Having kids makes your life incredibly busy. Between taking them to school, after-school activities, and sports, you probably feel like you barely have time to cook dinner. You may find yourself hitting up the drive-thru more often than not.
My life is busy with two little ones. We eat out two to three nights a week, especially during the busy months. The one problem I have is that they always want to eat the same thing. It’s fine for them, but I’m not happy hitting up the same fast-food restaurant a few times a week.
I’ve created a list of some of the best fast food kids meals so that we can have a little variety when we eat out.
Our Favorite Fast Food Kids Meals
These meals keep my kids happy while also letting me eat something other than a hamburger every night. I also added some that have healthy options so I don’t have to feel like my kids are eating junk every night.
Chick-Fil-A Kid’s Meal
Chick-Fil-A kid’s meals are always a hit with my kids and I. My kids love that they offer some of their favorites like chicken nuggets and fries.
I appreciate the healthy options offered. The chicken is fried in peanut oil, which is a little healthier than the grease other restaurants use.
Meals come with a choice of fried or grilled nuggets or a chicken strip. There are lots of side options, including waffle fries, fruit, applesauce, mac and cheese, and chips.
For a beverage, kids can choose between 1% milk, a soft drink, or lemonade.
Chick-Fil-A offers two surprises – one for kids under four and one for older kids.
McDonald’s Happy Meal
In 1979, McDonald’s invented the kid’s meal with its Happy Meal. For many kids, its name has become synonymous with any kid’s meal.
The McDonald’s Happy Meal is still a solid choice today, especially since McDonald’s has made efforts to include their healthy options.
Entree options include a hamburger, cheeseburger, and four- or six-piece nuggets. For a side, kids can choose between fries and apples, or get both.
Most McDonald’s offer 1% white or chocolate milk, a juice box, or a soft drink.
Happy Meal toys are famous in their own right. The brand often partners with large franchises like Disney to make toys that are incredibly appealing to kids.
Wendy’s Kid’s Meal
There are also spicy nuggets for kids who want to kick it up a notch.
For a side, the kid’s meal comes with either french fries or apple bites. Beverage choices include milk, chocolate milk, soda, a fruit punch juice box, or bottled water.
One thing I love about the Wendy’s kid’s meals is that they come with interactive toys.
In the past several months, my kids have constructed cardboard vehicles, completed sticker books, and worked on activity books.
They get a little more out of these toys than the plastic figures some other restaurants offer.
Burger King Jr Meal
Burger King offers the standard kids meal – but it has a plus because I can get a Whopper or another burger from their menu for myself when I take my kids.
The Burger King Jr. meal offers an entree choice of a hamburger, cheeseburger, or nuggets.
I do appreciate that you can choose between four- and six-piece nuggets as my older child eats more.
For a side, kids can choose between fries, applesauce, and onion rings. Burger King offers milk, orange juice, soda, or a Capri Sun for a beverage.
Burger King also tends to join up with character franchises for their toys. These toys are usually small, plastic figures that kids can collect.
Popeyes Kid’s Meal
Do you kids “love that chicken from Popeyes?” The Popeyes kid’s meal offers plenty of food to satisfy their appetite.
My kids both like fried chicken, but they don’t like the same kinds. I appreciate that Popeyes has plenty of options for them.
Kids can choose from a chicken leg, chicken tender, and four- or six-piece nuggets. Nuggets are available in mild or spicy.
For kids who don’t like chicken, Popeye’s has a mac and cheese option. The meal comes with apple sauce and an apple juice box.
Some Popeyes will let you substitute the juice box with a soft drink and the apple sauce for one of their other sides, such as fries, mashed potatoes and gravy, or mac and cheese. Plus, I can enjoy their famous chicken sandwich or other menu items!
Arby’s Chicken Tender ‘n Cheese Slider
Kids can choose from chicken nuggets or tenders or a roast beef or turkey slider. My kids’ favorite is the chicken tender ‘n cheese slider.
The slider is a small sandwich with a chicken tender and a slice of swiss cheese. My kids like to eat theirs with Arby’s sauce.
