Burger King is tweaking its Kid's Meals with fries that are less nutritionally naughty.
The burger giant Tuesday announced that its crinkle-cut Satisfries -- with 40% less fat and 30% fewer calories than McDonald's fries -- will immediately become the standard fries served in Burger King Kid's Meals nationally. Although BK charges slightly more for Satisfries with adult meals, it will not charge more for its Kid's Meals.
A Kid's Meal-sized serving of Satisfries has 190 calories, 8 grams of fat and 210 milligrams of sodium.
"As a parent, I know when it comes to what I feed my child, it's all about lower-fat foods that kids will actually want to eat," says Eric Hirshhorn, chief marketing officer at Burger King North America. "We all know they are the pickiest of eaters."
Burger King's latest action comes at a time many restaurant chains have pushed to improve the nutritional quality of their kid's meals. Earlier this year, Subway even got praise from Michelle Obama after it agreed to offer a kid's meal menu that mirrors federal standards for school lunches -- including offering apples on the side and low-fat or non-fat plain milk, and water as the default beverage.
For the fast-food giants, it's all about taking responsible actions now or facing the wrath of health advocates, lawmakers and parents, later. A 2013 study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found that kids and teens consumed far more calories at fast-food and other restaurants than they did at home. Eating out was linked with up to 160 extra calories every day for young kids and up to 310 for teens, in the study.
BK is often challenged to get kids to choose the apple slices and fat-free milk that it offers as side options, says Burger King nutritionist Keri Gans. So, making small changes like offering Satisfries "can definitely make a difference," she says.
One outside nutritionist says the move by BK is positive. "Fast food restaurants, like Burger King and McDonalds, making small changes to improve the nutrition profile of well-liked foods like French fries should be applauded, " says Hope Warshaw, a dietician and author of "Guide to Healthy Restaurant Eating." "It remains easier to feed kids healthier in fast food than in sit down restaurants."