A new report shows how a number of major fast food chains are falling short on their pledge to offer healthier options for children.
Last year, 53 restaurant chains agreed to offer at least one ‘healthful’ entree and one ‘healthful’ side dish on every menu as part of an initiative called Kids LiveWell.
But the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) revealed that the ‘healthy’ options offered by Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Denny’s and Sonic are loaded with calories, sodium and cholesterol.
Rounding out the list of fast food chains with worst children’s meals was McDonalds, which did not sign up to the Kids LiveWell pledge.
The worst culprit, the PCRM found, was Chick-fil-A, which launched a Grilled Nuggets Meal (served with low-fat chocolate milk and waffle potato fries) as a healthier alternative to traditional nuggets.
Unfortunately it still contains 840mg sodium, and the same amount of cholesterol as a Big Mac.
Also on the list was the Sonic Kids’ Jr Burger Meal, which has the equivalent sugar of two Twinkies thanks to a caramel dipping sauce served with otherwise healthy apple slices.
And at fast food giant McDonalds, which announced its own pledge last year to make its kids’ meals more healthy, offers a cheeseburger Happy Meal that has the same sodium content as 13 orders of McDonald’s kids’ fries.
Burger King’s Hamburger Kids Meal may seem harmless with just apple slices and fat-free milk by way of accompaniment, but PCRM dieticians found that it had almost as much cholesterol as six slices of pork bacon in total.
The report explained: ‘Restaurants are increasingly marketing “healthy” versions of kids meals, but often these meals feature the same unhealthy entrees paired with healthier sides, like apple slices instead of french fries.
‘Along with those apple slices, kids are still getting cholesterol-laden chicken, artery-clogging cheeseburgers, and cancer-promoting processed meats,’ it warned.