Which Restaurants Are Making Your Kids Fat?

Unless your kid is named Hansel, he probably doesn’t need to be fattened up like a juicy Christmas goose every time you go out to eat. That’s not what some of the biggest restaurants think, though: Chili’s has a kids’ meal that comes in at 1,020 calories, while Burger King and KFC both offer meals that are over 900 calories. Your healthiest option, says the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is Subway. Here are what some other restaurants are offering, as well as tips on how to make the best of a bad meal when your kid is eating out.

For children between 4 and 8 years of age, the recommended amount of calories per meal, assuming three meals a day, is 430. If the child is active, the amount goes up to 565. Using these numbers as a guide, the CSPI looked at the biggest restaurant chains in the country, then whittled their list down to the ones that offer dedicated kids’ menus and provide nutritional info. This meant the following were left out of the study because they won’t provide nutritional info:

Here’s what the CSPI has to say about those restaurants that do provide nutritional info:

Chili’s has 700 possible kids’ meal combinations, but 658, or 94 percent, of those are too high in calories, including one comprised of country-fried chicken crispers, cinnamon apples, and chocolate milk (1,020 calories) and another comprised of cheese pizza, homestyle fries, and lemonade (1,000 calories).

Burger King has a “Big Kids” meal with a double cheeseburger, fries, and chocolate milk (910 calories)

Sonic has a “Wacky Pack” with 830 calories worth of grilled cheese, fries, and a slushie.

KFC has a wide variety of side items, but there are few meal combinations that keep a reasonable ceiling on calories, according to the study. One example of a high-cal combo KFC kid’s meal (the chain calls them “Laptop Meals”) has popcorn chicken, baked beans, biscuit, Teddy Grahams, and fruit punch, which has 940 calories. (KFC has since dropped Baked Cheetos from its kids’ meals, and some outlets vary the number of chicken strips or sides.)

Most of the kids’meals (93 percent) at McDonald’s and Wendy’s are too high in calories, as are the possibilities at Burger King (92 percent), Dairy Queen (89 percent), Arby’s (69 percent), and Denny’s (60 percent-though its kids’ meals don’t include drinks). (Since CSPI’s study was completed, Burger King has introduced one new children’s meal with macaroni and cheese, apple “fries,” and 1 percent milk, which has a reasonable 420 calories.)

Subway’s kids’ meals came out on top. Only a third of its Fresh Fit for Kids meals, which include a mini-sub, juice box, and one of several healthful side items (apple slices, raisins, or yogurt), exceed the 430-calorie threshold. Subway is the only chain that doesn’t offer soft drinks with kids’ meals.

So how do you improve the nutrition of your kid’s meal the next time you eat at a restaurant? A spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association gave the following advice:

“Don’t be too alarmed even when [studies] come out and seem hopeless,” said Dawn Jackson Blatner, an American Dietetic Ass>ociation spokeswoman. “With a few swaps and switches, people really can make healthier choices at these fast-food joints, especially when the decisions are made before going in.

“Many of these restaurants have the nutrition information online that you can print out and go over with your kids even before you go, so that everybody is on the same page before they pull up to the drive-through or [head] to the counter,” Blatner said.

She also suggested that “instead of getting the fries, go with the apple slices. Many [restaurants] offer carrot sticks or apple slices or no-sugar-added applesauce or oranges, which make a big difference over deep-fried fries.”

And pay attention to how food is cooked. “Instead of the deep-fried nuggets, go for something like the grilled chicken, and you will save fat grams and calories,” Blatner said. You’ll also save calories by switching the soda, she added: “You can’t go wrong with unsweetened iced tea, water or a skim milk.”

As for the restaurants that refuse to provide nutritional info, maybe you should just eat elsewhere.

Click here for some specific replacement suggestions from the Chicago Tribune.

You can download a copy of the full CSPI report here.
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. PinkBox says:

    Hopefully no parent is taking their kids out to eat enough that the kid’s meals will really make a difference. ;)

    Nice list, though.

  2. floraposte says:

    I get fast food approximately once a year, and even I can’t imagine doing it without getting fries.

  3. gorckat says:

    Guess its not really that big a deal when a kid doesn’t clear his whole plate off.

  4. These restaurants aren’t making your kids fat. If a kid is getting fat because he’s eating too many happy meals, then the parenting is the issue.

