McDonald's New York Tri-State area restaurants today launched the McDonald's New York Metro Nutrition Network, a new community outreach initiative to provide funds to local organizations for grassroots nutrition programs.

Through the program, New York Tri-State McDonald's restaurant owners are offering seed money to help local organizations bring nutrition information and guidance to the communities they serve.

This initiative is an extension of McDonald's national commitment to offer improved nutrition choices.

In addition to providing seed funding to community organizations, McDonald's will host a series of offline MeetUps throughout the Tri-State area where registered dietitians can engage directly with families and individuals seeking nutrition information.

"As local business owners, we are committed to giving back to the communities we serve and this program helps us bring McDonald's nutrition commitments to our customers," says Anthony Scari, president of the McDonald's New York Tri-State Owner/Operators Association.

"We look forward to celebrating those organizations whose projects help people make informed food choices."

The McDonald's "Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choice" initiative strives to help customers make nutrition-minded choices.  

For example, McDonald's new Happy Meal includes both fruit (about 1/4 cup apple slices) and a new smaller size French Fries (1.1 ounces). 

In support of the new Happy Meal, McDonald's has launched McDonald's Happy Meal Chefs Program, which gives parents and kids ages 8-11 the opportunity to collaborate with McDonald's own Executive Chef Dan to create new nutrition-minded Happy Meal choices.

"I salute McDonald's for expanding and improving its nutritionally-balanced menu choices and now for bringing nutritional guidance and information to the local community through this program,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, author of the best-selling The F Factor Diet.

“As a nutrition and diet expert, I know that improved well-being begins with incremental change, and I'm very excited to be part of this campaign to make nutritional information accessible to all."

McDonald's New York Metro Nutrition Network applications will be evaluated based on the impact of the proposed program on nutrition awareness in the community. This year, five organizations will be selected and each winning organization will be acknowledged with a presentation in their community.

Tri-State area non-profit organizations can obtain an application at Completed applications should be mailed to:  McDonald's Owners/Operators Association; Attention: McDonald's New York Metro Nutrition Network; PO Box 280; Little Falls, NJ 07424.  The submission deadline is June 1, 2012.

There are more than 600 McDonald's restaurants, owned by over 100 franchisees, located throughout the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Tri-State area.

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