Rethinking the Fast Food Pit Stop

My friend doesn’t allow her young children to indulge in fast food of any kind.

I am not THAT mom.

While I would love to say that I feed my family 100 percent organic, made from scratch meals EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. — I don’t. The crew at our local McDonald’s can vouch for that.

That said we are by no means drive-thru addicts. I allow my French fry- loving first grader to get her fix of grease and lard three times a month–max.

However, after reading a new report posted in the Journal of the American Medical Association about the effects of fast food meals on kids 2-19, I may have to reduce our visits to Ronald’s house to once a year.

The report detailed findings made by dietitians with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). The health experts analyzed kids’ meals offered by five major fast-food chains: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken and A&W.

Honestly, just reading the results made my arteries clog. PCRM dieticians looked at calories, total fat, saturated, fat, cholesterol, and sodium featured in the popular kiddie meals and discovered the following:

McDonald’s Mighty Kids’ Meal: Ronald’s meal for youngsters topped the PCRM’s list of the five most unhealthful fast-food meals marketed to children. The double cheeseburger, French fries and chocolate milk meal reportedly contains the most calories, fat, and saturated fat of any meal analyzed. Here’s how the meal breaks down: 840 calories, 37 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, and 1,460 milligrams of sodium.

Wendy’s Kids’ Meal: PCRM listed it as the second worst on the list. The meal includes a chicken sandwich, French fries, and chocolate Frosty. The breakdown: 770 calories, 34 grams of fat, 9.5 grams of saturated fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, and 1,390 milligrams of sodium.

KFC Kids’ Meal: Third worst, according to PCRM dieticians. The meal, which includes Popcorn chicken, potato wedges, string cheese, and soda contains: 800 calories, 34.5 grams of fat, 7.5 grams of saturated fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, and 1,800 mg of sodium.

A&W Kids’ Meal: This artery clogger consists of a cheeseburger, French fries, and soda. It features 780 calories, 29 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, and 1,360 milligrams of sodium.

BK Breakfast Kids’ Meal: Fifth worst of the bunch includes a Muffin sandwich, BK Fresh Apple Fries, low-fat caramel sauce, and apple juice. It features a total of 410 calories, 11.5 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, and 600 milligrams of sodium.

Bottom line: If you are feeding your kids the aforementioned fast food meals more than once a week, then you may be jeopardizing their health.

How often do you frequent fast food restaurants with your kids?

Related Articles:

What are You Feeding Your Baby?

Fast Food Kids’ Meals—How Healthy Are They?

Kids And Juice—Are They A Healthy Mix?

Is There Such A Thing As A Healthy Hamburger?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.