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National Restaurant Association - Cracker Barrel offers homestyle, healthful kids' options

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Cracker Barrel offers homestyle, healthful kids' options

Thousands of restaurants around the country are participating in Kids LiveWell, a program developed and initiated by the National Restaurant Association in collaboration with Healthy Dining.

The program, which debuted last July, helps parents and children make more healthful choices when dining out. Participating restaurants offer kids' meals that focus on increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy items, while limiting the amount of unhealthful fats, sugars and sodium they eat.

As part of an occasional series on Kids LiveWell participants, here's a look at Cracker Barrel's Kids LiveWell offerings.

Cracker Barrel: Homemade and healthful

Though primarily known for its hearty home-style meals served up in generous-sized portions, the Lebanon, Tenn.-based Cracker Barrel chain wants its customers to know that offering hearty and healthy meals -- especially when it comes to feeding kids -- is not mutually exclusive.

Citing its Kid's "Made from Scratch Chicken n' Dumplins" meal as an example, the chain said the healthful entrée weighs in at just 270 calories, and its "Grilled Chicken Tenders", served with a side of corn, tips the scales at 310 calories. The items were just two the chain brought to the table when it signed up to participate in Kids Live Well last year.

"The Chicken n' Dumplins were the biggest hit with kids, and parents were pretty surprised to find out such a hearty meal could be healthy, too," said Vince Tyler, Cracker Barrel's product development manager.

Today, even more healthful options, including a vegetable plate featuring 72 potential variations, are available. Additionally, virtually all of Cracker Barrel's kids' meals are available with healthful sides.

Chris Ciavarra, the chain's senior vice president of marketing, says that with the chain' focus on providing healthful options for its young customers, "The Kids LiveWell program is a great fit with the Cracker Barrel brand. Healthy options for kids have been a part of our menu for years and we will continue to develop choices that not only appeal to children, but also meet the guidelines of this healthful initiative."

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