Quantcast

6 Healthy Chain Restaurants That Your Kids Will Love

Food

When eating out, kids often end up ordering chicken fingers, French fries or pizza—restaurant menu items lacking in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. The fact is, dining out poses a challenge for health-conscious parents who want their children to eat meals with more nutritional value.

At Chipotle, kids can make their own tacos, and get organic milk on the side. Photo credit: Chipotle Mexican Grill

A spate of restaurants across the U.S. are now tapping into the demand for healthy food by offering menu choices parents can be happy about. The following six food service chains are doing healthy food justice.

1. Panera Bread

This soup-and-sandwich chain that coins that itself a "bakery-café" bakes its own bread daily, with nutritious varieties that include honey wheat, whole grain and sprouted whole grain. In addition to their signature flatbread sandwiches made with antibiotic-free poultry, the menu features fresh, low-fat soups, some of them vegetarian, and "broth bowls" with high protein, vegan ingredients like lentils and quinoa, in addition to cage-free eggs. Awarded the number one most innovative company of 2015 in food by Fast Company, Panera Bread has more than 1,000 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

2. Chipotle Mexican Grill

This restaurant chain, which has brought the rice-and-beans experience to the mainstream with more than 1,600 storefronts, is revolutionizing how Americans eat Mexican food. The company has committed to using what they call "Food With Integrity," which means they follow eco-friendly standards by using local, organic produce when possible, and meat and dairy without hormones or antibiotics. All of the menu items—burritos, quesadillas, tacos, nachos and burrito bowls—are made assembly-line style in full view of the customers, with fresh, clean ingredients that are prepared with moderate amounts of spices and oil. Kids can create their own tacos, and get rice, beans and organic milk on the side with their orders.

3.  Sweetgreen

With some 25 locations in California, the North East and the South, this forward-thinking company sells salads, soups and other to-go-meals with high quality ingredients bought from local, organic farms. Each location creates specialty items on the menu, such as the Detox Salad with watercress and spicy broccoli and the wild rice bowl with shredded kale and miso-ginger dressing. Even better for kids: they can make their own dishes by picking individual ingredients off the menu.

4. Soup Plantation and Sweet Tomatoes

This restaurant group with 128 venues in 15 states has been offering family-friendly healthy dining since 1978. Their menu encourages families to eat more vegetables by offering dozens of salad combinations with lean meats, whole grains and nuts in them, plus buffet-style dining with a massive salad bar, several types of vegetable-based soups, in additional to hot pasta and baked goods. Join their "Club Veg" and indicate your dietary needs when you sign up (choices include vegetarian, vegan, low fat, dairy-free, low-carb gluten-free and low-salt), and get customized dishes every time you dine there. On their website you can find the nutritional information, including number of calories, and amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrates, sugar and salt in all of their prepared dishes.

5. Jason’s Deli

With thick ham sandwiches on the menu, Jason’s Deli may not be the first healthy restaurant food chain to come to mind. But this restaurant group with more than 200 locations throughout the South, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest has committed to using some organic ingredients, offering whole grain bread and plenty of vegetarian options. Kudos for the kids menu, which includes plant-based options, organic wraps and organic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Each meal also comes with either organic apples or carrots, and organic juice or milk.

6. Pizza Fusion

With locations in Florida, Colorado, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Washington DC, this forward-thinking company is re-inventing the pizza joint. None of their ingredients contain additives, preservatives, hormones, nitrates or trans fats. The menu, which includes free-range meats, and vegan and gluten-free options, is mostly organic. Further, all of their restaurants are LEED certified, use renewable energy and own hybrid delivery vehicles.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE 

10 High-Fat Foods That Are Healthy For You

Eating Healthy Mitigates Climate Change

How to Get Your Kids to Eat Superfoods

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Aerial view of Ruropolis, Para state, northen Brazil, on Sept. 6, 2019. Tthe world's biggest rainforest is under threat from wildfires and rampant deforestation. JOHANNES MYBURGH / AFP via Getty Images

By Kate Martyr

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest last month jumped to the highest level since records began in 2015, according to government data.

A total of 563 square kilometers (217.38 square miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to Brazil's space research agency.

From January to November this year an area almost the size of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico was destroyed — an 83% overall increase in destruction when compared with the same period last year.

The figures were released on Friday by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and collected through the DETER database, which uses satellite images to monitor forest fires, forest destruction and other developments affecting the rainforest.

What's Behind the Rise?

Overall, deforestation in 2019 has jumped 30% compared to last year — 9,762 square kilometers (approximately 3769 square miles) have been destroyed, despite deforestation usually slowing during November and December.

Environmental groups, researchers and activists blamed the policies of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro for the increase.

They say that Bolosonaro's calls for the Amazon to be developed and his weakening support for Ibama, the government's environmental agency, have led to loggers and ranchers feeling safer and braver in destroying the expansive rainforest.

His government hit back at these claims, pointing out that previous governments also cut budgets to environment agencies such as Ibama.

The report comes as Brazil came to loggerheads with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) over climate goals during the UN climate conference in Madrid.

AOSIS blasted Brazil, among other nations, for "a lack of ambition that also undermines ours."

Last month, a group of Brazilian lawyers called for Bolsonaro to be investigated by the International Criminal Court over his environmental policies.

Reposted with permission from DW.

The Carolina parakeet went extinct in 1918. James St. John / CC BY 2.0

The Carolina parakeet, the only parrot species native to the U.S., went extinct in 1918 when the last bird died at the Cincinnati Zoo. Now, a little more than 100 years later, researchers have determined that humans were entirely to blame.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
An elephant in Botswana. Mario Micklisch / CC BY 2.0

Two hunters who shot and killed a research elephant in Botswana and then destroyed its collar to hide the evidence have been banned from further hunting in the country.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Brianna Elliott, RD

Vitamin C is a very important nutrient that's abundant in many fruits and vegetables.

Read More Show Less
BLM drill seeders work to restore native grasses after wildfire on the Bowden Hills Wilderness Study Area in southeast Oregon, Dec. 14, 2018. Marcus Johnson / BLM / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

In 2017 the Thomas fire raged through 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, California, leaving in its wake a blackened expanse of land, burned vegetation, and more than 1,000 destroyed buildings.

Read More Show Less