High fructose corn syrup. Artificial colors. Artificial flavors. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. High amounts of salt. Monosodium glutamate (MSG). These are all ingredients, taken straight from the KFC Ingredient Guide that will be in KFC’s latest version of a kid’s meal, the Li'l Bucket.

KFC’s press release would have parents believing that the Li’l Bucket is a healthy choice and the “thinking mom's' kids meal — one that is equal parts balanced options and interactive fun for their kids.” The meal consists of a Kentucky Grilled Chicken drumstick, green beans, a GoGo squeeze applesauce on the go, and a Capri Sun Roarin' Water. It comes in at 210 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 565 milligrams of sodium — that’s if the kids get the meal exactly as is.

But, the meal is completely customizable so kids can choose any side other than green beans, whch have 25 calories and MSG. They could choose the mashed potatoes that have 120 calories and artificial colors. I’m trying to figure out why color needs to be added to mashed potatoes. Perhaps it’s in the gravy. I don’t know about you, but no gravy I’ve ever made in my home needed added color.


They don’t have to have the Roarin’ Waters that contains 30 calories and high fructose corn syrup for the drink either. They could choose a soda that has 100 calories per 8 ounces and most likely artificial colors. You can see how the calories can easily add up when kids customize their meal.

I might have left this alone if not for the “thinking mom’s kids meal” comment. Are you kidding me? A thinking mom will know how easy it is to get ahold of the ingredients list for this kids meal. A thinking mom will read that ingredients list. A thinking mom will know that mashed potatoes and gravy will have more calories than green beans.

A thinking mom will realize that if she chooses to buy her kids fast food (and it does happen to almost all of us once in a while), she is not making a healthy choice. A thinking mom will realize that associating the buying of a kids meal with moms and not dads and calling it a “thinking mom’s kids meal” is a marketing trick that’s playing to her ego and trying to make her feel superior to dads.

Don’t ever let any fast-food marketing campaign convince you that the food is good for you or your family. If you’re going to choose to eat fast food, think for yourself and acknowledge meals like KFC’s Li’l Bucket for what they really are — fast, processed foods that contain unhealthy ingredients.

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

KFC throws down the gauntlet to thinking moms
Does KFC really want moms with brains to look at what's in the Li'l Kids Bucket?