Burger King To Offer Healthier Menu Options For Kids

Burger King knows you don’t want your kids to be fat, but it does want your money. Introducing: “Apple Fries!”

They’re not what you think. “Apple Fries,” a 35 calorie alternative to french fries, are raw apples cut to look like thick fries, then washed with lemon to keep them from turning brown.

They’re part of BK’s new healthier kids menu, according to Business Week:

Burger King Holdings Inc., the world’s second largest hamburger chain, said it has set nutritional guidelines to follow when targeting children under 12 in advertising, including limiting ads to Kids Meals that contain no more than 560 calories, less than 30 percent of calories from fat and no more than 10 percent of calories from added sugars.

In that vein, Burger King is building a Kids Meal that will contain the flame-broiled Tenders, organic unsweetened applesauce and low-fat milk, for a total of 305 calories and 8.5 grams of fat. It will be available in restaurants sometime in 2008, the company said.

The fast-food chain is also developing what it calls BK Fresh Apple Fries. The red apples are cut to resemble french fries and are served in the same containers as fries, but they are not fried and are served skinless and cold.

“We not only want to better inform parents and kids about these new menu options but also to demonstrate through product innovation that better-for-you foods can be fun and taste good,” said John Chidsey, Burger King’s chief executive.

We are continually baffled by the lengths people have to go to to get their kids to eat apples, a food we liked as a kid. We do prefer green apples, however.

Burger King adding healthier menu items [BusinessWeek]
(Photo:Maulliegh)

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  1. timmus says:

    I actually applaud this idea since I myself have gotten hooked on sliced, refrigerated apples (though I cut them myself and soak them in a vitamin C, i.e. ascorbic acid, solution). A nice snack for these hot days. My only concern is whether these BK apples are organic. Apples are prone to accumulation of pesticide residues.

    Interestingly we have been going to Chik-Fil-A sometimes for our fast food binges. The kids meals there are really amazing… the fruit cup we got last week had a fantastic medley of tropical fruit. The prize was a CD with activities, which we were astounded to find actually ran on my 3-year old’s junker iMac with OS 9. He’s always running the program and playing with it. We sure got our moneys worth with that kids meal.

  2. Schmee says:

    I like apples, but I’d rather have the fries ;-).

  3. ekthesy says:

    I like the use of the royal “we”, Meg. As a young lad in the hills of Vermont, I myself preferred a nice Macintosh, fresh from the fridge, or better yet a Macoun, picked right from the tree and still warm from the sun.

    Good for Burger King in offering a meal that, from a calorie and fat standpoint is good, but where are the vitamins coming from? The milk? Why not a salad for some vegetables?

    I hate to be cynical, but no kid is going to eat these when the entire restaurant smells like fries and there are giant pictures of hamburgers and French Fries all over the joint. It’s good that it’s offered as an option, but it’s not going to do anything for the childhood obesity epidemic.

  4. MSnfg says:

    I work at a Burger King in Ohio and i am very interested in this change to out kids meals. i have not seen any info on my end so i believe this is in a test phase. I am hoping that they pre-package these items, because it will make a more consistent product for kids and less for me to worry about in a day ;)

  5. liquisoft says:

    A lot of people don’t eat apples because they (gasp) require cutting. My wife and I have become accustomed to buying pre-cut apples from Trader Joe’s so we can simply grab them when we feel the inclination.

    I like this BK idea. It means mom’s will be able to give their kids apples and still get themselves a sickeningly fatty hamburger, all in one fell swoop.

  6. royal72 says:

    “daddy, how come you get to have a double whopper with extra mayo, a bucket of fries with ranch for dipping, and a gallon of coke? all i get is chicken tenders that taste like gas and are made of rooster balls, soggy apple sticks with a tantillizing aroma of cardboard, and boring low-fat milk that’s gone in two gulps.”

  7. waxigloo says:

    @Liquisoft: Since when do apples require cutting? I always thought fruit (esp. apples) were the ultimate ‘on-the-go’ food because of their ability to be eaten without utensils.

