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Study: Consumers Unaware Of Healthy Kids’ Meals Options

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Subway offers sliced apples as a side dish in its kids' meals. (CBS)

Subway offers sliced apples as a side dish in its kids’ meals. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s possible for your kids to eat healthy at the big fast food restaurants, but researchers say it’s not likely to happen. 

A new Yale University study shows out of more than 3,000 possible kids meal combinations, only 12 met nutritional standards for preschoolers.

One healthier option is Subway’s roast beef sandwich with apple slices and juice. But you have to know about the healthier meals to get them.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports that it’s easy for fries and a Coke to wind up on your kid’s tray.

It’s not like kids don’t know what’s best to eat. Even if they make it to a fast-food restaurant for a child’s meal of burgers and fries, they also know about newer healthier choices restaurants are making available.

“You can get apples with it, or some milk or juice instead of soda,” third-grader Grace Cutler says.     

But researchers at Yale discovered the healthy options are often not presented to customers when ordering. That was borne out when CBS 2 visited four separate fast-food restaurants on Monday — even when Gerasole asked specifically about the options.

The response from burger giant McDonald’s was typical of the industry. The company said it is committed to offering customers a wide variety of quality food, including fruit, juice and dairy options in its Happy Meals.

The calories in kids’ meals were found to range from 300 to 1000. It’s not just younger kids who may not realize how fattening their meals may be. Teens were purchasing 800 to 1,100 calories — half the recommended daily intake for their age.

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