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Corner Bakery and zpizza Among Fast Casual Brand Leaders in New Healthy Kid Menu Initiative

 

Healthier eating habits as an American agenda has percolated and been hyped by the national B2C news media for several years now. Although many consumers say they want healthier options when dining out, few take advantage, according to a November study on healthy dining out trends by Technomic, a Chicago-based foodservice research and consulting firm.

Although the dietary Mecca is often elusive for many away-from-home diners, it remains high on the list of priorities, and is a challenge, for quick serve and full-service restaurant chains, alike. Healthier options for kids, whose parental influence is more benign and wholesome when it comes to eating habits, has taken center stage for the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

The NRA launched the Kids LiveWell program July 13 in collaboration with Healthy Dining.  The initiatives aims to provide families with more healthy dining options for their kids. Corner Bakery Cafe, a 119-unit fast casual chain, which is part of the Roark Capital family of franchise brands, and zpizza are two of the Kids LiveWell inaugural brand leaders.

Founded in Laguna Beach, Calif., and with more than 95 stores, zpizza serves up pizza, salad and sandwiches with a focus on health attributes, such as organic and additive-free ingredients. Dallas-based Corner Bakery launched its "Under 600" menu options in 2010, and has been a innovative in providing healthier menu options for several years.

The 19 Kids LiveWell inaugural brand leaders include Au Bon Pain, Bonefish Grill, Burger King, Burgerville, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Chevys Fresh Mex, Chili's Grill & Bar, Corner Bakery Cafe, Cracker Barrel, Denny's, El Pollo Loco, Friendly's, IHOP, Joe's Crab Shack, Outback Steakhouse, Silver Diner, Sizzler, T-Bones Great American Eatery and zpizza.

Restaurants agree to provide and promote healthy options based on the 2010 USDA Dietary guidelines, and other health organizations' scientific recommendations, when joining Kids LiveWell brand leaders.

"Zpizza’s mission is to provide flavorful, affordable, healthier for you, pizza, sandwiches, pastas and salads made with high quality ingredients to food lovers around the world, including kids and teens," says Chris Bright, president of zpizza.

Bright says the program aligns with the company's values.

Healthy Dining's team of registered dietitians has worked with participating restaurants to identify and validate the menu choices that meet the Kids LiveWell criteria. The criteria include the following components:

  • Offer a children's meal (an entree, side and beverage) with 600 calories or less; two servings of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and/or low-fat dairy; with limits on sodium, fats and sugar;
  • Offer at least one other individual item with 200 calories or less, with limits on fats, sugars and sodium, plus contain a serving of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein or low-fat dairy;
  • Display or make available upon request the nutrition profile of the healthful menu options; and
  • Promote/identify the healthful menu options.

"Kids LiveWell empowers parents to confidently make informed decisions about their children's meals as part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle," said Anita Jones-Mueller, MPH, and founder of Healthy Dining.

"We believe the same goes for kids and teens, and even more so, getting them thinking about and interested in food that is flavorful and good for you at a young age, which can set the stage for lifelong eating habits," says Bright.

Irvine-Calif.-based zpizza also offers kids cooking classes. "Kids learn how to make their own pizzas with healthy, organic ingredients and can even become certified junior pizza chefs," adds Bright.

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(07-15-11)

Source: National Restaurant Association, Kandessa Media

Copyright: Kandessa Media. All rights reserved.

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This story appears in:  Menu and Food Trends

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