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9 major restaurant chains to offer healthy kids' meals

Company announces plans to close dozens of Applebee's, 100 IHOP locations
Posted at 10:53 AM, Oct 11, 2022

Nine big-name chains are going to start offering healthier choices for children.

Applebee's, Bonefish Grill, Carrabba's, Denny's, Firebirds, IHOP, Joe's Crab Shack, Outback Steakhouse, and Panda Express have pledged to make healthier options.

The recent White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health is part of what encouraged more restaurants to get behind this.

“If we've learned anything in the last two years, I think it's that our health is important, and our children's health is important, and so I think restaurants really wanted to come together and make a commitment that really has better options and choices for kids on the menu,” said Laura Abshire, director of food and sustainable policy with the National Restaurant Association.

The National Restaurant Association worked with third-party registered dietitians to develop kids' meal options. Two meals and two sides will have to meet its latest nutrition guidance for added sugar, sodium, saturated and trans fat and calories.

“You could see anything from a whole wheat tortilla with a good protein in it and beans and rice and a milk to, if you were a sandwich shop, possibly a small sandwich with fruit and juice,” said Abshire.

Abshire said there will always be kids who won’t like the options or want to eat off of the kid's menu, but restaurants have a role to play in giving them those healthy choices.

The National Restaurant Association is currently working on getting more restaurants on board. It’s also working with restaurants on how the healthy items will be labeled on their menu.

There will eventually be an online database as well where you can see all the participating locations.