Olive Garden Cuts Calories with Encouragement from Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama SpeakingThanks to Michelle Obama’s initiative to fight childhood obesity Darden Restaurants has pledged to improve the nutrition in the menus of their restaurants. Darden is the owner of Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Season 52. Darden promises to cut the calories and sodium from dishes in their national restaurants, and to totally overhaul their kids’ menus.

From now on, all kids’ meals will come with a side of vegetables or fruit and low-fat milk unless a substitute is requested by an adult. “We think it’s the most comprehensive health and wellness commitment in the industry,” said Drew Madsen, president and chief operating officer of Darden. However, his company’s promise is part of a nation-wide trend in the restaurant industry towards serving healthier options. Burger King, IHOP and McDonald’s have all said they will be replacing fries with fruit in meals for children and removing photos on menus of less healthy offerings.

Michelle Obama is scheduled to participate in the official announcement today, which will be hosted at an Olive Garden restaurant in Hyattsville, a suburb of Washington, D.C. She has made similar endorsements of companies who are taking steps to help kids eat healthier foods. In January of this year, she praised Walmart for making a commitment to offer lower-cost, healthier items in their stores across the country. She has stressed the need for health organizations to partner with corporations to help reduce the epidemic of obesity in the United States.

Story via USA Today. Image via WhiteHouse.gov.

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