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National Restaurant Association - Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association launches healthy dining initiative

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Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association launches healthy dining initiative

The Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association today unveiled a statewide initiative to give consumers access to more healthful dining options.

Eat Healthy Mississippi links restaurants and farmers, thanks to a USDA grant through the state agriculture and commerce department. The program helps restaurants add locally grown and healthful food to their menus and helps farmers market local specialty crops, says MHRA Executive Director Mike Cashion.

"There are hundreds and hundred of ways restaurants can incorporate local products into their menus," he says.

The campaign, announced at a news conference this morning with Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and other state officials, also aims to provide increased nutrition information to consumers.

Participating restaurants will receive nutrition and consultation services through Healthy Dining, a National Restaurant Association partner. Healthy Dining will help restaurants identify and market menu items that meet strict nutrition criteria. Those items will be featured on HealthyDiningFinder.com.

Restaurants that participate in the National Restaurant Association's Kids LiveWell program also are featured on HealthyDiningFinder.com. Those restaurants are committed to providing healthful meal items for children, particularly those that help increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy items.

"It's proof positive that we are being proactive to offer healthier options," Cashion says.

National Restaurant Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney said MHRA's involvement in Eat Healthy Mississippi was a great example of "forward thinking around our healthy living challenges."

Nutrition — particularly kids' nutrition — and local sourcing top the NRA's list of hot menu trends for this year.

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