The spotlight on healthy eating is growing brighter, and now even the youngest eaters are taking notice. A recent study by children’s research firm KidSay and The Marketing Store Worldwide (TMSW) showed the majority of children ages 5–11 think they are healthy eaters, with more than 80 percent of kids saying healthy eating was “cool,” up from 59 percent in 2004.

The survey also provided specific suggestions for restaurants to encourage healthful dining. These included camouflaging a nutritious option within a less healthy one, making healthy choices attractive, and using children’s desire to play to encourage kids to eat healthy.

Jeff Larson, vice president of global marketing, marketing development, and activation at Subway, says the chain—which places an emphasis on serving healthy food to children—is encouraged by the survey results.

“We have always felt, if you empower kids with information and choices, that they will make good decisions about eating, especially if you do it in a fun way that brings them into the process,” Larson says, noting the chain’s variety of fresh vegetables choices children can use to create their own sandwich.

Anita Jones-Mueller, founder and president of Healthy Dining Finder, says she has seen a huge shift toward healthy choices, especially for kids, in quick-service restaurants. “It is great to hear that kids are saying it is cool to eat healthy,” she says. “It shows our efforts are triggering a true long-term change in the way that people view eating.”

Marketing & Promotions, Story, Subway