5 Worst Kids’ Meals and 5 Alternatives When Eating Out

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The Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, share a common concern — and it involves the brightly colored, boisterous cartoons hocking fast-food meals to children. Each are worried because a report by Yale’s Rudd Center, Fast Food FACTS, found that a fast food meal increases the daily caloric intake by 126 calories for children, and 310 calories for teens.

The Mayo Clinic estimates a moderately active girl between the ages of 4 and 8 requires 1,400 to 1,600 calories per day; a boy who is 4 to 8 needs the same amount. For girls aged 9 to 13, they need 1,600 to 2,000 calories per day. A boy of the same age and lifestyle needs a few more, somewhere between 1,800 to 2,200. Children who are sedentary need even less. As part of Fast Food FACTSthe report includes information on the best, and worst, items at fast food restaurants. The report warns that even the “best” may not really be best option, because other important nutrients are missing.

The goal instead is to raise awareness of how these highly caloric meals are affecting children’s health. Especially since the characters, and advertising that target children explicitly, are trying to draw them in as customers. The following were chosen by selecting the first time a fast food restaurant was listed on the “Worst kids’ meal combinations” list, then, to compare and potentially provide a better option, the first time that company was listed on the “Best kids’ meal combinations” list was included.

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