    When I was a kid, “I’m bored” was the worst thing I could ever say. As soon as I said that I’d be outside digging a hole to fill it in. Give your critters some exercise and they won’t get fat no matter how many happy meals he/she eats.

  5. incognit000 says:

    Anyone who doesn’t think that fast food meals provide too many calories for their kids is either deluding themselves or not very bright.

    Y’know, when I was growing up, eating out was a privelige, earned only when either we were on vacation or something special was going on. And even then we rarely ate fast food, we mostly ate out at nice restaraunts, and a few times I even had to dress up (which I hated).

    I know that what with high inflation and declining wages there’s a pressure for both parents to work and none to cook, but if my single Dad can make dinner 7 nights a week (I was on my own for breakfast and ate at school) I can’t help but think that at least simple home meals can become the norm.

    It was cheaper anyway.

  6. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    …guess if the kids meals are this high the adult meals must be really over the top… I may have to start ordering the kids meal with my kids.

  7. SkokieGuy says:

    This is why it is a responsible parent’s duty to steal french fries from their kids.

  8. ohiomensch says:

    @incognit000:

    I have to agree, eating out should be an infrequent treat. When I was little, we went to McDonalds every payday (2 weeks). Of course, all you could get was a 12 oz soda, burger and fries (and get change from your dollar).

    Fast food should not be a nightly meal.

  9. darkrose says:

    I try to avoid fast food joints with my 5 year old when I’m taking him out. We go to more sit-down restaurants, or we simply don’t go out. I grill a lot of food (and I will do a ton of grilling all at once, then vacuum seal and freeze the leftovers for a quick meal on another day–might be a good tip for someone), so I know what he’s eating is relatively healthy.

    Unfortunately, his mother will take him to fast food joints on her weekends with him, even though I beg her not to..to the point of sending some of that nice grilled food over with him to her place.

  10. HPCommando says:

    Few kids, unless being starved, eat more than their bodies tell them they need…excepting, of course, the “bad” stuff, like chocolates and candies.

    This is just another example of CSPI agitprop, and another demonstration that they purposefully exaggerate the “3% Rule”…no matter what it is, at least 3% of the population will have an adverse reaction. CSPI tries to pretend “3%=100%”.

    Recall that they “conclusively proved” garlic, pasta and wine killed everyone on earth faster than any other combinations of food? Turns out the people of Italy, France and several Asian nations where these are staples are healthier and longer-living than nations that do not have these foods aS common meals.

    See “CSPI” and you know the claim is grossly exaggerated or patently false.

  11. ianmac47 says:

    All of the above mentioned restaurants operate in New York City, and assuming they have a mere 15 locations, they are required to at least list calorie counts by law. Or are they brazenly ignoring that?

  12. RabbitDinner says:

    Haha “Big Kids” meal is right on. Who’s the guy in the photo? He might have a case against McDonald’s (hardy har har)

  13. Murph1908 says:

    @gorckat:

    That’s what I was thinking. My boy is only 12 weeks old, I have 10 nieces and nephews. The youngest is 4, and never comes CLOSE to eating everything on his plate at restaurants.

    @RamV10:
    When I was a kid, “I’m bored” was the worst thing I could ever say. As soon as I said that I’d be outside digging a hole to fill it in.

    lol
    Did she also tell you that what you had there was a failure to communicate?

  14. DallasPath says:

    @RamV10:
    Amen to that. Up until a certain age, the only source of food that they have access to is whatever is provided through their parents/caregivers. They can’t read or do math, much less understand the concept of a calorie. All they know is “Oooooh toy comes with food” So I wouldn’t blame the restaurants on this one.

    My kids get to eat out as a reward for being student of the day in karate. 9 times out of 10, they choose chick-fil-a. I’m pretty sure that karate 3-4 times a week as well as swimming lessons negates any caloric effect from the kids meal they eat once every two weeks.

  15. armour says:

    None of these makes kids fat!!!

    It is time people take responsibility for their actions and my Finger is pointing straight at the parents. It’s parents faults for not protesting when the amount of physical activity classes were reduced. It’s parents faults for not complaining and protesting at the type of advertising directed to children, Parents fault for not getting their lil fat darlings off the couch and away from T.V., Video Games, Computers and being involved in their own children’s active life styles.

