Which fast food kids’ meals are healthiest and which are total calorie bombs?

  • Beth Sawicki
Updated April 24, 2017

As a busy parent, you don’t always have the time or energy to prepare a meal for your child at home. When rushing to get from one place to the next, sometimes fast food is the only reasonable way to feed your kid.

You may think you have to sacrifice nutrition for convenience and affordability, but this popular misconception isn’t always true. Plenty of fast food restaurants offer relatively healthy and affordable kids’ meals.

The experts at HealthGrove, a health and nutrition data site by Graphiq, researched nutrition information for kids’ menu items at fast food restaurants. To make even comparisons, menu items were considered together to form complete meals. This includes either an entrée, side dish and drink or just an entrée and a side dish, based on whether the restaurant offers “kid-size” drinks.

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Kids’ meals were then ranked from most to least caloric, with ties broken by the fat content of the meals. All nutritional information was pulled from the websites of each individual fast food chain.

Next time you need a quick and easy way to feed your little one, consider some of these kids’ meals.

Note: Images on each slide do not necessarily depict the exact menu item. Nutrition data is current as of Feb. 28, 2017 and prices are subject to change.

34. Dairy Queen: Kids’ Meal — Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Fries and Milk

33. Dairy Queen: Kids’ Meal — Hot Dog, Fries and Milk

32. Sonic: Whacky Pack — Grilled Cheese, Tots and Orange Juice

31. Dairy Queen: Kids’ Meal — Hamburger, Fries and Milk

30. Carl’s Jr.: Kids’ Cheeseburger with Natural-Cut Fries and Barq’s Root Beer

29. Jack in the Box: Kids’ Chicken Sandwich with French Fries

28. Arby’s: Kids’ Roast Beef n’ Cheese Slider with Curly Fries and Low-Fat Chocolate Milk

27. Sonic: Whacky Pack — Plain Hot Dog, Tots and 1% Chocolate Milk

26. Wendy’s: Kids’ Cheeseburger with Natural-Cut Fries and Coca-Cola

25. The Habit: Grilled Cheese with 2.4 oz. Fries

24. The Habit: Charburger with 2.4 oz. Fries

23. The Habit: Chicken Nuggets with 2.4 oz. Fries

22. McDonald’s: Happy Meal with Cheeseburger, Yoplait Go-GURT, Fat Free Chocolate Milk and Kids Fries

21. Sonic: Whacky Pack — Jr. Burger, Natural-Cut Fries and Fruit Punch

20. Carl’s Jr.: Chicken Stars (4 Piece) with Natural-Cut Fries and 2% Milk

19. Jack in the Box: Kids’ Hamburger with Cheese with French Fries

18. Burger King: Cheeseburger King Jr. Meal with Applesauce and Low Fat Chocolate Milk

17. Sonic: Whacky Pack — Chicken Strips, Natural-Cut Fries and Apple Juice

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16. Subway: Roast Beef Mini for Kids with Apple Slices and Reduced Fat Chocolate Milk

15. Dairy Queen: Kids’ Meal — Kids Live Well Grilled Chicken Wrap, Applesauce and Milk

14. Sonic: Whacky Pack — Corn Dog, Applesauce and 1% Milk

13. Dairy Queen: Kids’ Meal — 2 Chicken Strips, Applesauce and Milk

12. Jack in the Box: Kids’ Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Apple Bites with Caramel

11. McDonald’s: Happy Meal with 4 Piece Chicken McNuggets, Apple Slices, Minute Maid Apple Juice and Kids Fries

10. Arby’s: Kids’ Prime-Cut Chicken Tenders with Applesauce and Low-Fat Milk

9. Wendy’s: Kids’ Grilled Chicken Wrap with Apple Slices and Strawberry Tea

8. Jack in the Box: Kids’ Grilled 2-Piece Chicken Strips with Seasoned Curly Fries

7. Burger King: Chicken Nuggets King Jr. Meal (4 Piece) with Applesauce and Fat Free Milk

6. Subway: Black Forest Ham Mini for Kids with Apple Slices and Juice Box

5. Jack in the Box: 5-Piece Chicken Nuggets with Apple Bites with Caramel

4. Burger King: Oatmeal King Jr. Meal with Applesauce and Fat Free Milk

3. Subway: Veggie Delite Mini for Kids with Apple Slices and Low Fat Milk

2. Wendy’s: 4-Piece Chicken Nuggets with Apple Slices and Strawberry Tea

1. Chick-fil-A: Nuggets Kids’ Meal

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