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National Restaurant Association - Tony Roma's racks up healthful kids' meals

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Tony Roma's racks up healthful kids' meals

In the latest installment of this series, the National Restaurant Association profiles Tony Roma's and the healthful items offered as part of the Kids LiveWellSM program.

Tony Roma's makes no bones about its interest in offering more healthful menu options to its kid customers.

The casual-dining chain says that in initial tests at two locations in Florida, menu items served as part of the National Restaurant Association's Kids LiveWell initiative received positive responses. As a result, qualifying items are available at corporate locations in Miami, Las Vegas and Palm Desert, Calif. They also were featured in a presentation at the company's annual franchise conference. According to spokeswoman Monique Yeager, the company anticipates rolling them out to the franchisees in the spring.

"As the childhood obesity epidemic continues to rise, it's important for kids to have low-calorie, healthy options when dining out with their families," Yeager says. Tony Roma's has promoted its Kids LiveWell-approved menu on such social media sites as Facebrook and Twitter as well as on in-store signage.

The two approved items on the menu are a grilled chicken breast taco on a flour tortilla with Asian salad mix, a cheese blend and broccoli, and linguine tossed in marinara sauce, topped with shaved asiago cheese and served with broccoli. It is accompanied by citrus apple salad. Both options come with Go-Gurt, Tony Roma's strawberry frozen yogurt in a tube, and bottled water.

Kids LiveWell, which debuted in July 2011, has more than quadrupled its membership since then. The program, created in partnership with San Diego-based nutrition consultancy Healthy Dining, 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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