    Parents are to blame for not balancing the food groups and the type of food their children eat. It’s not about diets it about life style changes and not being lazy and parenting. Not only would this solve the weight issue of their children but the discipline and attitudes that go along with it.

    I’m sick and tired of people trying to blame every one else for THEIR choices.

    And yes I have three kids and live by what I’m saying. I some time work 10 hour day but I MAKE the time to be active with them and to cook fresh properly balanced meals for the sakes of their health and my own. We have T.V. Video games and computers in our home but as parents WE control the amount of time the kids are on them. We don’t drive to the local store or library

    It’s not easy but no one every said life or being a parent ever would be. I have been at board meeting at the school pushing for changes in the meals and snacks offered, and there are now more daily lunch time organized sports available. They have a daily walk in the morning for all grade level and the kids receive 25, 50, 100 ect badges for the number of KM over the year they walk.

  16. hills says:

    Better Question -

    “Which Parents are Making Their Kids Fat?”

  17. dragonfire81 says:

    It’s funny to me how these studies come out and blast fast food places for being….GASP!…so UNHEALTHY!

    News Flash…it’s FAST FOOD. Anyone who goes to a fast food place should not expect to eat healthy. I think it’s good some of the chains are attempting to offer healthier items, except that for the most part of they are crap with a different look.

    If you want your kids to eat healthy, stay away from fast food chains.

  18. Superawesomerad says:

    Cheap, greasy, meat- and salt-based food is bad for you, film at 11.

    Try cooking for the little bastards at home every now and again. They’ll thank you for it someday.

  19. Etoiles says:

    I do think this is kind of a stupid study.

    Pretty much everyone these days KNOWS what foods are bad for them. Sometimes, we choose to eat them anyway. (Last night’s Godiva cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory, I’m looking at you.)

    It’s all about moderation. It’s always all about moderation. You can have a deep-fried turkey covered in twinkies and topped off with a whole cheesecake and a bottle of vodka *IF* you do it once a year, and it certainly won’t make you fat. But putting cheese on all your veggies every day will.

    If restaurants are an indulgence or an exception, instead of the rule, then pig out. Even one bad splurge a week won’t derail you too badly if the other 6 days are extremely health-conscious.

  20. B says:

    Or just lock the kids in the basement when you go out to eat. Be sure to leave them some canned goods, and maybe a knife to fight off the rats.

  21. harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law says:

    I will not eat at a fast food joint which doesn’t provide nutritional info. Good day sir.

  22. You can be a better parent if you have more information on the nutritional value of various restaurants’ kids’ meals.

    That’s why studies like this are valuable, not stupid. I’m all for personal responsibility, but you need all the information first before you can take intelligent action. Your alternative, in the face of no info, is to avoid restaurants altogether. It’s better (or at least more realistic) to keep restaurants in the picture and arm yourself with nutritional info.

  23. stanner says:

    The industry specifically targets kids with their ads for a reason – it works. From the parents point of view, it’s cheap, fast and tastes pretty good (bitch all you want about how awful it is, it sells in large part because many people like it.)

    This list would be helpful for any parent that wants the convenience of fast food, but would like to help their kids eat better. Kudos to Subway for offering reasonable options too.

    (And yes, it is the parent’s responsibility. But they can use all the help they can get.)

  24. quagmire0 says:

    Kids get fat because parents throw food at them as a way to shut them up. Plain and simple. Crying in the back seat? Here’s a snack. Crying at the mall? Here’s a coffee and a cinnabon. Crying at a party? Here’s some cookies, cake, cookies, and three cans of Coke.

    That and the fact that parents tend to take the easy route and buy all the pre-processed snacks instead of actually having fruits and vegetables available.

  25. kaptainkk says:

    It’s not necessarily the parents’ but the huge corporations shoving this garbage down our children’s throats via advertising that are making kids fat. It’s freakin’ everywhere you look. All to make more money because they are just a bunch of greedy bastards that don’t give a damn about the health of a nation. MCD’s is the worst imo.

  26. +y’all need to stop blanket hatin’ on the study! It’s not saying ALL FAST FOOD IS CRAP, it’s saying here are the “worst” meals and here are the “best.” It’s providing an overview of the fast food market place and explaining where the real trouble spots are and where the best choices are. That’s all good info for parents.

