First Lady Michelle Obama has done it again, gathering more steam on her war path to make American kids eat in a more healthy way. Now Darden Restaurants Inc., which includes the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and four other restaurant chains, has agreed to reduce the calories and sodium in all of its meals by 10% over the next five years, and by 20% over the next 10 years.
New Menu Plan
The plan, as Darden Restaurants explains it, is for all kids’ meals to come with a side of fruit or a vegetable and eight ounces of 1% milk, unless an adult specifically requests a substitute. As Drew Madsen of Darden told the AP,
“We think it’s the most comprehensive health and wellness commitment in the industry.”
The Darden plan also includes making sure to illustrate on the menu the healthy choices for meals and drinks available for kids. When possible, they also plan to display their healthy meal choices more prominently.
New Restaurant Trend
This new promise from Darden is part of the trend by restaurants to serve healthier food. Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative coupled with a general appreciation for healthy eating, more Americans are looking for healthy alternatives when they go out to eat. McDonald’s Burger King, Chili’s, IHOP and Friendly’s have all gotten into the spirit, replacing French fries in children’s meals with fruit and placing pictures of healthy food items more prominently on their menus.The White House domestic policy adviser, Melody Barnes, said that Darden’s announcement shows a “full-throated endorsement” of the type of changes that Mrs. Obama has been asking American restaurants to make.