5 Healthiest Restaurant Kids’ Meals

by in Dining Out, April 3, 2012
kids menu
Think beyond grilled cheese when dining out with your kids.

Trying to feed your kids healthy options when dining out can be stressful. Most restaurants offer the usual chicken fingers, mac and cheese, hamburger with fries or grilled cheese, but the calories, fat and sodium on these items is through the roof. Here are the healthiest options we found at popular restaurants.

Chili’s
The grilled chicken is the way to go at Chili’s. You can order the Grilled Chicken Platter, which has 160 calories, 3.5 grams of fat and 170 milligrams of sodium or the Grilled Chicken Sandwich with 230 calories, 5 grams of fat and 230 milligrams of sodium. Add a side of celery sticks with ranch dressing for an additional 80 calories, steamed broccoli for 30 calories or mandarin oranges or pineapple for 35 calories.

Macaroni Grill
Grilled Chicken and Pasta is the healthiest kid’s option at this Italian eatery. This dish has 350 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 5 grams of fiber. The sodium, however, is high with 840 milligrams so it should be a once-in-a-while treat.

Red Lobster
Some of the healthier options include Broiled Fish with 200 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and 350 milligrams of sodium or the Garlic Grilled Fish with 60 calories, 1 gram of fat and 580 milligrams of sodium. Good accompaniments are the fresh broccoli with 45 calories, garden salad with 90 calories or fruit with 40 calories.

Friendly’s
The healthiest fare here is the Chicken with Broccoli with 260 calories, 5 grams of fat and 540 milligrams of sodium. Ice cream is the main attraction at this joint; be sure to limit dessert to 1 scoop with 1 topping or have the kids share a larger treat.

Panera Bread
Although the deli sandwiches may be tempting, they have over 1,000 milligrams of sodium each. Instead, opt for the PB&J sandwich with 410 calories, 18 grams of fat (mostly unsaturated) and 550 milligrams of sodium.

TELL US: How do you keep your kids healthy when dining out?

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Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

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Comments (479)

  1. [...] Macarons 5 Healthiest Restaurant Kids’ Meals Food Network Tue, April 3, 2012 2:00 PM UTC Food Network Rate this Loading … Share (function(){var [...]

  2. [...] the original here: 5 Healthiest Restaurant Kids’ Meals This entry was posted in Food Network and tagged broccoli, calorie, cheese, chicken, dinners, [...]

  3. Guest says:

    The PB&J is okay, but no way I'd feed my kid chicken and especially fish. Fish are loaded with toxins and not at all healthy, especially for growing bodies. Of course we don't eat at restaurants like those listed anyway.

  4. Lisa says:

    I agree with the above comment. I do not allow my kids to eat meat when dining out because of the fear of mass-produced meat. If we want meat, we eat it at home and buy it from a reputable farmer.

    • foodie4life says:

      well you're dumb enough to spell 'your' wrong. please don't have any kids yourself. although, i also agree, dining out with children is for the birds.

    • Michelle says:

      Try teaching your kids not to be little brats. Mine have been raised to behave in public and know how to act in a restaurant. Also by letting them have better dining experiences than fast food drive throughs, I have two wonderful children who not only behave in public but have been raised to try new things. My 10 year old daughter begs to go out for Sushi and my 8 year old son loves calamari.

  5. Guest says:

    That's why there are "family" restaurants – so people can go out with their families. We started taking our children out when they were young so they could be taught how to use table manners and how to act in a restaurant. Now as young adults they have better manners than their friends – I guess their parents didn't want to deal with being a parent and teaching them proper etiquette.

  6. Jen says:

    I agree with Sarah – it's super annoying to be out trying to have a nice meal, only to have children making noise or crying/screaming or wearing stinky diapers. What makes it especially awful is that my guy and I don't usually have money to go out to eat, so when we do we don't want it ruined by high pitched racket.

  7. Roman says:

    Are you kidding me? Since when is chicken a health food. It's loaded with saturated fat and just as much cholesterol as beef. Most restaurants use factory farm chicken fed arsenic, gmo corn and soy, and given antibiotics. When chicken is directly heated the protein even organic chicken has been linked to cancer, organ damage, heart disease, and diabetes. The cancer link is pretty strong and has been well documented. The food network should be ashamed for coming up with the list.

  8. Guest says:

    When we go out to eat, it is a treat. Eat whatever you want!!!

  9. Jeff Gaertner says:

    so, how much did those restaurants pay the web site to post this food…….
    it is all junk…..

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