  27. evslin says:

    @kaptainkk: When did McDonald’s start grabbing people off the streets and force-feeding them double quarter pounders with cheese?

    Because until that takes place, it absolutely is the parents’ responsibility to make better choices. Just because something’s advertised all over the place doesn’t mean you don’t have the option to ignore it.

  28. ryanasimov says:

    My eyes glaze over whenever I see stories like this, because the conclusions drawn always seem completely obvious. The common denominator is poor parenting.

    However, I have a friend who I can count on to be ASTONISHED by stories that report how fast food is high in calories. Just utterly amazed, as if nutrition was some arcane lore that nobody understands.

    His kids are fat, btw.

  29. screwtapeletters says:

    Uh, excuse me, the only thing that “makes a kid fat” from eating is the food choices that the adult caring for them makes. Let’s not foist the blame off on restaurants when it’s your choice as the grown-up to go somewhere else.

  30. Truthie says:

    Well at least Burger King is being upfront about the “Big Kids” meals, if you assume that by “big” they mean really that “this meal will make your child too big to fit into normally-sized clothes”.

  31. springboks says:

    I’m not sure why they’re only talking about kids (granted the study was geared at kids nutrition).

    Remember a child has a much higher metabolism, I won’t touch the likes of Applebees with a 10ft pole.

  32. kaptainkk says:

    @evslin: Of course parents have an obligation to make sure their kids eat healthy meals. The fact is that there are no options available, unless you want to eat organic carrots and celery forever or cook meals from scratch. From all the processed foods in the grocery store to all the fast food, none of it is healthy for you. It can be made healthy but they choose not to because of the almighty dollar and keeping shareholders happy comes into play. Stop trying to protect corporations, they don’t give a damn about anyone.

  33. EBounding says:

    When I was a kid eating at a restaurant was a treat. Yeah, it was unhealthy, but that was the point since we didn’t go very often. If I wanted a sandwich and a juice box, I’d just eat it at home.

  34. ThinkerTDM says:

    @quagmire0: Amen. Restaurants don’t make kids fat. Not moving your ass makes you fat. When I was a kid, playgrounds, running, swimming, riding my bike- those were the things kids did.

  35. Jesse says:

    This is the same watchdog group that predicted something to the effect that we are all going to die from movie popcorn, chinese food, etc.

    The point here is that taken in moderation these menu items probably aren’t harmful. However, a sustained diet of greasy fast food isn’t good for anyone, especially children. It’s common sense.

  36. Gann says:

    Should read: “Why are you making your kids fat?”

  37. screwtapeletters says:

    @EBounding: Exactly. I mean to some extent you could just do burgers on the grill at home and baked fries in the oven, but to go out was supposed to be a once in a while treat.

    Because let’s be serious here, it takes far more caloric intake than the overage caused by a fast food meal even once or twice a week to cause consistent weight gain in a vast majority of people.

  38. Kitteridge says:

    Dear people,

    Fries are not a side dish for pizza.

    Pizza does not require a side dish.

    That is all.

    –Kitt

  39. Shutaro says:

    @Gann: My kids aren’t fat, they’re famine resistant!

  40. NYGal81 says:

    @kaptainkk: It’s a little extreme to say that the only way to work around the poor nutrition of fast food is to go veggie or scratch cook everything you eat. Even though very few would sing the praises of traditional processed foods, you can certainly find a good deal of low-fat, lower sodium foods, or make changes to the preparations that make them “healthier.” But seriously, even “scratch” cooking doesn’t have to be as complicated as you seem to imply. It takes less than 30 minutes to throw a few skinless chicken breasts in the oven, make some rice or potatoes, and steam some broccoli. Every home-cooked meal doesn’t have to be an extravagant 4 course meal for it to qualify as home-cooked.

    I don’t think the situation is as polarized as your post makes it seem. The choice is not “fast food every day for the rest of your life” or “quit your job because you’re going to be home milling your own flour for the rest of your life.” It seems the middle ground might be “Everything in moderation?”

  41. bohemian says:

    If your kids never get any exercise and you eat at restaurants or take out every night they will be either fat or unhealthy, or both.

  42. evslin says:

    @kaptainkk: The fact is that there are no options available, unless you want to eat organic carrots and celery forever or cook meals from scratch.

    So what you’re really saying is that there are options, but you’d rather just swing at McDonald’s for not being healthy anyway. Hey, that’s cool. That’s wrong, but that’s cool.

