The National Restaurant Association has earned the 2012 ASAE Gold Circle Award for its media relations campaign launching the groundbreaking Kids LiveWell program. The voluntary industry initiative provides parents with a growing selection of healthful children’s menu choices when dining out, 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.

Since its launch in 2011, the Kids LiveWell program has tripled in membership. Restaurant chains participating in the program include Au Bon Pain, Corner Bakery Cafe, Denny's, Burger King, Burgerville, El Pollo Loco, Sonic, Pizza Fusion, and Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes. Click here to view the full list of participating restaurants.

“The National Restaurant Association created Kids LiveWell to help restaurants highlight their healthful children’s meal choices and tell the industry’s positive story of creating innovative solutions to provide ‘better-for-you’ menu options,” said Sue Hensley, senior vice president of public affairs communications for the Association. “Restaurant companies from across the industry have been excited to join the program, and the positive feedback from consumers has reinforced the demand for such an initiative.”

The National Restaurant Association launched Kids LiveWell with 19 restaurant brands. The initial rollout at the National Press Club included an interactive tasting event with chefs from the inaugural brand leaders providing samples of their new kids’ menu items to children and parents in attendance, as well as satellite and radio media tours featuring Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney and Director of Nutrition and Healthy Living Joy Dubost, Ph.D., R.D.

“Fueled by this impressive start just eight months ago, the program has grown to more than 70 brands representing more than 22,000 locations nationwide,” Hensley said.

Kids LiveWell was developed by the National Restaurant Association in collaboration with Healthy Dining, a group of registered dietitians who have worked closely with the restaurant industry for 24 years. To join the program, restaurants agree to offer and promote a selection of items that meet strict nutrition criteria based on leading health organizations’ scientific recommendations, including the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines. Healthy Dining’s team of registered dietitians works with restaurants to identify and validate menu choices that meet Kids LiveWell criteria.

Read more about health and nutrition.

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