Study: Are Healthy Fast-Food Meals for Kids Actually Healthy?

Are Healthy Fast-Food Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Meals for Kids Actually All That Healthy?

Staff Report

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - When it comes to marketing fast food, many restaurants have been promoting the fact that they are "healthy" or "healthier" - but compared to what? According to a recent study, some children’s menu items that are advertised as “healthy” by national fast-food chains are quite high when it comes to fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Is there such a thing as Healthy Fast Food Choices for Breakfast?

On a list of the five worst “healthy” fast-food kids meals released by the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine are McDonald’s Cheeseburger Happy Meal, which contains more sodium than 13 orders of McDonald’s kids fries, and Burger King’s Hamburger Kids Meal with as much cholesterol as six slices of pork bacon.

“It isn’t a healthy meal if the cheeseburger’s still on the plate,” says PCRM nutrition education director Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. “Fast food companies are trying to pull the wool over parents’ eyes by adding apple slices to a fat-loaded meal. Even the Chick-fil-A grilled chicken nuggets meal has as much cholesterol as a Big Mac.”

July marks the one-year anniversary of the Kids LiveWell campaign, a high-profile initiative launched by the National Restaurant Association, where 19 restaurant chains, including Burger King and Chick-fil-A, pledged to offer and promote healthier kids meals. McDonald’s does not participate in Kids LiveWell, but last July the fast-food giant also announced plans to make its Happy Meals more nutritious.

The five worst “healthy” fast-food kids meals are:

Five Worst “Healthy” Fast-Food Kids Meals
Meal Nutrition Shocker
Chick-fil-A Kids Grilled Nuggets Kids Meal Contains the same amount of cholesterol as a Big Mac.
McDonald’s Cheeseburger Happy Meal Contains more sodium than 13 orders of McDonald’s kids fries.
Sonic Kids’ Jr. Burger Meal Contains more sugar than two Twinkies.
Burger King Hamburger Kids Meal Contains almost as much cholesterol as six slices of pork bacon.
Denny's Build Your Own Jr. Grand Slam Contains almost 100 more milligrams of sodium than the government recommends children consume at breakfast.

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