    As for me protecting corporations, if that’s what you want to call it then that’s your decision – I’m more reacting to your “OMG ADVERTISING :(” rant than anything else. Quit being such a defeatist and get out of the frozen section of your grocery, for starters. Nobody is being forced to live on chicken nuggets here.

  43. dry-roasted-peanuts says:

    Anyone else get a mental image of the BK King or Ronald McDonald force feeding Augustus Gloop with a funnel, foi grass style, after reading this?

  44. dveight says:

    @armour: Amen! Society too often now wants to point the blame else where. Video games are too violent, fast food has too much fat and calories, etc… No body wants to accept the blame and responsibility! When did it become other peoples job to take care of your own kids? Parents need to stand up and start taking responsibility of their own kids, and not rely on TV to babysit, or school to make sure that the kids are getting their exercise.

  45. Tmoney02 says:

    @HPCommando: Few kids, unless being starved, eat more than their bodies tell them they need…excepting, of course, the “bad” stuff, like chocolates and candies.

    Michiline Man Jr. has something to say about that, but he is currently eating…

  46. Tmoney02 says:

    @Tmoney02: Michelin*

  47. battra92 says:

    Add another to the “when I was young eating out was a treat” blah blah blah. Fast forward to middle school when my parents were working two jobs each and eating out at BK was a twice a week event. Of course, I was going through the insatiable hunger phase of puberty at the time and was eating two double cheeseburgers (sometimes with bacon) plus a large (sometimes king sized) fries and a regular soda. In doing a quick check I was easily scarfing down 2100 calories or so a night. I guess in a way since I was in my “not eating lunch” phase of life as well I at least saved myself from total morbid obesity.

    Was BK to blame? No. Were my parents to blame? Partly. Was I to blame? YES! I should’ve been satisfied with a kids meal. In fact, in the rare case I go to a BK/McD that’s all I get is a kids meal.

    @Kitteridge: A small salad is a nice side for pizza.

  48. battra92 says:

    @Tmoney02: I wonder whatever happened to that kid. Maybe his parents found him being the mock of all Internets and put him on a diet.

  49. Venarain says:

    evslin: Hehehehe. I love the image of some one with a gun to their head, stuffing frozen chicken nuggets in their mouth. I agree with you, but I do think it’s unreasonable to not hold companies responsible their impact on their customers. If we just say, people have choice and if they make bad choices it’s their deal then we are basically living in a libertarian society. Which I’m not down with.

  50. snoop-blog says:

    I Think the headline is a bit much, seeing how the restaurant never put a gun to anyones head and made them eat there, but there seems to be too much worry over peoples weight. If we want to be fat, then let us. I have mentally handicapped family members that when I was a kid I asked why my mother didn’t feed them more healthier food. Her response: They weren’t even supposed to have lived as long as they have according to what doctors have told us. She just didn’t have the heart to feed them nasty crap, seeing how their time here may be limited anyhow, she thought she’d at least let them enjoy what life they could.

  51. Tmoney02 says:

    @snoop-blog: If we want to be fat, then let us.

    Sounds great to me! I assume though you will pay out of pocket (rather than drive up insurance rates or take tax payer money) for any medical expenses that result from your large gluteus maximus.

  52. DrGirlfriend says:

    Yes, we all need to be responsible for what we shovel into our mouths. And while I love to cook, I don’t always get to do so every single day. Having nutritional info available for these restaurants – regardless of how fatty common sense tells you the food probably is – is good to have. I just don’t get the constant arms-folding and head-shaking that I see in comments about these types of posts. We get it, fast food is not healthy, and you cook all the time and either never eat at places like these or do so very seldom, and your children would never be allowed to touch a french fry, but that doesn’t eliminate the need for nutritional info. If it did, then we might as well remove it from packaged foods we get at the supermarket, too. I mean, come on, everyone knows bread has a lot of carbs, what’s the need to have it on the package?

  53. snoop-blog says:

    @Tmoney02: No I have health insurance, so thanks everyone!! Me luvs u much!

