As a mom, I am very concerned about the nutritional value of kids' meals. I have been interested in this for a long time, even before Enzo was old enough to be aware of ads on television. Mostly, I find that kids' menus are lacking in the nutrition department and are RIDICULOUS in their portion sizes. Just as an example, I have been to restaurants where the “kid’s” plate is BIGGER than my own. It’s absurd.
To date I have been successful of steering clear of fast food restaurants with Enzo, who is now three. But the older he gets, the more difficult that will get. Why? Because he watches TV and food ads are everywhere. He says “Look mama, pizza!” He gets excited about it, but he is too little to say “Take me there.” I’m bracing for when that time comes!
Photo credit: CSPI
One of the most recent ads I see constantly on TV are the ads for Chuck E. Cheese’s. Chuck E Cheese's ads appeal to Enzo. The games are what draw him in.
Unfortunately, Chuck E. Cheese’s is not a place I would take Enzo to. Why? Because I have been there, and I remember thinking that the food was not great...that was before becoming a mom. Now that I'm a mom, I'm even more aware of the kind of food I feed my son.
I recently discovered that I was right about the nutritional value of Chuck E. Cheese's menus. It turns out, it was worse than I thought.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest:
Photo credit: The Center for Science in the Public Interest
If that isn’t shocking enough, check out these stats:
- All of the sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and chicken wings—and most of the pizza—on the menu fail to meet USDA, industry, and expert nutrition standards for saturated fat and sodium.
- Chuck E. Cheese’s ham and cheese sandwich served with fries has more than double the amount of sodium a child should consume in one day!! (are you gasping for air yet?)
- We all know that sugary drinks are the top source of calories in children’s diets and sugary drinks are directly linked to obesity… yet Chuck E. Cheese heavily promotes soda and other sugary drinks on their menus… (I don’t even want to think about the portions of those drinks!)
So my question is why is this even legal? Shouldn’t there be some kind of regulation? I’m not holding my breath on that since Congress can’t seem to decide on anything nowadays, but there IS something you and I can do to change this!
I’m delighted to be partnering with the Center for Science in Public Interest to spread the word on the campaign to tell Chuck E. Cheese’s it’s time to get serious about kids’ nutrition.
This is especially exciting for me because there is a Chuck E. Cheese’s in my area. So, I’m thrilled to be spreading the word! Until Chuck E. Cheese’s improves its’ kids’ meals, I’m asking parents to take kids elsewhere. There are other places where nutrition is valued. Take your business and your kids to those places!
I’ve made it easy for you; all you have to do is copy and paste the following tweets starting today, May 15th
. I will be sure to retweet and share when I can!
Model Facebook Posts
- Chuck E. Cheese’s claims it provides a wholesome environment for kids. But their menu and marketing practices, which promote unhealthy food, are far from wholesome. SHARE if you agree that Chuck E. Cheese’s should add healthier options to its menu and stop marketing junk to kids!
- With kids’ meals that serve up more than 75% of a child’s recommended daily calories and excessive amounts of saturated fat, sugar, and salt, Chuck E. Cheese’s should consider changing its slogan to “Where a Kid Can Put on the Pounds.”
- Chuck E. Cheese’s is a major advertiser to kids on TV, online, on food packages and even at schools, but it doesn’t have a comprehensive marketing to kids’ policy. Please tweet at @chuckecheese and ask them to be more responsible—to market only healthy foods to kids and add some healthier options to its menu.
Kids cannot make healthy choices alone. It is our job to help them.
- .@chuckecheese: If u really want to be a wholesome environment for kids, add healthy menu options & stop marketing junk #gethealthychucke
- With their calorie, fat & salt bomb meals, @chuckecheese should change their slogan to “Where a Kid Can Put on the Pounds” #gethealthychucke
- Come on @chuckecheese, other than the salad bar, there’s not one healthy item on your menu. Do better! #gethealthychucke
- .@chuckecheese: you updated your mascot; now update your menu! #gethealthychucke
One thing we can do is to not take them to place like these, where the food is simply put, JUNK. Another thing we can do is demand that food with little or no nutritional value be removed from menus.
As consumers, we can show our dissatisfaction by doing two things: first, asking them to change their ways and second, by boycotting places like Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Please join me as I help the Center for Science in the Public Interest spread the word and help get Chuck E. Cheese’s on the right track. Right now, their slogan shouldn’t be “Where a Kid can Be a Kid.” It should be “Where a Kid Can Put on the Pounds.”
Please help pressure Chuck E. Cheese’s to offer healthier options on its menu. If we are going to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic, restaurants have to do their part.
It’s time for the Mouse to make changes.
Also, check out this post by CSPI
that explains how Chuck E. Cheese’s markets in countless ways to kids, not only on television but also through school fundraisers and on food packages, among others.