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New Healthy Menu Options for Kids

By: Patty Kirk, RD, LD, Co-Director of Nutrition at Cooper Clinic

Today is a ground breaking day for families trying to navigate healthy dining in restaurants for their children. The National Restaurant Association in collaboration with Healthy Dining announced 19 restaurant chains, including Chili’s Grill & Bar, Outback Steakhouse and more, will improve their healthy menu options for kids in more than 15,000 restaurant locations.

Currently many kids’ meal options can easily reach 1,000 calories or more. In order to be part of this new program, the restaurant must include an entrée, side dish and beverage which contain 600 calories or less, plus meet other nutritional criteria.

As dietitians at Cooper Clinic we are excited about this step that restaurants are taking to offer our children more healthy options. We challenge parents to give guidance to their kids, helping them make the right choices most of the time when eating out. As a parent it is important to serve as a good role model for kids in the eating arena. When your family dines out, try to order fruit, vegetables or a salad instead of fries. Most restaurants have this option. If your kids must have fries, split them between several people. We also recommend ordering water or low-fat milk for a beverage and a grilled chicken sandwich or deli sandwich for an entrée.

To read the full press release from the National Restaurant Association, click here.

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