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Kids LiveWell gains an app and 3 partners

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The National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program, which was developed in partnership with Healthy Dining to help parents find healthy restaurant options, has more than quadrupled its list of foodservice partners since its launch in 2011. The NRA announced the addition of three partners as well as the launch of a smartphone application designed to help parents locate healthy restaurants while on the go.

The app, which is available in Google Play and the Apple App Store, allows users to search for participating restaurants by location or restaurant name. Each restaurant’s page lists the healthy options available for children and their nutrition facts. Some restaurants offer online ordering through the app.

NRA President and CEO Dawn Sweeney announced the launch of the app at a news conference on the exhibit floor of NRA Show 2012, which will conclude Tuesday. Sweeney also announced three partners that joined the program this week: Chick-fil-A, Applebee’s and Kraft Foods, which is Kids LiveWell’s first nonrestaurant partner.

Chick-fil-A dietitian Jodie Worrell said the company has “worked hard in recent years to broaden our menu with well-balanced and more nutritious choices.” In January, the restaurant began offering grilled chicken nuggets on its children’s menu, which Worrell said makes Chick-fil-A one of the first in the quickservice industry to include a grilled option. Worrell touted not only the nutrition of the restaurant’s offerings for children, but the taste and variety of choices. “These healthy dining items are really not the drab, dull items that you think of from the past,” she said, citing the “artistry” exercised by chefs when creating the healthy fare.

Mike Miller, director of integrated marketing communications for Kraft Foodservice, said that “Kids LiveWell is a great fit for Kraft and the customers we serve.” Miller emphasized the color and flavor of the company’s healthy offerings, as well as the fact that they are all easy to execute from a back-of-house perspective.

In order to participate in Kids LiveWell, a restaurant must offer at least one children’s meal option — including an entree, side item and beverage — that is 600 calories or less. The meal must include at least two servings of fruit, vegetables, lean protein or low-fat dairy. The program is now represented in all 50 states, with 96 participating brands.