With healthful kids meals and children's nutrition remaining a top culinary trend for the new year, according to a recent report from the National Restaurant Association (NRA), Applebee's restaurants have announced a completely redesigned kids menu with 10 meals that meet the NRA's Kids LiveWell nutrition criteria and more than 650 combinations of entrees, sides, and beverages.
The new kids menu moves away from "one size fits all" to a two-tiered offering for entrees, with a selection of sides and beverages to complete the meal. With 26 menu items, the new Applebee's kids menu offers more items than any other national casual dining restaurant, including kid-approved favorites and healthier options.
"Because of today's busy lifestyle, it can be a struggle for on-the-go families to find options that are healthy and kid-approved," says Peter Czizek, Applebee's vice president of Culinary and Menu Innovation. "With our new kids menu, parents can concentrate on engaging with their family while knowing their growing kids can get a fun, healthy meal at Applebee's."
The 10 meals approved by Kids LiveWell are the most among all national casual dining restaurant brands. Of note, French fry orders declined from 73 to 39 percent during a three-month testing period for the new Applebee's kids menu, and fry selection as a side has decreased 30 percent since the menu was introduced at all Applebee's restaurants.
"Children's nutrition continues to be a top priority for restaurants," says Joy Dubost, director of Nutrition and Healthy Living for the National Restaurant Association. "We applaud Applebee's dedication to the Kids LiveWell program and for creating a menu that provides a wide variety of healthful meal choices for their young customers."
The new Applebee's kids' menu includes:
- A two-tiered menu with entrée options for older kids with bigger appetites and younger kids with smaller appetites.
- 10 new Kids LiveWell-approved meals with three entrée options, including chicken, steak and pasta. Previously, the Applebee's kids' menu had just two meals that qualified under the Kids LiveWell nutritional guidelines.
- 2 Kids LiveWell-approved side items, and 11 total side choices, including Kids LiveWell-approved and all-natural GoGo squeeZ Applesauce and Kids LiveWell-approved steamed broccoli, apple slices with all-natural yogurt, all-natural yogurt and strawberries, white rice, salads, and carrots or celery with ranch dressing