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News Flash: Most Kids Meals at Restaurants Are Incredibly Unhealthy

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Photo by tatanobita on Flickr
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The Center for Science in the Public Interest released some not-so-happy news about happy meals today. Their research found that fried chicken fingers, burgers, French fries and sugary drinks continue to dominate the kids' meal landscape, regardless of all of the noise being made about childhood obesity and diabetes rates.

According to their findings, 97 percent of the nearly 3,500 meal possibilities not meeting CSPI's nutrition criteria for four- to eight-year-olds.

Their standards are far from stringent, too. Here are their measures:

Kids' meals must not exceed 430 calories, more than 35 percent of calories from fat, or more than 10 percent of calories from saturated plus trans fat. Meals that meet CSPI's criteria cannot have more than 35 percent added sugars by weight nor more than 770 milligrams of sodium. The criteria require meals to make a positive nutritional contribution either by providing at least half a serving of fruit or vegetable, including an item that is 51 percent or more whole grain, or including specified levels of vitamins or fiber.
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Of all the fast food options out there, the folks over at Subway are the only ones who managed to meet the stipulations. (Nope, Mc Donald's mandatory apple slice initiative didn't help them make the cut. Nor did Jack's toy-for-apple swap.)

Subway has really stepped it up, according to the CSPI. They don't offer sugary milk or sodas with their meals, instead offering milk or bottled water along with apple slices with all of its kid-sized subs. All eight of their kids meals fit the bill for a healthy, well-rounded option for children's dietary needs.

Which is great, because kids certainly are finding a way to purchase that sort of junk as contraband at school. Last thing they need is more of it after hours.