The trend: Hotels, restaurants and theme parks are making kids’ menus healthier. According to the National Restaurant Association, 30,000 restaurants nationwide, including Applebee’s, Arby’s, Boston Market, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Denny’s and Sonic, are part of the association’s Kids LiveWell program that helps parents and children choose healthy meal items when dining out. Restaurants that join Kids LiveWell, established in 2011, work with a team of dietitians to identify menu options that meet nutrition criteria designed by the USDA Dietary Guidelines and other leading health organizations.
Hotels and theme parks are going healthy, too. Hyatt Hotels have introduced a “For Kids By Kids” menu where children taste test (and approve) healthy eats. Fairmont hotels are upgrading kids’ menus with local ingredients. Disney’s Be Our Guest Restauranthas replaced fries in kids’ meals with fruits and veggies and offers Mickey Mouse-shaped turkey meatloaf, orange ketchup made from carrots, grilled fish, and whole-grain macaroni and rice pilaf. And Vail’s Keystone Resort offers kids chicken tacos instead of cheeseburgers.
Since one in three American kids is now overweight, putting them at risk for serious medical issues, according to the American Heart Association, here’s hoping this is a trend that doesn’t go out of style.