Healthy kids meal options at local chain restaurants

Holiday shopping and festivity-hopping season is upon us. When you’re out and about with your family and the inevitable question of where to take the kids for lunch comes up, you want to go someplace quick, kid-friendly and hopefully healthy.

However, when you’re searching for the perfect color Ecuadorian alpaca hat from Christkindlmarket or trying to find parking near Lincoln Park Zoo’s Zoo Lights, the easiest thing to do is to just turn to a chain restaurant (even though you feel guilty about it).

But there are healthy options. All of the following meals at restaurants near popular holiday attractions in Chicago meet the national guidelines accounting for calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium.

Christkindlmarket/State Street

Roti

Chicken kabob pita sandwich with falafel and an apple ($4)

Chicken kabob rice plate with quinoa cauliflower tabbouleh and an apple ($4)

Jason’s Deli

Chicken Nuggetz (with antibiotic-free chicken breast) with organic carrots and organic milk ($4.29)

Organic peanut butter and organic jelly on multigrain wheat with seasonal fruit and water ($3.49)

Water Tower Place

Lyfe Kitchen

Kids’ tomato sauce pasta with baked sweet potato fries and water ($4)

CPK

Multigrain penne with meat sauce and water ($5.69)

Grilled chicken breast with broccoli and apple juice ($5.99)

Lincoln Park Zoo

Subway

Turkey breast mini sub with apple slices and milk ($4.75)

Veggie Delite mini sub with apple slices and water ($4.75)

Chipotle

Tacos with two soft corn tortillas, chicken, fajita vegetables and black beans with a side of fruit and organic milk ($4.75)

Cheese quesadilla on a flour tortilla with guacamole, white rice and pinto beans with a side of fruit and organic apple juice ($3.75)

New City

Nandos PERi PERi

Three chicken wings with PERi TamerSauce, apple slices, and water ($5.25)

Nandino chicken breast fillet sandwich with coleslaw and water ($5.25)

Buffalo Wild Wings

Plain chicken tenders with veggies and water ($5.39)

Plain chicken tenders with fruit and milk ($5.39)

These combinations are based on the National School Lunch Program’s guidelines to reduce salt, sugar, and saturated fat in children’s diets. Check out the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans if you want the nerdy specifics and MyPlate if you want information that’s a little more, um, digestible.

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