Nearly 100 brands now part of groundbreaking program aimed at healthier kids’ meal choices
HEALTHY DINING today joined the National Restaurant Association in announcing that its joint groundbreaking initiative, Kids LiveWellSM, has quadrupled to 96 brands the number of participating restaurant companies now offering approved kids’ menu choices. The announcement was made at a press event at the Association’s annual Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in McCormick Place. On the previous day, former U.S. President Bill Clinton delivered the keynote address and praised the restaurant industry’s efforts in addressing the issue of childhood obesity, recognizing the positive effects of such initiatives as Kids LiveWell.
Clinton thanked the restaurant industry for its efforts to collaborate through the Kids LiveWell Program in fighting childhood obesity and helping our nation’s children have a healthier future. He stated that an initiative like the NRA’s Kids LiveWell program underscores the impact of working collectively to promote healthier lifestyles. “What works is what [restaurateurs] are doing to feed kids and help them eat healthier. What works is cooperation.”
HEALTHY DINING collaborated with the Association to launch the Kids LiveWell initiative in July 2011. In just 10 months, the landmark program has grown to nearly 100 restaurants brands, representing more than 25,000 locations nationwide. HEALTHY DINING’s team of registered dietitians works closely with each restaurant brand – ranging from fast food to fine dining, independent to multi-unit operations, coast-to-coast – to identify and validate the qualifying Kids LiveWell menu choices. Parents find the restaurants and their approved kids’ menu items, including corresponding comprehensive nutrition profiles, on HealthyDiningFinder.com. The website also features thousands of menu choices for adults from tens of thousands of restaurant locations nationwide.
“We are thrilled to be part of this groundbreaking initiative and to share in today’s celebration with our partner, the National Restaurant Association, in recognizing the nearly 100 restaurant brands that are demonstrating their commitment to the health and wellness of America’s youngest diners by providing a variety of kid-friendly healthier choices,” said Anita Jones-Mueller, MPH, President and Founder of HEALTHY DINING. “We are honored that President Clinton recognized Kids LiveWell during his keynote address yesterday. Now more than ever, with this greater attention on the well-being of our nation, programs like Kids LiveWell underscore the restaurant industry’s proactive efforts to be part of the solution in promoting the importance of healthier lifestyles and eating and living well.”
“Participation in the ‘Kids LiveWell’ program has exploded in a short period of time, with restaurant companies from across the industry eager to showcase their healthful choices,” said National Restaurant Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney. “As a result, parents are finding a growing selection of healthful children’s menu options of fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.”
The Association also unveiled a new Kids LiveWell app, which will connect on-the-go parents to HEALTHY DINING restaurant partners offering healthful children’s menu items under the Kids LiveWell program. The app is geo-coded so that users will be able to find restaurants nearest to them that offer Kids LiveWell menu items. The free app is available in the Android Market and iTunes app store. To download the app, visit: www.restaurant.org/kidslivewell.
To join Kids LiveWell, restaurants agree to offer and promote a selection of items that meet qualifying nutrition criteria based on leading health organizations’ scientific recommendations, including the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines.
About HEALTHY DINING:
Since 1990, HEALTHY DINING’s culinary nutrition experts have been guiding and inspiring chefs and restaurateurs to create and serve a selection of HEALTHY DINING menu options. A leader in restaurant nutrition, the company works with hundreds of restaurants and has analyzed thousands of menu items for nutrient content. In collaboration with the National Restaurant Association, HEALTHY DINING leads the largest-ever restaurant industry nutrition initiative. Through HealthyDiningFinder.com, the only resource of its kind, Americans can find dietitian-approved, HEALTHY DINING menu options and view corresponding nutrient information (calories, fat, etc.) for restaurants that span fast food to fine dining, coast to coast. The site is promoted to the growing segment of health- and weight-conscious consumers through employers, health organizations, health insurance companies, weight control programs, fitness centers, the media, and much more. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided partial funding for the development of the HealthyDiningFinder.com e-health tool.
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