  54. mac-phisto says:

    @snoop-blog: it’s funny how you characterize good food as “nasty” – hell, i think most of us do; we’ve just been trained that way.

    the thing is, i had a few friends growing up that had parents on the granola kick way before it was a fad. while my treats were fries, soda & burgers, theirs were fruits & veggies. they never thought of good food as nasty – never pushed away broccoli b/c it was green.

    today, their lifestyle is much healthier than mine – they eat healthy, workout, etc. i’m not obese, but i don’t even want to know what my blood pressure is these days. & while i’ve grown to like things i used to think were nasty, it’s really difficult to fundamentally change your lifestyle as an adult.

    my point is, teach kids to eat healthy young & they’ll realize what’s really nasty – assembly-line food chock full of “taste-enhancers” & other horrid chemicals.

  55. PinkBox says:

    @incognit000: Same with me. My parents very rarely took me out to eat. My mother took the time to cook nice meals.

  56. snoop-blog says:

    @mac-phisto: Different folks different strokes. You can’t program taste buds. Plus 10 years ago, it was a lot more expensive to eat healthy and we grew up poor.

  57. Saboth says:

    Here’s the deal. When I was a kid, I was active. I had the computer, NES, etc, and I played them a TON, but I was also outside playing probably 5-6 hours a day (depending on weather). Hell, on any given day I probably burned 5,000-6,000 calories. So take that “mass media” trying to state restaurants are making our kids fat. How about PE being removed from schools and lack of activities for kids?

  58. snoop-blog says:

    @Saboth: Word. I had all the games systems, and played the crap out of them, but I also had a bike, skateboard, rollerblades etc, and played the crap out of those to. I’ve never been overweight, nor have I ever dieted. I think genetics plays the biggest part.

  59. DrGirlfriend says:

    @Saboth: I was the same way. I had an Atari (ahem), later an NES, and I also loved to read – both sedentary activities. But I also played outside a lot. I was lucky to be in a neighborhood where we could be allowed to roam around and play, and also lucky in that obesity doesn’t run in my family. But I was able to eat both my family’s healthy home cooking *and* also have some of the not-so-hot for-you stuff because I was encouraged to be active at home. And at school we had PE and played games at recess. I think that has to be factored in to the situation of childhood obesity today.

  60. lidor7 says:

    Am I the only one who is surprised at how low the number of calories are? Maybe I’m wrong, but isn’t the daily diet of calories expected to be 2000 and possibly more for active kids?

    If they’re eating 1000 calories in one meal, and you have two to three meals a day, isn’t that just right? Especially if it’s dinner, which is generally when I would be going out to eat.

  61. csdiego says:

    @HPCommando: “Recall that they “conclusively proved” garlic, pasta and wine killed everyone on earth faster than any other combinations of food?”

    Got a source for that?

    I appreciate hearing from the CSPI. There’s certainly enough disinformation out there from the other side.

    All you industry flacks, if childhood obesity is a sign of bad, weak, lazy parenting, then there’s hardly a fit parent in this country (except for each of you, I’m sure, whose kids are perfect). Some parents may be winning the fight against our toxic food environment, but there’s no reason why it should have to be such a struggle.

  62. lidor7 says:

    @lidor7:

    Whoops, missed the bit in the article that says kids 4-8 should only have about 500 calories. I suppose that’s the age group that these meals are aimed at.

  63. kaptainkk says:

    Riddle me this Batman. Why does a double patty melt, M fries, and M Coke have to have 1750 calories and 95 grams of fat @ Whataburger?!! This is the kind of food that these kids will grow up eating. It’s a crying shame. It’s also a shame how so many of you have the mentality that no one is forcing you to eat it. That’s not the real issue, the real issue is much deeper than that.

  64. jimv2000 says:

    “Which restaurants are making your kids fat?”

    All of them.

  65. ironchef says:

    Pretty much most restaurants with a deep fryer make that list.

  66. Breach says:

    @jimv2000:

    Exactly

    There is not 1 I can think of that isnt a bunch of unhealthy over-big garbage.

    I vow when I have kids, Micky Ds and similar “food” are off the menu.

  67. ironchef says:

    @Tmoney02: it’s disgusting how FAT america is.

  68. jessicat says:

    The moral of the study is: if you’re going to take your kids to a fast food restaurant, you shouldn’t let them eat anything.

    Simple enough.

  69. mac-phisto says:

    @snoop-blog: well, i guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. i happen to think you can program tastebuds & that eating healthy is at least as cheap as eating fast & in many cases cheaper.

