Advocating for Healthier Kids’ Meals in Chicago Restaurants


Parents lives are busy — That’s why it’s so IMG_9863important that restaurants offer healthy food and beverage options—especially for children. It’s time to #ServeChicagoKidsBetter!

  • The majority of children’s meals at the most popular restaurants are unhealthy. They are packed with calories, salt, and fat.
  • Children consume almost twice as many calories at restaurants compared to a typical meal at home.1
  • To help parents, restaurants can offer water/milk, more fruit, vegetables, or whole grains and make sure the meals are not too high in calories, especially from excess fat and salt.

Useful Resources

Facts About Eating Out with Children: 

  • Americans spend more of their food budget on foods prepared away from home than on foods at home.2
  • 89% of parents report making a purchase from a fast-food restaurant for their children in the previous week.3
  • In a typical day, 1 in 3 children eat foods/beverages from fast-food restaurants4
  • In 2015, 10% of children obtained 25-40% of daily calories from fast food; 12% of children obtained more than 40% of daily calories from fast food.5


    “Studies link eating out more with obesity, higher amounts of body fat, and higher body mass index. They also show that eating fast food meals often is associated with consuming more calories and saturated fat.” – American Heart Association



1 Powell LM, Nguyen BT. “Fast-Food and Full-Service Restaurant Consumption among Children and Adoles-cents.” Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, published online Nov 5, 2012, E1-E7 
Lin B, Morrison RM. “Food and Nutrient Intake Data: Taking a Look at the Nutritional Quality of Foods Eaten at Home and Away From Home.” Amber Waves 2012, vol. 10(2), pp. 1-2
Schwartz MB. “Have Kids’ Meals Become Healthier? Progress and Public Relations.” Presentation at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Boston, MA (Nov. 5, 2013).
Powell LM, Nguyen BT, Han E. “Energy Intake from Restaurants: Demographics and Socioeconomics, 2003–2008.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine 2012, vol. 43, pp. 498–504.  
Vikraman S, Fryar CD, Ogden CL. “Caloric Intake from Fast Food Among Children and Adolescents in the United States, 2011–2012.” NCHS Data Brief No. 213, September 2015.