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National Restaurant Association - Chili’s: Peppering kids’ menu with healthful items

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Chili’s: Peppering kids’ menu with healthful items

In the latest installment of this series, the National Restaurant Association profiles Chili's Grill & Bar and some of the healthful items it offers as a member of the Kids LiveWellSM program.

For Chili's, one of the country's first dinnerhouse chains to post nutritional information on its website, joining the National Restaurant Association's Kids LiveWell initiative was as easy as pie.

"We had healthy kids' options on our menu already, so we could highlight what we were already doing," spokeswoman Julie Flowers said. "It helps us show we are a family-oriented chain that supports our community."

Flowers added that the Dallas-based chain has received a lot of positive feedback from guests because of efforts made to offer more healthful kids' items.

"Showing adults that kids' meals don't always have to include burgers and fries is comforting [to them]," she said.

Among Chili's Kids LiveWell qualifying items are the children's portion of grilled chicken, served either as a platter with steamed broccoli and orange juice or with corn on the cob and 2-percent low-fat milk, or in a sandwich with corn on the cob or broccoli and orange juice. A side order of pineapple also is available.

Chili's, which joined Kids LiveWell as an inaugural member in July 2011, has been promoting the program with a special QR barcode placed on the back of the chain's activity book/menu. The barcode takes users to the chain's micro-website, which is especially designed for kids. Chili's serves up approximately 20 million of the activity books annually. Other promotions include a social media campaign and strategic placement of the Kids LiveWell logo throughout its 1,500 stores nationwide.

Kids LiveWell, which debuted last year, has more than quadrupled its membership in that time. The program was created in partnership with San Diego-based nutrition consultancy Healthy Dining. It promotes menu items that meet qualifying criteria based on leading health organizations' scientific recommendations. Consumers can identify those healthful menu items by visiting healthydiningfinder.com.

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