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Michelle Obama partners with Chain Restaurants to promote healthier food

On Thursday 9/15/2011, Michelle Obama announced her latest initiative -- a new partnership with Darden Restaurants and the Partnership for a Healthier America that will make kids’ and regular menus healthier at chain restaurants. Darden, which owns Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze and LongHorn Steakhouse, is the world’s largest full-service restaurant chain with 1,900 restaurants in 49 states.

According to the White House, Darden is working toward a 10 percent reduction of calories and sodium over the next 10 years. On kids’ menus, fruits or vegetables will replace the typical side dish of French fries and 1-percent milk will be offered as the standard beverage choice instead of soda. Other changes include prominently displaying these healthier options and not including soda on kids’ menus. In a statement, Obama said, “Darden is working to make the healthy choice the easy choice.”

Kids’ Menus starting by July 2012

  • Guarantee a fruit or vegetable will be the default side for every kids’ menu item at those restaurants offering a default side on the children’s menu: Bahama Breeze, LongHorn Steakhouse and Red Lobster.
  • 1% milk will be the default beverage, provided automatically if no alternate beverage is requested. Milk will be prominently promoted on the menu and made available with free refills.
  • Food illustrations on the menu will promote the healthy choices for meals and drinks.
  • Healthier menu options will be more prominently displayed when possible.
  • Carbonated beverages will not be displayed on children’s menus.
  • Improve the nutritional content of one or more children’s menu items to provide equal or less than 600 calories, 30% of total calories from fat, 10% of total calories from saturated fat and 600 mg of sodium.

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