First Lady Michelle Obama Takes on Children’s Menus

by Bettina Elias Siegel on September 14, 2010

Lunch Tray readers already know my feelings about most restaurants’ children’s menus: while they do offer parents convenience and lower prices, the menu items themselves are usually fat-laden and depressingly unimaginative, inadvertently teaching children that “their” food consist of only a handful of unhealthful entrees – mac-n-cheese, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and the rest.

That’s why I was thrilled to hear that when First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the National Restaurant Association in Washington yesterday, she directly took them to task for their children’s menus.  Here’s an excerpt of her speech:

[T]today, no matter what kind of restaurant you visit – whether it’s Italian, French, Mexican, American – most kids’ menus look pretty much the same. And trust me, we’ve seen a lot of them.

One local survey found that 90 percent of those menus includes mac and cheese – our children’s favorite; 80 percent includes chicken fingers; 60 includes burgers or cheeseburgers.

Some options weigh in at over 1,000 calories, and that’s close to the recommended amount that a child should have for the entire day. And I think – and I know you all think – that our kids deserve better than that.

That’s why I want to challenge every restaurant to offer healthy menu options and then provide them up front so that parents don’t have to hunt around and read the small print to find an appropriately sized portion that doesn’t contain levels – high levels of fat, salt and sugar.

These choices have to be easy to make and they have to give parents the confidence to know that they can go into any restaurant in this country and choose a genuinely healthy meal for their kids.

Amen, Ms. Obama!

You can read the rest of her speech (and see the video) here.

[Hat tip:  Eatocracy]

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