Is One of the Most Nutritious Kid's Meals Coming to Your Neighborhood?

1SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/2/2012 10:00 AM   :  44 comments   :  11,202 Views

Many things have changed since the First Lady first launched the Let's Move campaign to help raise healthier generations of kids. Next year school lunches will see a makeover to ensure students are receiving nutrient rich lunches. Many restaurants have also made positive menu changes in an attempt to help families make healthier choices when eating away from home.
 
Eating away from home can fit into a healthy lifestyle as long as the visits are in moderation. When eating away from home, it helps that there are more health conscious options especially for kids. Last year 19 restaurant brands with over 15,000 total restaurant locations collaborated to introduce the Kids Live Well program that focused specifically on kid's meals. Last month a leading fast food restaurant unveiled a kid's meal they believe could be one of the most nutritious in the nation.

Instead of simply offering healthier side items, Chick-Fil-A has taken the healthier kid's meal battle one step further by updating the entrée as well. For the first time, parents can select Grilled Chicken Nuggets for their children's meal. Instead of fries, Chick-Fil-A has had the option of a fresh fruit cup since 2004. Now children will also have the option of selecting a "to-go" applesauce called Buddy Fruits Pure Blended Fruit To Go. Add to this the update to the beverage options of either one percent white milk or 100 percent apple juice and you have a total kid's meal makeover.
 
So how does the new meal stack up nutritionally? The new healthier kid's meal is 54 percent lower in calories and 84 percent lower in fat. The chicken is 100 percent whole breast meat instead of a breaded, pre-formed nugget. It would be nice if these meals could be even lower in sodium with a target being below 500 mg for the complete meal. Here is how the nutrition stacks up.
 
Grilled Nuggets (4-count), Fruit and 1% milk
Calories – 220 (230 with Buddy Fruits applesauce)
Fat – 3 grams
Sodium – 655 mg
Carbohydrate – 24 grams (26 grams with Buddy Fruits applesauce)
Fiber – 1 gram
Protein – 24 grams
 
Grilled Nuggets (6-count), Fruit and 1% Milk
Calories – 250 (260 with Buddy Fruits applesauce)
Fat – 4 grams
Sodium – 935 mg (945 mg with Buddy Fruits applesauce)
Carbohydrate – 24 grams (26 grams with Buddy Fruits applesauce)
Fiber – 4 grams (1 gram with Buddy Fruits applesauce)
Protein – 32 grams
 
These are both greatly improved from the traditional kids meal of Fried Chicken Strips (2 count), Waffle Fries, Low Fat Chocolate Milk (700 calories/ 29 grams fat/1,150 mg sodium). So are the new Chick-Fil-A kid's meals really the healthiest? Pretty darn close! Some of the traditional competitors like Mc Donald's Happy Meal with Chicken Nuggets Apple Dippers and 1% Milk (330 calories/14 grams fat/ 490 mg sodium) or the Wendy's Hamburger Kid's Meal with Apple Slices and 1% Low Fat Milk (380 calories/ 12 grams fat/ 740 mg sodium) are about 100 calories more. This is mostly due to the higher fat content even though they have added healthier sides and eliminated the fries to their overall meal.

Of course, when it comes to feeding children healthy, nutrient rich food, fast casual dining options don't usually measure up to what you can create at home. However, we all get caught away from home at meal times occasionally. For those times, it is good to know where to find healthier options. When it comes to feeding children healthier options on the run, Chick-Fil-A has just changed the game with their new healthier meal options.
 
What do you think of the options to the Chick-Fil-A kid's meal? Although still a little high in sodium, do you think this provides a healthier option on the run? If not, why not?


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Comments

  • 44
    Sometimes, I really hate reading some of the comments to these articles. Get off your high horse. People eat out. Whether it's planned or unplanned, it's going to happen. In fact, sometimes its quite refreshing. Thank you Chik-Fil-A for offering a better alternative to some of the other items on the menu.

