Quinn wants to set nutritional guidelines for kids’ meals

Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Christine Quinn wants to bring chain restaurants’ kids meals in line with federal guidelines. Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

In a Bloomberg-like move, mayoral candidate Christine Quinn announced on Monday that if she is elected, she wants to set new restrictions on kids’ meals at chain restaurants.

Restaurants are already required to post calorie counts, but Quinn said she wants children’s menu items to be more in line with the federal guidelines for school lunches: no more than 650 calories, 7 grams of saturated fat and 740 milligrams of sodium.

“We’re not going to limit parents’ choices,” Quinn said at Union Square green market on Monday, The New York Post reports. “You’ll still be able to order whatever you think is right for your children. But what we’re saying is that companies can’t spend millions of dollars on marketing or include items on children’s menus if those foods clearly are going to lead to obesity, which could lead to diabetes or other diet-related illnesses.”

Quinn said that an Applebee’s grilled cheese meal with fries contains 1,210 calories, 2,340 milligrams of sodium and 21 grams of fat. An Outback Steakhouse cheeseburger meal with fries contains 989 calories, 1,279 milligrams of sodium and 23 grams of fat.

Many restaurants already offer healthier options for kids, such as Applebee’s grilled-chicken sandwich with steamed broccoli that’s only 355 calories. But Quinn’s plan would force restaurants to eliminate some of the less healthier options from the menu.

Restrictions for kids meals could be imposed by the City Council or by the Board of Health, Quinn said. The rules would apply to restaurants that have more than 15 locations in the city and already post calorie counts.

The proposal is somewhat surprising since Quinn opposed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to restrict the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces.


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