Posted October 8, 2013 by Michael J. Kora in Travel

Eating out this summer? How kids are now eating healthier at restaurants

As many households make their travel and leisure plans this year, they are happily discovering that a expanding quantity of restaurants &ndash in their hometowns and at their vacation destinations &ndash are providing much more healthful and fantastic-tasting menu possibilities for kids.

With consumers developing far more interested in better-for-you menu items, restaurants are responding to the demand with offerings that households will take pleasure in.

It is broadly recognized, and National Restaurant Association information confirmed earlier this year, that chefs and buyers are on the exact same page when it comes to better kid nutrition at restaurants. Healthful children&rsquo meals have turn out to be a best trend.

Not only are restaurant operators increasingly committed to supplying healthful meals for youngsters, they&rsquore displaying it in proactive techniques each and every day. One particular example of that is the industry&rsquos recent participation in the inaugural Little ones Recipe Challenge. Held earlier this spring, the contest, designed by the National Restaurant Association in partnership with McCormick For Chefs, the Meals Away From House Division of McCormick & Company, shone a spotlight on the foodservice sector&rsquos commitment to providing healthful, flavorful menu choices for children.

Flavor is often the missing link to healthier consuming, so McCormick For Chefs, children&rsquos nutrition advocate, was the excellent companion to help business efforts to raise awareness about creating youngsters&rsquo meals that are nutritionally balanced and fantastic tasting. Functioning to inspire healthier selections via flavor, the Children Recipe Challenge showcased how foodservice pros can effortlessly create wholesome recipes that market memorable consuming experiences for little ones. Chefs and operators from large national chains like Qdoba Mexican Grill, to smaller sized independent operations like Boston Lobster Feast, actively competed in the challenge highlighting innovative approaches to enthuse younger diners about eating well.

All of the challenge&rsquos recipes have been required to meet nutrition criteria set forth by the National Restaurant Association&rsquos Little ones LiveWell initiative, which is based on the 2010 USDA Dietary Suggestions. The program&rsquos aim is to boost the consumption of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, entire grains and low-fat dairy, even though limiting unhealthy fats, sugar and sodium.

Judged by a combination of sector authorities and 30 potential kid customers, the contest&rsquos &ldquoindustry tested, kid authorized&rdquo approach resulted in the professionals selecting the challenge&rsquos finalists and the children picking the ultimate winners. Winners in 4 categories earned bragging rights and had been honored at the recent National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago.

The winning recipes incorporated some nutritious and innovative suggestions, such as utilizing spaghetti squash instead of normal spaghetti noodles, serving broccoli and sweet potatoes as sides, preparing chicken fingers coated in lightly salted potato chips alternatively of classic breading, and substituting entire wheat tortillas for white flour tortillas or bread for wraps.

The Kids LiveWell initiative, which debuted practically two years ago in July 2011, began with a handful of participants, but these days boasts a membership of almost 140 restaurant brands in over 40,000 locations that are committed to providing more healthful meals for young children. In reality, restaurants in every state all through the country now provide very good-tasting options as portion of the initiative. Healthier meals can increasingly be found not only at independent restaurants, but also national chains and even museums and theme parks.

Launched in collaboration with a group of registered dietitians from the San Diego-primarily based Wholesome Dining Nutrition Consultancy, Kids LiveWell menu options can be found on Healthful Dining&rsquos HealthyDiningFinder.com or by downloading the cost-free Children LiveWell smartphone app.

Through the system, parents have a single a lot more tool they can use in shaping healthful lifestyles for their kids. So when mealtime comes about and dining out is an option, take benefit of the healthful menu selections becoming served in America&rsquos restaurants. You&rsquoll be glad you did.

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Michael J. Kora