New data from Chicago market research firm NPD Group suggests that the eating habits of American children while at fast food restaurants are changing for the better.

Chicken nuggets, burgers, fries and colas remain popular with the under-13 set, of course. But consumption of these foods at restaurants is declining, while soup, yogurt, fruit, grilled chicken and chocolate milk are on the rise.

The new data suggest that a number of factors, from the economic downturn to new offerings from fast-food giants, may be influencing a general shift in eating preferences among children.

Among the losers in the year ending March 31 were colas (down 10 percent), chicken nuggets and strips (8 percent), French fries (7 percent) and hot dogs (6 percent). Winners included soup (29 percent), grilled chicken sandwiches (26 percent), yogurt (21 percent), carrots (9 percent) and fruit (6 percent).

Even pizza is losing favor. While it is still the most popular food for children in quick-service restaurants, its year-to-year growth is flat, according to NPD. And in full-service restaurants, it has been replaced by pasta as the most popular food among children.

Source: New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/health/16well.html?_r=1&ref=science