In celebration of National Nutrition Month, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) announced the Kids LiveWell initiative has added new restaurant brands to its roster including Baja Fresh, East Coast Wings & Grill, Hard Rock Cafe, and Houlihan’s, among other regional chains and independent restaurants.
The voluntary program, which provides a growing selection of healthful children’s menu choices in every state, now counts more than 150 restaurant brands as participants.
The NRA also unveiled four new videos featuring senior director of nutrition, Joy Dubost, PhD, RD, answering consumer-submitted questions on healthful eating habits.
“The restaurant and foodservice industry has been actively responding to consumers’ interest in healthful offerings, with a special focus on providing nutritious and innovative options to the industry’s youngest patrons,” says Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the NRA. “We are excited that the Kids LiveWell program continues to grow and is proof of the industry’s passion for expanding the variety of better-for-you items available for children when dining out.”
Building on the initiative’s positive momentum, the NRA has partnered with national foodservice companies such as Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, and Sysco.
In addition, Kids LiveWell has recently joined forces with commodity boards to expand the reach of the program. Recent sponsors, including the California Milk Advisory Board and the Beef Checkoff Program, have developed a database of turnkey recipes that meet the Kids LiveWell criteria for operators to incorporate into children’s menus.
To join Kids LiveWell, restaurants agree to offer and promote a selection of qualifying menu items based on leading health organizations’ scientific recommendations; focus on increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy; and limit total calories, unhealthy fats, sugar, and sodium.