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The National Restaurant Association (NRA) announced the winners of the second annual Kids LiveWell Recipe Challenge, an initiative showcasing restaurants’ culinary ingenuity for creating healthful menu options for children. Sponsored by founding partner McCormick For Chefs, the Food Away From Home business of McCormick & Company, and Healthy Dining’s team of registered dietitians, the Challenge recognizes delicious and nutritious recipes from children’s menus at restaurants and foodservice establishments nationwide.
The Kids LiveWell Recipe Challenge involved an “industry tested, kid approved” approach, with a panel of food and nutrition professionals selecting finalists and approximately 30 children choosing the winners at a tasting event at the McCormick World of Flavors store in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Saturday. Kids chose the following restaurants and foodservice companies as winners:
· O’Charley’s Cloudy with a Chance of Spaghetti and Meatball Pizza (Multi-unit restaurant company with 20 or more units): The Cloudy with a Chance of Spaghetti and Meatball Pizza has grilled sirloin meatballs and spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and whole-wheat pizza dough served with apple juice. O'Charley's is a casual-dining restaurant chain in the U.S., with more than 230 company-owned locations and headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.
· Bean Sprouts Café & Cooking School’s Do-Re-For-Me Sandwich (Independent restaurant or company with fewer than 20 units): Organic multigrain oat bread spread with sunflower butter and organic strawberry jam and cut into piano-key sized/shaped pieces, served with a skewer of grapes and water. The pumpernickel bread is cut into smaller pieces and placed on top of the wheat bread to represent black piano keys. Bean Sprouts Café & Cooking School offers playful, hip, and healthful options for dining with kids and has locations in Seattle, Washington and Bay Area, California.
· Sysco Hampton Road’s Kids Quesa WOW Dilla (Contract Managed Food Service): Incorporating whole wheat, lean protein, and vegetables, the Kids Quesa WOW Dilla is a chicken quesadilla with broccoli, chicken, peppers, and corn, served with a side of grapes and water. Serving approximately 425,000 customers across the U.S., Canada, the Bahamas, and Ireland, Sysco is the global leader in selling, marketing, and distributing food products, equipment, and supplies to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, lodging establishments, and other customers who prepare meals away from home.
· UW Health’s Swimming Taco (Independent Noncommercial Food Service): One way to get kids to eat fish is to serve it in a whole-wheat corn tortilla, and pair it with diced mango, cabbage, and a hint of lime and cilantro. The swimming taco is served with grapes on the side and a frozen banana avocado smoothie. UW Health is comprised of the academic health care entities of the University of Wisconsin-Madison: UW Medical Foundation, UW Hospital and Clinics, and UW School of Medicine and Public Health.
“We are thrilled by the positive response and excitement we continue to receive from the restaurant and foodservice industry for the Kids LiveWell Recipe Challenge,” says Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the NRA. “The Challenge is a great way to celebrate the industry’s hard work to create and provide healthful options to children. Congratulations to all of the winners on their dishes that are not only inventive, but nutritious and officially kid-approved!”
“The Kids LiveWell Recipe Challenge helps to inspire foodservice chefs to create healthier children’s meals,” says Megan Ford, vice president of sales and marketing of US Industrial Group, McCormick & Company. “It’s important for kids to understand that healthy food can still taste great, and the creative, flavorful entries prove just that.”
“The Kids LiveWell Recipe Challenge brings tremendous momentum to restaurants as they continue to add more menu choices with health and taste in mind. The Recipe Challenge is an important initiative that helps to contribute to a healthier generation of children,” says Anita Jones-Mueller, president of Healthy Dining.
To participate in the Kids LiveWell Recipe Challenge, restaurant and foodservice operators submitted recipes that meet the nutrition guidelines from the National Restaurant Association’s award-winning Kids LiveWell program.
Kids LiveWell Recipe Challenge winners will be recognized at the 2014 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago in May.
The Kids LiveWell program launched in July 2011 in collaboration with Healthy Dining to help parents and children find healthful menu options when dining out. To date, more than 145 brands representing 42,000 restaurant locations nationwide participate in the program.