    I feel like these ‘healthy options’ are a lame way to lure parents in. But their child will still be scarfing down that 1000 calorie burger with those apples.

  8. Dervish says:

    Green apples are OK, but Haralsons and Honeycrisps are where it’s at. Thank you, Minnesota!

    I also don’t have much faith in the appeal of this meal to kids, but at least they’re doing something. Now it’s up to the parent(s) to lay down the law and tell their children, “this is what you’re getting.”

    I could say something about how this would be a meal easily and quickly prepared at home rather than bought at a fast food place, but I won’t…beyond what I just did.

  9. beyond says:

    This is a nice try, but the real question is whether that 400 calorie kids meal is going to leave the kid full or wanting more.

  10. travisw says:

    @royal72: Well said.

  11. TechnoDestructo says:

    I might have developed more of a fondness for apples early on if my parents ever bought anything other than Red Delicious. Bleh.

    Any word what kind of apples they’ll be using?

  12. strathmeyer says:

    Still no healthy options for adults, though?

  13. @liquisoft: I have one of those circle cutters, but it doesn’t push all the way through, and now I’ve done f’d up my thumb from trying to get the slices out.

    I like McDonald’s apples, but they come with caramel sauce which would just seem to defeat the purpose. When my stepdaughter was younger, my husband would remove the caramel before he brought the tray to the table. He would also peel her chicken telling her “you don’t like this part”.

    We don’t go to McDonald’s any more (thank gods).

  14. infinitysnake says:

    They have to make them attractive because they’re using cheap, flavorless red apples. Genuine, good tasting apples are hard to come by, because retailers prefer pretty apples that can be piled up in trucks.

  15. catskyfire says:

    I’ll give them two points for a vague effort, but BK shouldn’t be surprised when it fails. The big question will be ‘how does it all taste’. Unsweetened applesauce may be good for you, but it’s not always very tasty.

    And given a choice between ‘food my child will actually eat’ and ‘food that’s really healthy’, a lot of parents will go for the former.

    It’d be a lot easier if that which is ‘healthy’ tasted as good as a nice hamburger or fries…

  16. @catskyfire: I rather think that’s part of the problem. A lot of parents look for a quick fix instead of either sticking with healthy food choices or looking for equally healthy alternatives. My stepdaughter has had unhealthy food, but if I hand her raw broccoli, she thinks its the best day ever.

  17. rachmanut says:

    I’d like to try “what we think”, i.e. deep fried apple sticks. If there’s enough starch in the apples to make them crisp up like regular fries, I bet they’d be real good, especially with a little powdered sugar.

  18. ooolam says:

    I was told the acid in apple actually make us feel hungry and want to eat more!

    Regardless, other than eating healthier, parents should encourage their kids to exercise regularly instead of sitting in front of TV/computer all day long.

  19. UpsetPanda says:

    I sure can’t wait to go to the nearest Burger King and order a pack of apple fries, just to realize that they’ve probably been stored in a refrigerator for 8 hours and because they are skinless and sliced into fry shapes (better to complement the ‘boot’ shapes of nuggets) and that the taste is horrible because they use lower quality apples.

    After 8 hours sitting anywhere, cut apples tend to resemble cream-colored rubber sticks. Kinda like cereal straws…

  20. Fairsfair says:

    good news, or false sense of security? i applaud any fastfood chain that adds real food to their menu. let’s hope it’s a trend, not a fad, and not the diet coke to the bacon-burger.

  21. HeartBurnKid says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Probably Red Delicious, which is a damn shame. Red Delicious apples are what made me hate apples as a child. Since I’ve grown up, I’ve discovered Galas and Fujis, which are far more flavorful and have a better texture. And then there’s Braeburns, which are terrible for eating but incredible for baking.

  22. thepounder says:

    @strathmeyer: My chosen healthy option to BK is simply to not eat there unless I’m on a long road trip and want something fast… and then it’s usually only two cheeseburgers. You do make a good point though — if BK’s going to add healthy stuff, add a bunch of healthy stuff. I cannot imagine it was all that difficult to come up with Apple Fries. How many stinking focus groups do they really need?