  70. timsgm1418 says:

    @RamV10: you and me both, we learned at a very early age never to say “I’m bored” to my parents or grandparents, they would find us something to do that we probably wouldn’t like.
    I also agree the parents feeding the kids that stuff is making them fat. When I take my 5 year old grandson to McDonalds once a week, he gets the 4 piece nugget Happy Meal with apple dippers instead of fries (oddly he doesn’t really like fries) that fills him up. He is exactly the right weight for his height, mainly because we make sure he has outside activity everyday. We go to a lot of parks

  71. timsgm1418 says:

    @screwtapeletters: exactly

  72. Dyscord says:

    Oh geeze. If you’re worried about your kids being healthy, you wouldn’t be taking them out for fast food now would you? Good lord, one kids meal isn’t going to kill your kid.

  73. whans2007 says:

    My Hansel will be sorely disappointed when I tell him that he can’t eat some of his favorites (chicken nuggets are his absolute favorite), although he is slim and trim and very active for an 8-year old.

  74. The_Gas_Man says:

    I think bad parenting is making your kids fat. But that’s just common sense talking. It’s really up to you.

  75. bbagdan says:

    Ah, the fate of humankind, rapidly becoming the model seen in Wall-E.

  76. cerbie says:

    “You can’t go wrong with unsweetened iced tea, water or a skim milk.”

    Yes, you can. Water is OK, but the other two? Ew.

    I’m with everyone else: it’s parenting. HFCS and flavor enhancers don’t help (they make you want to eat more, too, you see…), but that is still controlled by the parents.

    Now please excuse me while I wait to go home and eat a big bowl of gumbo over curry rice (from scratch, and the gumbo lasts forever in the fridge). MMmmm, fat and carbs.

  77. radiochief says:

    Ok. I am gonna pile on the hate for this study. Oh yeah, who does not know that the kid’s meals are full of calories, fat, salt and sugar?

    We have to thank the study and the media for pointing this out?

    You know, if your kid is thin and active or muscular– maybe even husky; eating a regular kid’s meal of a cheeseburger, small fries and a soda one or twice a week is not gonna make him a tubbo.

    Start feeding that stuff daily, or not giving them better choices at home, and sure a child is going to be obese.

    My problem with this study is that it lays the blame on those ‘mean’ fast food restaurants and not the parents themselves. Any parent who cares remotely about a child’s health is gonna watch thse things; even without calorie intakes mentioned next to the prices. It’s the people who say ‘yes’ to their 5 year old getting a quarter pounder with cheese that are issue. It’s the people who are ‘too busy’, or self-absorbed that can not make these choices for their children.

  78. mrgenius says:

    I say we should get rid of the drinking age and enforce 18+ ID at fast food restaurants…

    Hopefully this would abate the rash of fat, drunk sorority girls puking in the middle of the street in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of my city of Washington every weekend night.

  79. unpolloloco says:

    Since people always split up their caloric intake equally between three meals every day, and always eat exactly their needed caloric intake every day…..

  80. ChootinDaChit says:

    As someone who’s struggled with weight control my whole life, I can in hindsight see that a lot of the problem stemmed from my upbringing and the “clean your plate” mentality that was instilled in me. It’s gratifying to me to watch my young daughter stop eating when she’s full, no matter what food she’s given. Unlike many (most?) parents, including my own, I don’t make her keep eating when she wants to stop. Not that I’d do it, but I could get her a 4,000 calorie banana split, and she’d still only eat a tiny part of it. In other words, as long as you’re giving kids meals that have balanced nutrition, just trust in them to eat the calories they need and leave what they don’t. Don’t make food a reward. Don’t make them finish everything on their plates, and don’t force them to eat their main meal just to get some dessert. Overeating is a learned behavior, so don’t teach it!

  81. HPCommando says:

    @csdiego: Of course. But its simpler to see the full extent of CSPI’s inanity.

    Simply Google “CSPI Food”. Try “Italian” or “Chinese” to start; when looking at the CSPI cover-up of their highly erroneous studies, note the backdating that they do compared to the dates reported by those covering the CSPI errors.

    Better yet, use Google to find the “burger baptism” story from an employee.

    Find a crazy person to fund other crazy people to promote a crazy idea, its still a crazy idea. The problem is how many people get hurt following the crazies.

