Kids meals set to get healthier

FRESNO, Calif.

The National Restaurant Association wants families to look well beyond burgers and fries. You'll soon notice more meals offering apple and carrot slices, lean meats and non-fat milk.

Unfortunately convenience often trumps nutrition during mealtime. But restaurants from Burger King to Sizzler are ready to announce new, healthier meals for kids - 600 calories or less.

The salad bar at the Sizzler in Northwest Fresno was full of diners loading up on fruits and vegetables.

Registered dietitian Kim Costa said the new initiative is important because fast food and restaurant meals can be full of sodium. "We're far exceeding our needs and our healthy limits. Sodium causes fluid retention. It can stress the heart."

Costa showed us the government's food plate model which has replaced the pyramid. She said, "We want to have one fourth of the plate be lean meats and protein."

Another fourth for pasta and bread and then half a plate full of fruits and veggies.

Lorraine Salazar of the California Restaurant Association said many kids opt for burgers and chicken but could use a nutritional boost. Salazar explained, "But what are some side options to make choices they also like, like carrots and celery with the ranch dip or maybe have apple slices maybe with some peanut or almond butter."

Parents welcomed the healthier menu choices but it may be tough to get the kids to buy in.

We asked Karla Carsey of Selma, "Do you think kids will go for the carrot sticks instead of the fries? She replied, "I think that's going to be kind of hard. I kind of think they'll go more for the fries."

Karla's husband Rod added, "It's going to take a while for kids to catch on. I think it'll take a lot more for their parents to be pushing it to their children."

Burger King already touts fresh apple fries on its menu. Registered dietitian Kim Costa said kids who are obese growing up have a much higher chance of being obese adults.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.