April 8, 2013

Forget the boneless chicken, look at these kids meals!

Fried chicken in a bucket isn't portable or convenient enough? KFC thinks not.

From the LA Times:

"Trying to tear meat off a chicken skeleton is an annoyance for many Americans, especially younger ones. So KFC, in what it’s calling a “game changer” of a move, is ditching the bones.
The Kentucky-based chicken chain is rolling out its Original Recipe Boneless options on April 14 as it attempts to draw back patrons seeking more portable, convenient foods." 
Also, can anyone tell me what exactly 'nugget-esque' is?
"The company has rolled out items such as its nugget-esque Bites, Dip’ems and the Li’l Bucket Kids Meals."

Michele Simon of Eat Drink Politics hit the nail on the head with this Tweet:
In reading the LA Times article, the 'Li'l Bucket Kids Meal' caught my eye, so I did some digging. This is what we should be paying attention to, not the boneless chicken gimick.

http://www.kfc.com/food/lilbucket/
First, the slogan: 'food. fun. laughter!'.... I have no comment.

In the picture, it looks okay as far as fast food kids meals go. It has the grilled chicken*, and the green beans are a nice addition. But I'd rather do without the Capri Sun. And I'm really not a big of a fan of the squeeze pack apple sauce -- is it too much to ask that kids eat with a utensil? Or, better yet, why not a REAL apple?

However, if you scroll down a bit on the page, you can see some of the other options for this kids meal.

http://www.kfc.com/food/lilbucket/

Positives: what look like small portion sizes; milk; green beans; and a half-positive for the apple sauce

Negatives: sugary-additive filled capri-sun, fried foods, mac n' cheese and mashed potatoes with gravy

I did some digging into the nutrition facts about this 'bucket' and analyzed two of the alternative combinations: the one with the highest calories, and one with the "best" choices nutritionally.

Option One
Option  Two
Chicken Little
570 calories
1450 mg sodium
26 g sugar
Grilled drumstick
285 calories
705 mg sodium
26 g sugar
Mac n’ Cheese
Green beans
Capri Sun
1% milk
Apple Sauce
Apple sauce

What is really alarming about Option One up there is the sodium. 1450mg of sodium for a child is WAY too high. Who am I kidding: Its too high for an adult!

The calories on Option Two are great**, and the sodium is lower***. The sugars work out to be the same in both, due to the naturally occuring sugar in milk. But make no mistake, the nutrients from milk far outweigh the complete lack of them in Capri Sun.

Now, my question is: how many children actually order the 'bucket' with the grilled chicken, green beans, and milk? Probably not many.

There doesn't appear to be a default choice, meaning what you would get if you didn't specify any choices. Would be great if the default was the relatively healthier option.

What do you think? Are these kids meals a step in the right direction, or still not good enough?

*Still quite high in sodium, though, so not a complete green light
** Remember this is for a kid who has lower calorie needs than you or I -- children ages 4-8 need about 1200 calories for the whole day, more if they are active
***Although still higher than I would like for a young kid

1 comment:

Marte said...

If a child WOULD order the healthier option? No. But if a child gets the option of eating Cake, soda and all the fatty stuff you could get your hands on the kids would choose therefor as well.
KFC has given healthier options, from here on the parents choose where to put the limits of their own children. The kids doesn't order on their own.