Chicken and Chips

Food Standards Agency Report: Children's Menus Lack Nutrition

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has disclosed the outcomes of collaborative research with local councils concerning children’s meals served in restaurants across Northern Ireland.

The report, dubbed "What’s on the Children’s Menu," highlights several key findings. Children’s menu options were notably limited, with a dearth of healthy choices.

Predominant selections among children’s meals comprised fried chicken and chips, sausages and chips, and burgers accompanied by chips.

Pizza on a Table

The favored children’s meals tended to be rich in energy, saturated fat, and salt:

  • 43% of meals exceeded half the recommended average energy intake for 5-year-olds.
  • 47% of meals surpassed half the recommended average saturated fat intake for 5-year-olds.
  • 70% of meals exceeded half the maximum recommended salt intake for 5-year-olds.

Chips were included as a side dish in 72% of children’s meals, whereas vegetables were only offered with 24% of meals.

Professor Susan Jebb OBE, Chair of the Food Standards Agency, articulated the initiatives being implemented to assist businesses:

"The findings show that work is needed to improve the nutritional quality of food available to children when eating out. Encouragingly however most restaurant owners and managers surveyed saw their sector as having a role in improving children’s diets. To support restaurants to do this, the FSA has published ‘Healthier catering tips for children's menus’. The guidance which is freely available to download provides tips for businesses on inexpensive steps they can take to improve the nutritional value of their children’s meals."

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