French fries are the "default" side dish served with kids' fast-food meals, according to research.

Small wonder that kids are getting larger.

Preschoolers now see three fast-food commercials each day, according to research reported on Msnbc.com.

The TV commercials push the fat-laden cheeseburgers and fries, rather than singing the praises of healthier side dishes like apples.

A third of American kids eat an actual fast-food meal each day -- some clocking in at 1,000 calories each.

The default side dish: French fries.

Healthier side dishes and drinks should be the default options for children when they eat fast food, and fast-food ads should regulated, says Marlene Schwartz, deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University, told Msnbc.com.

Fast-food is "a huge source of meals for kids, and that's why we feel they need to be really looked at more carefully," she says.

The Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity’s list of "worst" and "best" kids' meal combinations at fast-food restaurants lists Taco Bell, Dairy Queen and KFC among the worst nutritionally.

Taco Bell's bean burrito, served with cinnamon twists and a soft drink, has 760 calories, 284 of which come from sugar. KFC's extra crispy chicken drumstick, served with potato wedges, a soft drink and string cheese, contains 680 calories, while Dairy Queen's "original" cheeseburger, served with fries, Mountain Dew and a chocolate dilly bar, comes in at 973 calories, according to the Rudd Center.

The researchers who visited 250 restaurants found that French fries were automatically served with kids' meals 86% of the time and soft drinks were served 55% of the time. And when the researchers tallied up calories, sugar, sodium and fat in thousands of kids' meal combinations, only 12 met the nutrition standards for preschoolers' school lunches established by the Institute of Medicine.

Wondering where to take your child for a healthy fast-food meal? The Rudd Center's top picks are Subway and Burger King. At Subway, for instance, a Veggie Delite sandwich served with apple juice and apple slices has just 285 calories and 295 milligrams of sodium

One of the worst bets when you’re ordering for your child: KFC's popcorn chicken, with 840 calories and 1,610 milligrams of sodium.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/health/2010/11/09/2010-11-09_the_worst_fastfood_meals_for_kids_can_weigh_in_with_close_to_1000_fatladen_calor.html#ixzz15FHFMEHF

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