    And to whoever said their prices were high, it's because they offer whole meat- not ground up by-products that are formed into unnatural shapes like all of the other places with dollar menus. You get what you pay for. - 11/4/2013   9:54:33 AM
  • AHICKEY1
    43
    I've always enjoyed Chik-fil-A. We first found it when we lived in AL. They had a play place, diet lemonade (still delic) and they are closed on Sundays for family!
    Good for them for continuing a good choice for kids! - 5/12/2012   9:53:36 PM
  • KATHYLYN58
    42
    four piece nuggets average 55 calories each...6 piece nuggets average 41 calories each...I do not understand the difference... - 2/6/2012   4:58:15 PM
  • 41
    I think it would be better if we forgo chick-fil-A altogether and gave our children home cooked meals made from whole foods. This may be a better fast food, but it is still a fast food! - 2/6/2012   1:37:30 PM
  • 40
    I really wish Chick-fil-a would lighten up the cole slaw and offer that as an option with the kid's meal. - 2/6/2012   11:47:06 AM
  • BAMAJAM
    39
    Chick Fil A does a great business because their food tastes so good! Grilled nuggets is a super addition to the menu of offerings.-- However, the prices at this food chain are too expensive! You get small servings at big prices.... C'mon, Chick Fil A, please offer a better deal. (a "value menu" would help families) !! - 2/6/2012   11:10:33 AM
  • 38
    TKDIVA -- I respectfully disagree. This article simply states the facts regarding Chik-Fil-a's kids' meal option. The numbers don't lie -- this is an improvement on the standard Happy Meal fare. Your opinions of Chik-Fil-a's political views are irrelevant to whether they offer a nutritious meal option, and the truth is that most of us are here because of nutrition concerns, not social or political ones.
    - 2/6/2012   12:17:41 AM
  • FATGRANNA
    37
    I am happy to see this addition and hope it will come to our area soon. Please be kinder to the many parents out there that have a boat load of guilt about everything under the sun and remember that they are mostly just trying to make it in the daily grind. Everything in moderation is as good as it gets for most parents. I am a grandmother and a former child care professional and have seen first hand the negative effect "shoulds and should nots" have on these poor parents and ultimately, their offspring. Be kind, folks...better a drive thru meal than a stressed out parent who ultimately abuses that child because they are too hungry to wait for a healthier meal. BELIEVE ME ...IT HAPPENS! - 2/5/2012   6:50:52 AM
  • 36
    I'm boycotting Chick-fil-A because of their anti-gay policies.

    SP should research this type of thing before endorsing a product. - 2/4/2012   2:46:49 PM
  • 35
    I'm a Chic-fil-a fan to begin with, and I'm pleased they've added the grilled chicken option. My hubby and I have decided that's the only "fast food" we'll let our daughter have when she's old enough - the whole "pink slime" thing with McDonald's just freaked us out about all fast food! - 2/4/2012   1:59:07 PM
  • 34
    Good for Chick-Fil-A !!! They may just get the rest of the restaurants going for the kids sake... - 2/4/2012   1:49:43 PM
  • STREO2004
    33
    Grilled is better than breaded & fried, though I don't like fast foods for children - 2/4/2012   12:04:41 PM
  • 32
    My "kids" are adults with children of their own. My oldest granddaughter is 14 and even though she is a Freshman in High School, she still concentrates on fruit for something sweet.

    However, the other half of my son's has a daughter, almost two, and a son, almost four.
    My oldest son and DIL are very focused on what they eat and drink. I's say they drink a cup of milk a day and the other 95% is water.

    My four year old grandson has never had a soda, diet or otherwise, in his life. He is also now old enough to understand a chemical experiment done in high school where you put 3 ounces of hamburger in a bowl and pour Coca-Cola over it. When you tell someone the hamburger represents their stomach and they see what happens, the idea of drinking soda pretty much slides out of the window.