    I don’t get the whole Apple Fries thing, but lazy folks will be lazy and simply take little Jimmy thru the drive-thru anyway. At least now he can have sliced sticks of apple with his “lips-n-buttholes” Nuggets.

  23. SaraAB87 says:

    I think they should include these with every meal, instead of just throwing in the fries, throw in the apple fries instead. Make it so the parents have to ask for the real fries. Most kids I see eating kids meals still have the burger, fries and then a juice box or bottle of milk, yeah that makes it much better. I never see any kids ordering the healthy options at McDonalds or burger king, you have to practically beg them to give you the apple dippers at McDonalds, because they just throw fries in with every meal.

  24. RvLeshrac says:

    I’d like to point out that most parents don’t bother telling their kids to eat the fruit/salad/etc.

    I was never picky as a kid – though I’ve never been willing to eat mushrooms, liver, or scallops (they make me physically gag, so not much choice). This was mainly because my parents made it clear that I was going to eat what I was given, or go hungry.

    I have cousins that don’t eat *ANY* vegetables because their parents have never TOLD them to eat their vegetables. They barely eat any fruit, save for applesauce, etc.

    Until the parents start doing their jobs, none of this will really help. There’s nothing wrong with a burger or some chicken nuggets every now and then – but it isn’t the restaurants’ fault that the parents are taking the kids for fatty foods every day.

  25. RvLeshrac says:

    @strathmeyer:

    “Healthy options for adults” include “the ability to choose where you go to eat” and “the ability to choose what you order”.

  26. Orchid64 says:

    It’s interesting how many people are being negative about this. It seems that the fast food restaurants just can’t do anything right even when they try hard to do the right thing.

    The point here doesn’t have to be to get kids to snarf down apples instead of fries but perhaps to offer something which can add balance to the meal and reduce the consumption of the less healthy options. What if a mother and 2 kids bought one large fries and split it between the three of them and bought the apples to augment the reduced portion of fries?

    When these sorts of efforts are put forth, there’s always a defeatist attitude which has been exemplified here by someone saying that having these apples with burgers is like having a Diet Coke with a bacon cheeseburger. Granted the bacon cheeseburger is bad but why make it worse with a sugary soda? It’s as if people feel that it has to be all “good and healthy” or all “bad and unhealthy” or there’s no point.

    It’s all about balance and trying to adopt an attitude toward food which stops vilifying foods. This is the crux of eating disorders and the obesity problem in the U.S. In other countries, you don’t have people thinking certain foods are “poison” because they’re high fat or high sugar but rather an attitude of eating such foods in moderation with less calorie-laden foods for overall balance. Once you start denying yourself all the time and eating too much of one thing and not another, you fall into the trap of denial and binging or throwing your blood sugar so out of whack that you get really hard to resist cravings.

    This effort will almost certainly fail but mainly because fast food places have found that fresh fruit and vegetable options are a real loser financially. They take more time and effort to handle and space to store and they can’t sell enough to off-set the expense. This is what happened to Wendy’s salad bar experiments and it’s likely the way this apple thing will go as well.

  27. Bix says:

    Good on Burger King, but it really is a strange alternative to French fries. Shouldn’t they be able to formulate something similar to the fry-esque baked potato wedges that Trader Joe’s sells?

  28. AbstractConcept says:

    They can’t heat the apples up? Warm apples are pretty tasty… Cold ones too, but with a burger? that’s just weird.

  29. deadhouseplants says:

    Worthless. As a father of two boys, my sons maybe go to fast food places at the most three times a year. I remember when my oldest son was 1 and seeing a family of obese slobs walking into McDonald’s. The fat mother ordering a supersized meal for her 6 year old overweight daughter. I just looked at that as pure child abuse. Since then, I enrolled both my sons to the kids club of our gym, and have an appreciation for home cooked meals. I’m not saying my sons are perfect in the nutritional sense, they still love fruit flavored tootsie rolls, but they at least make an effort to work it off.