A coalition of 19 restaurant chains that include Burger King and Denny's have become allies in a US-wide program meant to combat childhood obesity and provide healthy dining options for kids.
Launched Wednesday in Washington DC by The National Restaurant Association, restaurants signed on to the Kids LiveWell program have developed kids' menus focused on fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy and limited sugar and sodium content.
Menus are third-party verified and must meet certain nutritional requirements. For example, meals - defined as an entrée, side and beverage - must be under 600 calories, contain two or more servings of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein or low-fat dairy. The menu must also offer at least one other individual item that is 200 calories or less and and all healthy items must be visibly promoted.
Burger King, for example, offers a full kids meal that includes a hamburger, apple fries with caramel dipping sauce and a fat-free milk that comes in at 420 calories.
Denny's spaghetti with marinara sauce, steamed broccoli and apple juice also clocks in at 440 calories.
And Au Bon Pain's half turkey and swiss sandwich with a small fruit cup and orange juice weighs in at 500 calories.
More than 15,000 restaurant locations from 19 chains will be part of the inaugural launch of the Kids LiveWell program. Parents can find out which chains have signed on by visiting http://www.healthydiningfinder.com/kidslivewell/index.
Here are the inaugural brands registered so far:
Au Bon Pain
Carrabba's Italian Grill
Chevys Fresh Mex
Chili's Grill & Bar
Corner Bakery Café
El Pollo Loco
Joe's Crab Shack
T-Bones Great American Eatery