    We don't do fast food very often, but I will start looking for a Chik-Fil-A to cover the times when time is at a premium - mostly when traveling. - 2/3/2012   6:13:02 PM
  • 31
    Well I have to say that I'm happy to hear about grilled chicken. I am seriously weird about what my daughter eats. We have tons of health issues in the family so we both are set up for some major problems. Therefore, she eats like a guru. She has never even looked at a chicken nugget(she's 2and a half) let alone eaten one. I know that this won't always be the case because of friends and school exposing her to new things but I have tried to instill in her great eating habits (while working on curbing my bad ones). She eats very little meat at all. And there have been times when we've been stuck at a drive thru (yeah bananas, fruit cups, and apple slices only). So its nice to know that as she gets older there is a health'ier' option than chicken nuggets. I seriously have issues with the nugget and anyone that even thought about giving her one. She eats mostly vegetarian with some very lean chicken and turkey. She loves veggies. She eats hummus! Lol and she thinks a cracker is a cookie lol. (People get mad at me when they find out I didn't let her have a birthday party for 1 and 2 because I wouldn't let her have cake... I don't see the point in starting the sugar craze at 2 years old. She doesn't know what she's missing yet so why start. Once you start then its a battle, so I keep it fresh and healthy as long as possible. Yeah I know I'm a little crazy but like I said we are genetically screwed lol so I try to make the factors I can change in both our diets matter the most. - 2/3/2012   2:48:50 PM
  • 30
    Well I have to say that I'm happy to hear about grilled chicken. I am seriously weird about what my daughter eats. We have tons of health issues in the family so we both are set up for some major problems. Therefore, she eats like a guru. She has never even looked at a chicken nugget(she's 2and a half) let alone eaten one. I know that this won't always be the case because of friends and school exposing her to new things but I have tried to instill in her great eating habits (while working on curbing my bad ones). She eats very little meat at all. And there have been times when we've been stuck at a drive thru (yeah bananas, fruit cups, and apple slices only). So its nice to know that as she gets older there is a health'ier' option than chicken nuggets. I seriously have issues with the nugget and anyone that even thought about giving her one. She eats mostly vegetarian with some very lean chicken and turkey. She loves veggies. She eats hummus! Lol and she thinks a cracker is a cookie lol. (People get mad at me when they find out I didn't let her have a birthday party for 1 and 2 because I wouldn't let her have cake... I don't see the point in starting the sugar craze at 2 years old. She doesn't know what she's missing yet so why start. Once you start then its a battle, so I keep it fresh and healthy as long as possible. Yeah I know I'm a little crazy but like I said we are genetically screwed lol so I try to make the factors I can change in both our diets matter the most. - 2/3/2012   2:48:50 PM
  • 29
    I agree with many people that fast food is not the best option - but grilled chicken (as opposed to breaded and deep fried) is certainly an improvement!
    - 2/3/2012   2:01:13 PM
  • 28
    It is an improvement on one level, but everything else this franchise does is pretty alarming -- the quality of the chickens they use is horrifying! Eat local, eat at home, pack a lunch. - 2/3/2012   10:28:46 AM
  • 27
    Chick-Fil-A is top of the list for fast food dining in our household even though it is a little more expensive than McDonald's. The grilled nuggets are available in adult meals as well as kids meals in our area and while they are not packaged as gluten-free, my youngest has fewer gluten problems with them than the breaded ones. I love that I can substitute a side salad for the fries too. - 2/3/2012   9:33:51 AM
  • SKAGGSS1
    26
    I think Chick-fil-A has a wonderful kids meal to offer! The things that you read about what they have in the pre-formed chicken nuggets just makes me sick! I hate to think of what my children, grandchildren and I have consumed at times! - 2/3/2012   9:29:34 AM
  • 25
    Sodium could be lower but great improvement. 3 cheers for chick-fil-la. - 2/3/2012   9:02:46 AM
  • 24
    Improvement, I guess. this changes are all self-serving, trying to fool the public into thinking they are doing something wonderful but actually they are just better the worst choices around. The problem we have with children's nutrition is that unfortunately most parents still don't get it. Juice, fruit in a plastic cup, etc. are still bad choices. So, we don't teach the parents good nutrition and so the children don't learn either. How about no juice choices, just low-fat milk and water and fresh fruit, yes, fresh fruit, but, of course, not apples which are the number one food on the list of foods with the most pesticide that cannot be washed or peeled off. Just my 2 cents. Dr. Da Costa - 2/3/2012   8:35:15 AM
  • 23
    Everyone in my family can eat healthy there. Grammy gets the Southwest Salad and grandkids get the grilled chicken. Win-win! So glad that Chick-fil-A came to our town last year! - 2/3/2012   7:50:51 AM
  • 22
    It's a start. Now let's get them to buy non-CAFO chicken and back off from persecuting Bo. Eat More Kale. :-) - 2/3/2012   7:12:28 AM
