In an effort to get fast food giants to rethink what they’re feeding their “smallest customers,” Panera Bread founder and CEO Ron Shaich dared them to eat their restaurants’ kids’ meals for an entire week. While Shaich called out big brands like McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s, someone else has stepped up to accept the challenge: Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill CEO James Park.
Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill occupies 25 restaurants in six states. On their kids’ menu, you’ll find grilled cheese, stuffed pita, chicken, sirloin steak, grilled Portobello mushroom, gyro, falafel, rice, and apples. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, Park will eat off this menu not only for a week, but for 30 days. The company will also donate $1 for every kid’s meal sold at the chain’s Denver-area restaurants from Sept. 24 through 30. Proceeds will go to the nonprofit Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Park, who is a father of four young children, says that healthy food options for children are important to him. “This is near and dear to me,” he told Nation’s Restaurant News. “It really resonates with me. It’s my North Star.”
He also hopes other fast-food and fast-casual restaurants will take the initiative to better their menus and do a little “soul-searching about food that’s both delicious and nutritious.”
When one thinks of a fast-food kids’ meal, the mind traditionally wanders to chicken nuggets and French fries. While it seems that McDonald’s healthiest option for children is indeed nuggets — with a side-swap of apples or yogurt — here are 12 fast-food kids’ meals that are actually healthy.