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Healthier Fast Food Options for Kids

By HERWriter Blogger
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Parenting related image Photo: Getty Images

Guilt. It's a cloak most moms wear daily, especially when it comes to the food they serve their kids. They want it to be healthy and nutritious but they also want their kids to like it (and them) and have good memories of their childhood meals with mom.

And in today's fast-paced age, moms also need it fast.  Keeping these qualities in mind, a couple of fast food companies are trying to give moms one less thing to feel guilty about.

Within the last six months both McDonald's and the Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A fast food chains have taken specific steps to make their kids' meals healthier and more nutritious while keeping them as delicious as possible.  

Americans typically expect fast food to be served quick, hot and tasty and fat and calories aren't usually the first concern.  However, when it comes to children's meals, parents tend to want more. 

Starting in September 2011, McDonald's tried to make parents (and nutritionists) happier about their Happy Meals. They cut the size of the French fries in their kids' meals from 2.4 ounces to 1.1 ounces, cutting the calories in the entire meal by 20 percent.  

They also added an order of sliced apple "dippers" to each meal as an additional side, without the caramel dip that used to go with them.  Their average kids' meal now comes in just under 600 calories. All U.S. locations will implement these changes by March 2012.

Chick-fil-A, on the other hand, is the only fast food giant that has attacked the "center of the plate" when it comes to making kids' meals healthier. Starting in January 2012, they have added a grilled chicken nuggets option to their kids' meals, cutting both fat and calories drastically.

Already known as a healthier fast food option, Chick-fil-A is staying ahead of the nutrition game. In addition to the grilled chicken nuggets, they added all-natural Buddy Fruit Blended Fruit to Go applesauce as an additional side item option.

They also changed their beverage options to include only 1 percent milk, 100 percent apple juice, water or lemonade.  The kids' meal with the grilled nuggets, Buddy Fruit, and 1 percent milk is only 210 calories and 3 grams of fat.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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