  • 123ELAINE456
    21
    It is something that children and adults can look forward to that is much butter for them health wise etc. I welcome these new changes in restaurants and schools. Hope this trend will continue in the coming years. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week. - 2/3/2012   12:40:35 AM
  • SEPTLEFTY
    20
    Its something fun for the children to enjoy and be healthy you can always pack your childrens lunch - 2/2/2012   11:39:06 PM
  • SEPTLEFTY
    19
    Its something fun for the children to enjoy and be healthy you can always pack your childrens lunch - 2/2/2012   11:39:06 PM
  • SEPTLEFTY
    18
    Its something fun for the children to enjoy and be healthy you can always pack your childrens lunch - 2/2/2012   11:39:06 PM
  • 17
    I never eat at Chik-Fila. Raising five children, I packed food to take with me so I didn't spend a lot of money eating out. If we did eat out, they wanted pizza & we'd go to Pizza Hut where they had a salad bar with the lunch. - 2/2/2012   10:17:55 PM
  • GARBLEDEEGOOK
    16
    Great improvement except from the sodium content. Either way, I avoid fast food "restaurants" and never take the kids there; what on earth possesses people to take their kids to fast food joints like McDonald for a kid meal is just beyond me... and then we complain about obesity in kids and lack of good eating habits. Hello!? I pack all our lunches and when in a pinch or forget them on the counter, I find that it's just as quick and certainly healthier to stop at a supermarket and get yogurt and a bag of carrots, for example; they are everywhere, no excuses. Also, to think of fast food as a "treat" is certainly deceiving; it's not a treat, it's bad food that should be avoided or eaten in extreme moderation. - 2/2/2012   8:55:28 PM
  • GRAHANGE
    15
    This is great! A lot of my students eat at fast food all the time, so I'm glad places are starting to offer better choices. Now if only fast food places would offer some vegetarian options too... (other than just a salad... boring!) - 2/2/2012   8:34:00 PM
  • 14
    Having more healthy options at fast food restaurants is a positive sign AND movement in the right direction. - 2/2/2012   8:06:28 PM
  • 13
    Never knew that Chick-Fil-A had anything but grilled chicken. It is so tasty that I never thought of ordering anything else. Add a fruit cup and some iced tea and I am a happy drive thurer! - 2/2/2012   4:16:08 PM
  • 12
    My family loves Chik-Fil-A so this is really good for us. My son always gets teh fruit cup anyway but the grilled nuggest are an awesome addition. Can't wait to see them at ours. - 2/2/2012   1:45:40 PM
  • 11
    Double-check BEFORE you feed your kids CHICKEN NUGGETS from McD's. Did you see the WAY THEY'RE MADE?? Pieces of chicken parts including bones squeezed into a pink froth and then colored? May as well eat a grenade. www.snopes.com/food/prepare/msm.asp
    - 2/2/2012   1:36:24 PM
  • KRIS10K2
    10
    Way better option! I hope all the fast food restaurants follow their lead......the 100% apple juice and low fat milk is great too...My son does not drink juice that has added sugars, the all natural sugars we get from our fruits is just enough! I just wish there were a Chick-Fil-A near me - 2/2/2012   1:24:21 PM
  • 9
    Much better. I agree with KCDebi - I'd eat it! especially with a salad! - 2/2/2012   12:38:33 PM
  • 8
    I don't understand why they are only offering fruit to go with the meal instead of veg. Most kids don't care for salad but I am sure they would go for snap peas, celery or baby carrots. Sugar is sugar - a big glass of OJ has around the same amount of sugar as a can of pop. They don't tell you the sugar content of this meal. I would also be curious to see the nutrient content for apple juice instead of milk. - 2/2/2012   12:19:01 PM
  • LITHIASTAR
    7
    They started offering this at our local Chick a couple of weeks ago. I ordered the six count meal with a fruit cup and diet lemonade to drink. The nuggets were tasty! I was afraid they would be dry but they were still moist and did not require dipping sauce. I had to laugh a bit as we walked out of the restaurant (we ordered to go) carrying a kids meal bag and my husband asking me which watch/toy I hoped to get. - 2/2/2012   10:51:25 AM
  • SAMPSONAM
    6
    Also happy about this because the grilled nuggets are gluten free! - 2/2/2012   10:51:07 AM
  • 5
    I have a good friend who tried these (an adult) and he said they were really great! You can order the "adult size" of 8 nuggets, as well at his local Chik-fil-a. I have always liked their grilled chicken sandwich deluxe, so the nuggets would be a great finger-food alternative to a sandwich...and without the bun, you save a good number of carbs, so you could still have a small waffle fry and still be alright with it! I would also, more than likely, consider the salad and just add the grilled nuggets to the top...since I don't care for salad dressing beyond lemon juice, it is a VERY healthful alternative to most fast food! - 2/2/2012   10:45:25 AM
  • 4
    Kid's Meal? Add a salad with light dressing and it's a grown-up meal too! :) - 2/2/2012   10:40:05 AM
  • 3
    Terrific improvement. The grilled chicken kid's meal will be a great option for ME too if I get caught out and about. - 2/2/2012   10:38:50 AM
  • 2
    Healthier. Three cheers for the First Lady.
    Our children and children's children thank you. - 2/2/2012   10:31:13 AM

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