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

Natural Resources Defense Council

By Emily Deanne

Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.

Read More Show Less
Kokia drynarioides, commonly known as Hawaiian tree cotton, is a critically endangered species of flowering plant that is endemic to the Big Island of Hawaii. David Eickhoff / Wikipedia

By Lorraine Chow

Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Frederick Bass / Getty Images

States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of lava flows from the eruption of volcano Kilauea on Hawaii, May 2018. Frizi / iStock / Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
A couple works in their organic garden. kupicoo / E+ / Getty Images

By Kristin Ohlson

From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A competitor in action during the Drambuie World Ice Golf Championships in Uummannaq, Greenland on April 9, 2001. Michael Steele / Allsport / Getty Images

Greenland is open for business, but it's not for sale, Greenland's foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger told Reuters after hearing that President Donald Trump asked his advisers about the feasibility of buying the world's largest island.

Read More Show Less
AFP / Getty Images / S. Platt

Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.

Read More Show Less
Newly established oil palm plantation in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay

By Hans Nicholas Jong

Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.

It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."

Read More Show Less