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National Restaurant Association - Extreme Pita: Plating up good nutrition, creativity for kids

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Extreme Pita: Plating up good nutrition, creativity for kids

In the latest installment of this series, the National Restaurant Association profiles Extreme Pita and some of the healthful items it has created since joining the Kids LiveWell initiative.

At Extreme Pita, offering kids lower-sodium, reduced-calorie items with a side of fun is the special of the day.

Ever since the quickservice sandwich chain joined the National Restaurant Association's (NRA) Kids LiveWellSM initiative in October 2011, its interest in creating more healthful kids options is even more "extreme" than ever before, the company said.

The NRA rolled out Kids LiveWell in July 2011 in collaboration with San Diego-based nutrition consultancy Healthy Dining. The program promotes foods that meet qualifying criteria based on leading health organizations' scientific recommendations. Consumers can identify those healthful menu items at healthydiningfinder.com and via the free Kids LiveWell mobile app for iPhone and Android cell phones.

"When we designed our kids' menu offerings, we consciously selected ingredients that were low in sodium yet delivered a great tasting, fun-to-eat meal," said Ashley Moore, the chain's U.S. marketing manager. "Extreme Pita believes in inspiring healthful eating by providing healthful options that are not boring."

To encourage its kid customers' natural creativity, the 34-unit chain gives them the opportunity to select their own toppings for the small-sized pitas and flat-baked pita bread items. The items were created specifically to fit Kids LiveWell's nutritional guidelines.

Currently, children under 12 can choose from four Kids LiveWell meals with fun names. They include: Sweet Chicken Little, BBQ4U, Beefosaurus Rex and Fee-Fi-Fo-Hummus. Calorie counts on each one range between 290 and 310. Rounding out the healthful meal are water and baked pita chips.

According to Moore, Kids LiveWell is a good partnership for Extreme Pita because the chain always has been dedicated to providing tasty, healthful options. She adds that feedback received from parents on the new menu items has been particularly positive.

The chain says it is actively promoting its participation in the Kids LiveWell initiative through social media and in-store decal postings at its stores' front entrances.

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