I went to Chuck E Cheese a few days ago and had an awesome time. It’s a great place for kids, a great alternative to Disneyland. Kids have a lot of fun there. Between the animatronics and the games, you can spend a few hours having fun.
But be careful of having your kids eat there. The menu at Chuck E Cheese is loaded with junk food that is terrible for your kids: Pizza, French fries, Hot Dogs, Sandwiches, etc. To be fair, they do have a Veggie Platter, but I guarantee you no one buys that for their kids.
I am just very surprised that a place like Chuck E Cheese, which caters to kids, has little or no healthy options for kids. Not even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
It’s basically a nutritional hellhole for kids. Here is one item from their “Test Items” menu that is particularly horrible for children. It is Chicken Tenders for Kids, and is targeted specifically for kids (They offer Chicken Tenders for Adults also). Eating this menu item would give your little one 380 calories and a whopping 936 mg of sodium. As a reference, a 1-3 year old should have no more than 800 mg of sodium per day. 4-6 year old should have max 1,200 mg of sodium per day and a 7-10 year old should have a max of 2000 mg of sodium per day. This one dish would have your 3 year old max out, your 5 year old almost max out.(Sodium recommendations here)
So why does this matter again? 2 reasons really:
1) Eating this much salty food makes the kids hungry. And what do kids drink? Juice! Juice which is loaded with sugar.
2) There is concern that eating too much sodium in childhood can lead to a preference for salty foods. Consequently, an increased risk for popular adult diseases such as stroke, heart disease, kidney problems and obesity.
So, what do you do? Have a blast at Chuck E Cheese and once you are done, step outside and grab a healthy dinner from somewhere else.