by: Fotolia

At first glance, kids’ meals seem like a good idea- less than adult dishes and straightforward food they know and like. However, when you take a closer look, kids’ meals are actually quite a bad idea. They are detrimental to your kids’ health, build bad eating habits, and are overpriced. Read on to learn more.

Not Nutritious

A 2013 study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), concluded that most children’s meals from national chain restaurants were not healthy and did not meet nutrition standards for healthy eating. Despite the Obama-era Get Moving initiative, another study found that of 45 popular chain restaurants, the calorie, sodium, and saturated fat counts in kids’ meals saw little to no change between 2012 and 2015.

Given the options typically featured on kids menus (pizza, hot dogs), Kids who eat more restaurant food have worse diets than other children. Not surprisingly, the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health and Institute for Health Research and Policy study found that both fast food and full service dining increased consumption of saturated fat, sodium, and sugar compared to at-home meals.

One publication studied the average calories contained in restaurant beverage, entrée, side dish and desserts and found that on average, they contained nearly twice the recommended calories for a single meal and more than half the daily salt limit.

Instead of ordering from the kids’ meal, order your child a grilled chicken and vegetable dish, or another healthy item from the regular section of the menu.

Monotony Begets Monotony

Kids’ meals always offer the same thing: chicken nuggets, pizza, hot dog, cheese quesadilla, or buttered pasta. The more children are accustomed to these bland, generic offerings, the less likely they will be to try other, exciting foods.

As an alternative, use a night out to expand their palates or showcase new cultures and cuisines. Dining out can become both a fun culinary adventure and a learning experience.

Large Prices, Little Meals

On a price-per-ounce basis, kids’ meals are overpriced compared to adult portions, especially when considering the simplicity of most kids’ meals. The overpriced nature combined with the unhealthy content makes kids meals not worth your money.

Get more bang-for-your-buck by ordering healthy adult meals for your kids to share.

Trang Le is a mom who loves recycling and passionate about eating healthy.

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