Thought Leader, Haile Thomas, Age 10, Wants To Change America’s Kids’ Menus

By on August 11, 2011

Haile Thomas is a thought leader among America’s youth, and has been recognized as such by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a national group based in Little Rock, Arkansas.


Haile Thomas,  10 years old, from Tucson, Arizona is on a crusade.  Perhaps a one girl crusade, but don’t count Haile out.  She wants to improve the menu options for children in restaurants all across America.

“A whole new world opened up to me when I began ordering off the adult menu,” says the beyond-her-years-wise Haile.  “And I just thought why can’t kids have these same options.”

When asked what her ideal kids’ menu in a restaurant might include, she speaks quickly, “more fruits and vegetables, smaller versions of the adult choices.  After all,  life is about choices,  and the kids menus don’t give you enough.”

Attention to kids menu options in restaurants is gaining traction in the world today. Huffington Post, this week posted the top Best and Worst kids menus in fast food restaurants.

Not that the choices were all that great.  Still too much fruit juice instead of milk, too many fried choices.  Surely you don’t believe fried apples are any better than fried potatoes.  I mean, come on.  Get real.  Fried starch is fried starch.

The calorie counts were often way too high.  Dairy Queen,  the big loser, offered a menu with calories suitable for a big man, but way too loaded with sugars and fats and too caloric for any kid.  Maybe they shoulda stuck with soft serve and forgotten about the burgers and fries routine.

As it stands now,  a kid’s best shot at health is to stay out of fast food restaurants.  The same prescription goes for her parents too.

Haile, along with her six year old sister, Nia,  host a television program in Tucson, Kids Can Cook

On their fun video web cooking show,  they speak directly to kids their age and show them that they too can cook and learn to love it.  To take charge of their own health and life. Visit Kids Can Cook on Facebook

And expanding on her plan, Haile Thomas,  however, has a big idea.  In her home town of Tucson,  she plans to team up with notable chefs at the Tucson Culinary Festival, Tucson’s premiere food event, to be held this year October 27-30.  Haile and Tucson’s finest chefs will cook up some yummy and healthy kids menus on a live stage. Check the website for day and time.

Not that cooperating with others is new to Haile Thomas. Last Saturday,  at a shopping mall in Tucson,  Haile handed out questionnaires to kids asking THEM what they’d like to see on their kids menu.

“I want to reach out to kids who really do care what’s on their plate. And even though we don’t love the kids menu, we can make it better.  If you give kids different options, they’ll try it.” When asked how her survey turned out, Haile said, “I Got some pretty good results.”


Recently, Haile Thomas was named to the Youth Advisory Board for the national organization sponsored by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“It was quite an honor,” says Haile, who traveled to UCLA to accept the nomination. “I hope to make a difference by inspiring other kids to embrace a healthy lifestyle. I hope to do this by encouraging them to learn to cook, and become educated about how good and bad food affects their bodies, overall health and quality of life.“

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation is a joint venture between the American Heart Association and Clinton Foundation with a mission to eliminate childhood obesity and inspire all young people in the United States to develop lifelong, healthy habits.

About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”


  1. Elaine Bloom

    August 22, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Wow! What a great kid. I love both “A whole new world opened to me when I began ordering off the adult menu” and “Life is about choices and the kids menus don’t give you enough.” She is wise beyond her years.

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