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July 18, 2011 (Washington, D.C.) -- The National Restaurant Association has unveiled a new nationwide initiative that provides parents and children with a growing selection of healthful menu options when dining out. "Kids Live Well," a program the Association launched today in collaboration with Healthy Dining, highlights how restaurants can create innovative solutions to provide better-for-you menu options.

"'Kids Live Well' underscores that restaurants can be part of the solution to ensuring a healthier generation and providing consumer choice in dining options," said Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. "More than 15,000 restaurant locations are participating in this initial launch and offering their young guests a selection of 'Kids Live Well' choices, and we look forward to announcing additional restaurants and menu options in the coming months."

Kids Live Well" is a first-of-its-kind voluntary initiative that shows the restaurant industry's commitment to offering healthful menu items for children, with a focus on increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy, and limiting unhealthy fats, sugars and sodium.

"Kids Live Well' empowers parents to confidently make informed decisions about their children's meals as part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle," said Anita Jones-Mueller, MPH, and founder of Healthy Dining. See www.restaurant.org/kidslivewell  for more information.
Inaugural "Kids Live Well" leaders include the following 19 brands: Au Bon Pain, Bonefish Grill, Burger King, Burgerville, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Chevys Fresh Mex, Chili's Grill & Bar, Corner Bakery Cafe, Cracker Barrel, Denny's, El Pollo Loco, Friendly's, IHOP, Joe's Crab Shack, Outback Steakhouse, Silver Diner, Sizzler, T-Bones Great American Eatery and zpizza.

To join "Kids Live Well," restaurants agree to offer and promote a selection of items that meet qualifying criteria based on leading health organizations' scientific recommendations, including the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines. Healthy Dining's team of registered dietitians has worked with participating restaurants to identify and validate the menu choices that meet the "Kids Live Well" criteria. Over 15,000 restaurants nationwide are participating at this point. The criteria include the following components:

  •          Offer a children's meal (an entree, side and beverage) with 600 calories or less; two servings of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and/or low-fat dairy; with limits on sodium, fats and sugar
  •          Offer at least one other individual item with 200 calories or less, with limits on fats, sugars and sodium, plus contain a serving of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein or low-fat dairy;
  •         Display or make available upon request the nutrition profile of the healthful menu options; and
  •         Promote/identify the healthful menu options.