Equality For Every Meal | Teen Ink

Equality For Every Meal

April 3, 2016
By jennakolano BRONZE, Mars, Pennsylvania
jennakolano BRONZE, Mars, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Imagine living in a world where children and teenagers and adults over the age of twelve can order a “kids meal” without being criticized.  No double takes from nearby consumers, no tactless glances from waiters and waitresses, no second guessing orders.  This is the kind of world that all food lovers strive to be a part of.  Nobody wants to get judged for ordering a kids meal, so integrating the kids menu into the conventional one eliminates this predominant hesitation.  After graduating from the kids menu, parents strongly urge children to select meals from the remaining “adult” menu, which introduces numerous issues.  Restaurants should offer the kids menu to everyone because it provides healthier portion sizes.

 Healthier and therefore smaller sized portions help prevent obesity.  Adult meals are often twice as large as kids meals; as a result, adolescent children generally attempt to eat all of their adult portion. This leads to increased obesity rates caused by overeating.  In the United States, “the number of overweight children has doubled and the number of overweight adolescents has tripled since 1980” (World).  If restaurants, therefore, allow teens to order smaller portions offered by kids meals, this number would decrease.  Boom.  But, this does not apply to teens only.  Adults and teens who do not need as many calories benefit from eating smaller portions as well, as they are not stuck stuffing themselves with whatever they ordered.  Additionally, many restaurants’ entrees fail to meet the food standard criteria given by the USDA, or the U.S. Department for Agriculture.  A researcher from the Public Health Nutrition journal, Helen Wu, says that “if you're eating out tonight, your chances of finding an entree that's truly healthy are painfully low” (Schocker).  Most entrees exceed the suggested standards for fat and sodium content per meal.  So, by eating kids meals, smaller portions help regulate daily nutrition.  Finally, most adult meals contain a deceiving number of calories.  Some food considered “‘average’ in size can add up to a whole day’s worth of calories” (Correct).  Think of a typical American meal--a burger and french fries.  This meal almost always has a shockingly high number of calories.  Slowly but surely, restaurants increase portions of food and sizes of drinks over time.  This makes it particularly difficult for teenagers and others to regulate their diet.  Before the calories start flying away, restaurants should integrate the kids menu so that anyone can order from it without question if they choose.

Although some will say that kids meals prevent picky eaters from trying new foods, others will argue that these smaller portioned meals give the menu more options and offer a wider variety of food to customers.  Some believe that kids meals are a problem because they do not allow kids to explore new tastes; however, no one is forced to order them.  If parents have a problem with this they must simply tell their kids to order from the adult menu.  It is as easy as that.  In fact, a study done by the Dairy Council of California discovered that “modern portion sizes of popular foods [at restaurants] add an extra 50 to 150 calories to the suggested amount” (Natterson).  This statement is problematic because “an extra 100 calories per day can pack on an extra ten pounds of weight in a year” (Correct), which also increases the ever growing problem of obesity.

Kids meals without a doubt should be offered to both adults and teenagers.  In order for customers to receive satisfaction and healthier sized portions of meals, restaurants should combine the kids menu with the rest of it.  Not only are kids meals calorie conservative, but they create a variety of options for customers, and what could be better than that?

The author's comments:

I would like people, mostly adults, to stop looking at the kids menu as some frowned upon object.  Anyone should be able to order from it if they want a small and simple meal.

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