Panera Bread revealed its plans to launch the largest-ever clean kid's menu. The children's menu will feature smaller portion sizes of regular food items. Panera, however, slammed the CEOs of its fast-food competitors for not introducing healthier alternatives for children. McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King were challenged by Panera to eat from its own children's menu for a week. 

Panera's founder and CEO Ron Shaich challenged his competitors to shift the current conversation to create change. With Panera's Kids Meal Promise, created in August 2016,  the chain restaurant aims to maintain a healthy kids menu — which includes revamping it to making it healthier. Shaich then challenged other CEOs in the restaurant industry to do the same. 

"For too long, restaurants in America have served menus full of nutritionally empty chicken nuggets, pizza and fries, paired with sugary drinks and cheap toys," Shaich said in a press release Wednesday. "We believe kids must come first. As a parent, I'm proud that I could eat off the Panera kids menu and still enjoy delicious and wholesome meals."

"I'm challenging the CEOs of some of the largest companies in the industry—McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's—to personally eat exclusively from their restaurants' kids meals for an entire week—and if not, to take a thoughtful look at what they are offering our smallest guests," Shaich added.

Panera's menu promises to include clean ingredients, which entails no artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners or colors will be present. The company also said it is committed to not marketing to children and provide real options for kids to choose from. 

Shaich requested that his competitors question the healthiness of its own children's menus. Shaich told Business Insider Wednesday, "I want to say to them, would you really eat your own kids' meals for a week? Would you really order it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, three meals a day for seven days?" 

McDonald's has been accused of producing and selling unhealthy food options to consumers. The fast-food giant, however, has worked to improve portions of its menu. Salads and fruit have been added to the regular menu as healthier alternatives, but the kid's menu is just beginning to follow suit. 

"We're proud of how we're continuing to raise the bar on the food we serve at McDonald's," Andrea Abate, a press representative for McDonald's, told International Business Times Wednesday. "Our recent announcement that we're adding Honest Kids Juice Drink to our Happy Meals joins other positive changes we have made, such as removing artificial preservatives from Chicken McNuggets, which also don’t have artificial colors or flavors."

Representatives from Panera Bread, Wendy's and Burger King did not immediately return International Business Times' requests for comment.

Panera Bread Panera Bread, pictured May 5, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois, revealed largest clean kids menu and challenged McDonalds' own kids menu. Photo: Getty Images

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