For a side, your kid has a choice of crinkle or curly fries or applesauce. They can choose between milk, chocolate milk, water, or an apple juice box for a beverage.
Kid’s meals do come with a toy, usually, one based on a popular franchise like Sonic the Hedgehog or Cuphead.
Dairy Queen Kids’ Meal Combo
While we usually go to Dairy Queen for dessert, we’ve recently discovered that the Dairy Queen kids’ meals are pretty great, too.
The entree offerings are a hamburger, chicken tenders, and a hot dog.
For a side, kids have a choice of french fries, applesauce, or a banana. Drinks are a choice of water, milk, or soda.
What sets the Dairy Queen kids meal apart is that it comes with dessert – an ice cream cone. My kids are extra so they usually upgrade their cone to a Blizzard.
Dairy Queen’s kids’ meals don’t come with a toy, as the ice cream is considered a prize. I’m happy with this because we don’t have to add any toys to our growing collection.
Panera Signature Mac & Cheese Kid’s Meal
Panera Bread offers one of the best fast food kid’s meals because it has fresher and healthier options than many of its competitors.
One of my kids’ favorites is the Signature Mac & Cheese kid’s meal, made with Panera’s special aged white cheddar cheese sauce.
Panera offers plenty of other options, including soups, salads, sandwiches, and pizza. It’s the perfect place to go when the kids (and you) are tired of burgers and chicken nuggets.
For sides, kids can choose from a baguette, yogurt, apple, or chips. They can get a tomato-cucumber salad or a fruit cup for a small upcharge.
My only complaint with the Panera kids meal is that it doesn’t include a beverage. However, you can purchase milk, chocolate milk, or an apple juice box separately.
I don’t mind the extra cost as much because the food is healthier than the standard fast-food fare.
Subway Black Forest Ham Mini
Subway is always a great option when we’re in the mood for a sandwich.
My kids enjoy watching the sandwich artist prepare their food and my oldest appreciates all of the vegetables he can choose from.
The Black Forest Ham Mini is a four-inch sandwich and is one entree option for the Fresh Fit for Kids meal.
It comes on your kid’s choice of bread and with their choice of cheese, veggies, and condiments. If your kid isn’t a fan of ham, they can get the sandwich with turkey or just veggies.
The Fresh Fit for Kids Meal also comes with an applesauce pouch and milk.
While some Subways will let you substitute chips, a cookie, and soda, most require you to get the juice and applesauce. Subway teams with popular franchises like Scooby-Doo for their toys.
Jack in the Box Chicken Sandwich Kids’ Meal
Jack in the Box is one of the few fast-food restaurants that offer a chicken sandwich in its kids’ meal.
It comes dressed with lettuce and mayonnaise. The meal also comes with fries or apple bites and a kid-sized soft drink.
If our kid isn’t feeling the chicken sandwich, they can opt for a cheeseburger, nuggets, or chicken strips.
Jack in the Box Kids’ Meals stopped including a toy with their kids’ meals in 2011.
Sonic Wacky Pack
The Sonic Wacky Pack is always a favorite with my kids, and not just because it has such a fun name. Sonic offers a few more kid’s meal options than your standard fast-food restaurant.
Entree choices include a hamburger, corndog, hot dog, grilled cheese, or chicken strips. For a side, kids can choose between french fries, tater tots, or an applesauce pouch.
Beverages include a choice of milk, apple juice, or one of Sonic’s many soft drink options. My kids like to upgrade to a slush.
Sonic partners with franchises for their toys, but often offers something more fun than a plastic figurine.
For example, they’ve offered magic tricks, color-changing spoons, and Nickelodeon slime in the past.
These are some of the best fast food kids meals that my kids love. I’ve gone through the typical junk food that kids enjoy while also giving you some healthier options so you don’t feel as guilty about feeding your child fast food.
When I have a busy week, we may hit up a drive-thru two or three times. I try to make at least one or two of these meals something healthier than fried food. While it’s not as healthy as a home-cooked meal, my kids at least get some vegetables and protein.
Be sure to try some of these meals with your kids to see what their favorites are.
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