Healthy kids' meals trending in the restaurant industry

Big-name restaurant chains plan to offer healthier menu choices for children meeting the National Restaurant Association's Kids LiveWell (KWL) standards. Applebee's, Bonefish Grill, Carrabba's, Denny's, Firebirds, IHOP, Joe's Crab Shack, Outback Steakhouse, Panda Express, Buffalo Wild Wings, Burger King, Chipotle, First Watch, Golden Corral, Silver Diner, and Subway have committed to offering menu options nationally that meet the KLW standards. These additional brands add more than 45,000 participating restaurants to the program, quadrupling the number of outlets providing KLW meal options.

Restaurants participating in the voluntary KLW program commit to offering healthful menu items for children with a focus on increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy while limiting unhealthy fats, added sugars, and sodium. Every restaurant must have two meals and two sides that meet the KLW criteria and a default kind's menu beverage policy that includes only water, low-fat or non-fat milk, and 100% fruit or vegetable juice.

The widespread adoption of KLW by so many national restaurant chains that are popular with families with children will raise the expectation of parents to find healthful kid menu options at any restaurant or location-based entertainment venue offering food they visit with their families.

Food service establishments wanting to find out how to join KLW can find the information here.