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First Lady asks restaurants for healthy foods

September 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
From school gardens to cafeteria lunch rooms, First Lady Michelle Obama is asking all of us to play a bigger role in feeding our children more nutritious food. This week she made a plea to the restaurant industry to rethink their menus for kids. "Most kid menus look the same," said Mrs. Obama. "Trust me, we have seen a lot of them."

Hoping to get restaurants to step up to a healthier menu for kids, Mrs. Obama spoke the National Restaurant Association on Monday to continue her fight against childhood obesity.

"Some options weigh in at over 1,000 calories," said Obama.

That's dangerously close to the recommended calorie intake for children for the day, not a meal.

"It's pretty much the same five things," said Dina Lemes of Glendale. "You always see chicken tenders, a grill cheese sandwich, nothing real fresh."

A recent analysis found 90 percent of menus for kids include macaroni and cheese, 80 percent chicken fingers, 60 percent burgers or cheese burgers.

"To date one out of every $2 spent on food in this country goes towards meals outside the home," said Obama.

Mrs. Obama also says one-third of our meals are eaten out at restaurants. Even in our suffering economy, dining out has become the norm, so she's making a plea for a little less butter, cheese and cream and a bit more produce on the plate.

Panera's kid menu has whole grain options, with milk and low-fat yogurt included in lieu of soda and fries.

If everything you see on the menu is cheesy and greasy ask for some substitutions. Panera restaurant offers low-fat milk and low-fat yogurt along with fruit substitutions as well.

"Just as we can shape our children's preferences for high calorie, low-nutrient foods, with a little persistence and creativity we can also turn them on to high quality healthier foods," said Obama.

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