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National Restaurant Association - Ask the Nutritionist: With Kids Recipe Challenge, everyone wins

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Ask the Nutritionist: With Kids Recipe Challenge, everyone wins

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. However Philadelphia, New York City, Mississippi, and California are among the locations reporting declining childhood obesity rates as a result of taking comprehensive action to address the epidemic. The restaurant industry has also been taking a proactive role in addressing childhood obesity by providing more healthful options, such as the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program.

We know that children’s nutrition is a hot and growing trend within the industry. In fact, healthful kids’ meals ranked number 3 out of 226 identified trends in the “What’s Hot in 2013” survey of more than 1,800 professional chefs.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) recently announced, in conjunction with McCormick for Chefs, the launch of the first Kids Recipe Challenge, which is intended to showcase restaurants with creative healthy children’s menu options. In addition, restaurants uniquely present and promote these options in order to encourage kids to order these items. Many restaurants have already moved forward with diversifying the children’s menu by offering delicious, healthier options and the Kids Recipe Challenge wants to recognize those restaurants that have done an exceptional job. All restaurant or foodservice operators are eligible to apply.

To enter, restaurant operators and chefs from independents to the large chains can submit their favorite kids’ recipes, along with nutritional analysis of the recipe, to the NRA by January 17, 2013. Submissions must be a full meal, which includes an entrée, side dish, and beverage. The full meal must meet the following nutrition criteria which is the same as the NRA’s Kids LiveWell program.

Kids LiveWell Nutrition Criteria for Full Kids' Meals (entrée, side option and beverage) are the following:

• 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

Must include 2 servings of recommended food groups - low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains.

The winners of the challenge will receive $1,500 and an all-expenses paid trip to the National Restaurant Association Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show, to be held May 18-21, 2013. Plus the winner will be recognized through public relations and marketing efforts of the NRA.

Don’t miss this opportunity to showcase your culinary skills and promote good nutrition for kids! For more information on the Kids Recipe Challenge visit http://www.restaurant.org/recipe/.

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