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National Restaurant Association - Silver Diner goes for gold with healthful kids’ meals

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Silver Diner goes for gold with healthful kids’ meals

In the latest installment of this series, the National Restaurant Association profiles Silver Diner and some of the healthful items it has created for the Kids LiveWellSM initiative.

Silver Diner's youngest customers have helped choose approximately 20 items featured on the 13-unit chain's Kids LiveWell menu, spokesman Joe Howell, says.

Kids LiveWell, created in July 2011 by the National Restaurant Association in collaboration with Healthy Dining, a San Diego-based nutrition consultancy, promotes menu items that meet qualifying criteria based on leading health organizations' scientific recommendations. The initiative, of which Silver Diner is an inaugural member, has more than quadrupled its membership since its debut last year.

"We have an obligation to teach kids how to make healthier choices," Howell says, noting that 70 percent of Silver Diner's youthful customers choose their own orders when dining out at the restaurants.

The chain's healthful Kids LiveWell entrée choices include four variations of sliders: grass-fed beef, turkey, bison or black bean veggie, and entrees such as teriyaki salmon, teriyaki chicken breast or spaghetti with tomato sauce. A variety of vegetable and fruit sides also are offered, as well as soy milk or 100-percent fruit juices in orange, apple and grape flavors.

Before introducing the Kids LiveWell menu, 60 percent of Silver Diner's kid customers were ordering French fries as a side dish, compared with 30 percent today. Now the remaining 70 percent order a fruit or vegetable side dish, Howell says.

Howell says Silver Diner has gotten the word out about its healthful kids' menu via social media, on its website, in press releases, with a TV ad and through in-store collateral that makes it easy to find the options. Additionally, the restaurants hold a kids' night every Tuesday that is themed to fitness and nutrition, featuring educational games and activities.

Consumers can identify Kids LiveWell menu items at healthydiningfinder.com.

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