Best and Worst Fast Food Kids' Meals

A new report suggests fast food is still unhealthy, adding to concerns about childhood obesity.

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A Happy Meal at McDonald's

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The vast majority, however, were placed in the "worst" category and weren't ranked, since they were all "equally bad," says study leader Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives at the Rudd Center. Instead, researchers described the worst three kids' meals at each restaurant. But if parents are turning to a fast food restaurant for dinner, any of the "best" options are all reasonable, she says: "We feel comfortable recommending those meals to children."

These, according to the researchers, are some of the best and worst kids' meal combinations at eight popular fast food chains:

Subway

Best: Veggie Delite sandwich (wheat bread, no cheese); apple slices; 100 percent juice.

  • Rank: #1
  • Calories: 285 calories
  • Salt: 295 milligrams Saturated fat: 0 calories
  • Worst: None. "They only offer milk and 100 percent juice, and they have apples and yogurt as sides. And their sandwiches are all pretty low in fat," Harris says.

    Burger King

    Best: Macaroni and cheese; apple "fries" (without caramel sauce); fat-free milk.

    • Rank:#6
    • Calories: 285
    • Salt: 490 milligrams
    • Saturated fat: 14 calories
    • Worst: Cheeseburger; French fries; Dr. Pepper

      • Calories: 635
      • Salt: 1,106 milligrams
      • Saturated fat:86 calories
      • Kentucky Fried Chicken

        Best: Grilled chicken drumstick; corn on the cob; unsweetened tea; string cheese.

        • Rank: #16
        • Calories:270
        • Salt:545 milligrams
        • Saturated fat: 23 calories
        • Worst: Extra crispy chicken drumstick; potato wedges; Mountain Dew; string cheese

          • Calories: 680
          • Salt: 1,330 milligrams
          • Saturated fat: 54 calories
          • Sonic

            Best: Jr. Burger; apple slices; unsweetened tea.

            • Rank: #20
            • Calories: 350
            • Salt: 620 milligrams
            • Saturated fat: 45 calories
            • Worst: Two chicken strips with ranch sauce; French fries; green apple slush

              • Calories: 708
              • Salt: 1,012 milligrams
              • Saturated fat: 51 calories
              • Wendy's

                Best: Crispy chicken sandwich; mandarin orange cup; low-fat milk.

                • Rank: #26
                • Calories: 520
                • Salt: 815 milligrams
                • Saturated fat: 41 calories
                • Worst: Four chicken nuggets with sweet and sour sauce; French fries; Vanilla Frosty Jr.

                  • Calories: 610
                  • Salt: 760 milligrams
                  • Saturated fat: 68 calories
                  • McDonald's

                    Best: Hamburger; apple dippers (without caramel dip); low-fat milk.

                    • Rank: # 30
                    • Calories: 385
                    • Salt: 645 milligrams
                    • Saturated fat: 45 calories
                    • Worst: Cheeseburger; French fries; Hi-C Orange Lavaburst

                      • Calories: 650
                      • Salt: 910 milligrams
                      • Saturated fat: 68 calories
                      • Dairy Queen

                        Best: Chicken strips with ketchup; applesauce; Sprite; vanilla ice-cream cone.

                        • Rank: #33
                        • Calories: 628
                        • Salt: 1,000 milligrams
                        • Saturated fat: 32 calories
                        • Worst: Cheeseburger; French fries; Mountain Dew; chocolate Dilly Bar

                          • Calories: 973
                          • Salt: 1,450 milligrams
                          • Saturated fat: 171 calories
                          • Taco Bell

                            Best: None. Taco Bell did not meet the researchers' criteria for healthy options.

                            Worst: Bean burrito; cinnamon twists; Mountain Dew Baja Blast

                            • Calories: 760
                            • Salt: 1,530 milligrams
                            • Saturated fat: 32 calories
                            • [Nutritional Labeling Gets More Sophisticated]