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Kids LiveWell…and Eat Well too! #KidsLiveWell

If you’re busy parent like me, you don’t eat at home as often as you should and therefore your kids don’t either…yeah yeah, queue the parental guilt. Since it’s tough cooking whole food meals from scratch (which is my preference) in a limited amount of time, I’m always on the lookout for alternatives that will save us time and also provide my kids the nutrient dense food that they need with the whole food ingredients that I want.  Although we eat outside the home more often than some feel comfortable with, it’s rarely fast food.  My family and I enjoy sit down restaurants, ranging from fast casual to fine dining and I’m always scouring the menus for the best adult meals and asking for child-sized portions.  Most kids menus are loaded with chicken fingers, macaroni, pizza, and other elements of the S.A.D. that my children rarely eat.  As many of my followers know we deal with some food allergies and intolerences so picking the right items is critical.

Enter Kids LiveWell, the National Restaurant Associations answer for parents asking the question, How do I feed my children healthy meals at restaurants? Once I read about the Kids LiveWell initiative I was excited to learn more.  Kids LiveWell invited Eat The Burbs to the National Restaurant Association show to learn more about their program and to meet their partner Robert Irvine from Food Network, who is super cute in person by the way.  🙂

The requirements for a healthy kids meal are pretty reasonable and provide the guideline for restaurants to create menus for children that parents can feel good about.  There are currently more than 40,000 restaurants participating nationwide and more signing up everyday.  Do yourself a favor and download the app to your phone, it’s been helpful for us!


Kids LiveWell Nutrition Criteria for Full Kids’ Meals (entrée, side option and beverage):

  • 600 calories or less
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total fat
  • ≤ 10% of calories from saturated fat
  • < 0.5 grams trans fat (artificial trans fat only)
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total sugars (added and naturally occurring)
  • ≤ 770 mg of sodium
  • 2 or more food groups (see below)
Kids LiveWell Nutrition Criteria for Side Items:
  • 200 calories or less
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total fat
  • ≤ 10% of calories from saturated fat
  • < 0.5 grams trans fat (artificial trans fat only)
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total sugars (added and naturally occurring)
  • ≤ 250 mg of sodium
  • 1 food group (see below)
Full meals must include two sources & sides must include one source of the following:

  • Fruit: > ½ cup (includes 100% juice)
  • Vegetable: > ½ cup
  • Whole grains:  contains whole grains
  • Lean protein (skinless white meat poultry, fish/seafood, beef, pork, tofu, beans, egg):  > 2 ounces meat, 1 egg or egg equivalent, 1 oz nuts/seeds/dry bean/peas (lean as defined by USDA)
  • Lower-fat dairy (1% or skim milk and dairy):  > ½ cup (while not considered low-fat, 2% milk is allowed if included in the meal and the meal still fits the full meal criteria)
Kids LiveWell partnered with Healthy Dining Finder to create a smartphone app and web interface that make it easy for parents to locate restaurants with healthy kids meals on the go.  You can also find some of the participating restaurants here.  Follow Kids LiveWell on Twitter (#KidsLiveWell) and Like their Facebook page to keep up with all the changes happening with Kids LiveWell.


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