Finally some good news to report about the fast food and restaurant industry! Nineteen restaurant chains have committed to making their kid meal options healthier. In a new era where one in three children are obese and where eating out is more of a norm verses a special indulgence, this is wonderful news.
The initiative is called “Kids Live Well”, and this voluntary action has select restaurants committing to reduce the calories and improve the nutritional value of the meals they advertise to children. The meals will now be comprised of increased fruit and vegetable offerings, a lean protein, whole grains, and a low fat dairy product. All participants have agreed to make certain all meals are 600 calories or less.
Burger King is one of the restaurants involved in the movement. They may be the shining star of the group as they have made a decision to make apples and milk or juice the default choices for their kid’s meals. While fries and soda will still be available, they will have to be requested. Studies have shown that menu items set as the default options are what the consumers primarily stick with.
As we’ve heard repeated reports of kid’s meals and their negative health effects on our children, it’s refreshing to see some measurable action. It’s debatable if the free toy promotions, the child directed advertising, or the required posting of nutrition information is making any difference in what our children consume. There is no debate over the fact that eating healthier food will lead to better health.
There are nineteen restaurants involved in the Kids Live Well initiative. Among the nineteen there are popular chains like Burger King, IHOP, Au Bon Pain, Chili’s, Denny’s, and Outback. A list of nineteen is a great start. When the fast food and restaurant industry has spent so much time doing damage control and PR spins, it’s surprising that this list of restaurants isn’t bursting at the seams.