Michelle Obama, Olive Garden, Red Lobster vow healthier kids’ meals


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Olive Garden, home of the “Never Ending Pasta Bowl” and Red Lobster of cheddar biscuit fame have both agreed -– with a push from Michelle Obama -- to serve healthier food to children.

Parent company Darden Restaurants -– the largest full-service restaurant company in the world -- said Thursday it would cut the calorie and sodium content on its menus by 10% in five years and 20% in a decade. The company also owns LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and The Capital Grille.


The pledge is a “breakthrough moment” for the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” campaign to reduce childhood obesity -– an effort that has already enlisted retail giant Walmart and pop superstar Beyonce.

The restaurants –- except for The Capital Grille and Seasons 52, which don’t have children’s menus -– will make fruit or vegetable side dishes and an 8 oz. serving of 1% low-fat milk standard with kids’ meals. The milk comes with free refills, but adults have to specifically request soda and French fries.

Orlando, Fla.-based Darden’s serves more than 400 million meals a year at its nearly 2,000 locations.

Images of food on kids’ menus will promote healthy choices; carbonated beverages won’t be shown. The changes, announced with Obama at an Olive Garden in Maryland, will be fully implemented by July, the company said.


Healthier fast food for kids?


Don’t market junk food to kids, doctors say

-- Tiffany Hsu