    One can get more intellectual stimulation from debating the merits of WATCHTOWER Magazine with Jehovah’s Witnesses than believing in CSPI propaganda.

    @Tmoney02: “Few kids”. On the other hand, this one looks to be gesturing for Mom and Pop to use the ramrod to pack in and make room for the half a cow for the after dinner snack. Or perhaps his bones are hollow.

  82. sonneillon says:

    If you stop giving your children pop and force them to drink better stuff they’ll probably drop some of that extra weight. Even on a McDonalds diet you can eat a Big Mac for 3 meals a day as long as you accompany it with water. When I stopped drinking pop all together I dropped 20 pounds in 3 months.

    Big mac calories 540

    Large coke calories 340

  83. karmaghost says:

    Which Restaurants Are Making Your Kids Fat?
    The one’s you take your kids to.

  84. Meathamper says:

    So that means that it’s still morally acceptable to eat Kraft Dinners’ Macaroni and Cheese.

  85. narq says:

    Technically, unless you go to a restaurant that only serves fruits and vegetables… it makes your kid fat. Every restaurant pumps their food full of salt, sugar, and fats that are not necessary. It’s amazing how much food and how bad of food it takes to make a kid fat. What’s even more amazing is that people can afford to feed their kids enough to make them fat.

  86. Carbonic says:

    fast food tastes good cause its fatty unhealty and fast..duh lol….so hey if your kids are getting fat off of slated lard rings, then dont take em there…..change the channel if you dont like what ur hearing instead of complaining. I love whiners! they whine and whine with fries hangin out of their mouth……all i know is their social security, whats left of it will be mine! bwahahaha

  87. varro says:

    @armour: It’s also parents’ fault by insisting that children do organized activities (which means they stand around most of the time) instead of just playing running-oriented playground games and pickup sports.

  88. varro says:

    I might be showing my lack of age (I’m only 38), but there were tons of fast food places around when I was a child and teen.

    Guess what? When I was training for football and gobbling food like Rush Limbaugh gobbles pills, I didn’t gain weight.

    When I ran around with my friends playing endless games of tag and the like, I didn’t gain weight.

    When I got hurt, I gained weight because of lack of exercise.

    Oh, and the video game system (Atari 2600) was only for when the weather was too cold to play outside.

  89. varro says:

    @mrgenius: You really think they could shut down the Jumbo Slice joints? Heresy!

    (I couldn’t eat one of those things after a night of debauchery – I had to split it!)

  90. HPCommando says:

    @michaelleung: Replace the water with chicken broth, and make in the microwave. Add fresh ground black pepper to taste. Otherwise make it the same as always.

    Alternately, use beef broth, otherwise make it the same way as always, then mix in no-bean chili for a killer chili mac. You can use regular chili, but…

    If interested, try using garlic powder instead of salt, or no salt at all, watch your blood pressure and cholesterol count drop.

    Likewise, if your blood sugar is high, add a teaspoon of horseradish per day; if it works, you’ll see results in ten days.

  91. tande04 says:

    I love it when conflicting reports come out just days after each other.

    I was just reading the other day that the nugget kids meal at McDs was one of the best fast food options not just for kids but adults to (the same one slammed KFC while this one looks like its saying its ok). At 300 some calories I’d think the nugget meal would be ok. Maybe thats what the 6% is though.

  92. joemono says:

    Which restaurants are making our kids fat? Trick question, right? The answer is: not a single one. Not a single restaurant is making our kids fat.

    The minute I hear a story about McDonald’s kidnapping and force feeding children is the minute I’ll believe a headline like the one for this post.

    Consumerist really needs to stop promoting the idea that restaurants are to blame for our eating habits.

  93. mrearly2 says:

    You really can’t blame the restaurants, for your ill health. Gone are the days of good, wholesome foods, served by a waitress with a friendly smile.
    Parents should not subject their children to “eating out”, especially fast food crap, except when nothing else is available.
    And those who voluntarily eat highly-sweetened and fatty (vegetable oils) foodstuffs at restaurants and fast-food joints have only themselves to blame for their pudgy, stodgy, slow bodies.
    People are mistreating their children, when they refuse to feed them correctly (or are ignorant about nutrition) and they allow them to sit on their butts most of the day.

  94. enderx says:

    Yah, title should read ‘Stupid parents make stupid kids stupid fat!’