Making Healthy Choices when Eating Out with Kids

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the National Restaurant Association. I attended a live event and received a gift bag and promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

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Despite the drama that is sure to ensue with two two-year-olds dining in public, my husband and I do take the twins out to eat at restaurants.  While often the only advantage to this undertaking is one less round of kitchen cleaning, we are convinced that dining out is an important part of teaching our boys how to interact in the world.  And we truly believe that one day, it will become an enjoyable family experience.

Now, if you have perused my blog at all, you might see that like most parents, we do make an effort to get some healthy bits of nourishment into the bellies (between the toddler-standards of nuggets and noodles).  Some days, when my boys snack on some veggies or ask for more sweet potatoes, we feel like a pros.  Others, when all they will eat are fruit snacks, I sigh and figure it is just the way of two-year-olds.  Still, it is a major goal of ours to help our boys learn to make healthy choices and eat a balanced diet.  Sometimes, this can be especially challenging when eating out.

So, I was pretty thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the National Restaurant Association Convention this year to learn about the Kids LiveWell program.

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(Yes…those are celebrity chefs Marc Murphy and Judson Todd Allen!  So great  to meet them at the Kids LiveWell reception!)

Simply put, Kids LiveWell is an award-winning program partnering with restaurants to bring healthy and delicious choices to kids’ menus.  An item is only designated a “Kids LiveWell” choice if it meets a set of standards based on health and nutrition guidelines.

Kids LiveWell menu items are designed to increase the intake of:

  • Fruit and Vegatables
  • Whole Grains
  • Lean Protien
  • Low-Fat Dairy

And decrease the intake of:

  • Unhealthy Fats
  • Sugar
  • Sodium

Want to see an example of a Kids LiveWell item on a menu near you?  Check out this delicious (I know, I sampled one…yum!) Lil’ Pulled Pork Naked Burrito available at Qdoba.  Instead of the kids sneaking my food, I might be stealing bites from them with a dish like this.

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A quick search of my ZIP code yielded many Kids LiveWell options at restaurants such as OutbackChili’s, Denny’sCracker BarrelCorner BakeryQdoba and many, many more.  In fact, you can find a quick visual guide and list of the 120 participating restaurant brands here.

Or, if like most millennials, you have a phone which is less of the “flip” variety and is more of the “smart” variety, then you can download the FREE app (available as the Kids LiveWell App for iPhone and Apple or the Kids LiveWell Android App) which will enable you to find healthy choices at any time.  Keep in mind, these apps are fairly new, and items are being added all the the time, so be sure to check often for updates!

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Many thanks to Mom Central and Kids LiveWell!  I know I’m looking forward to trying new healthy menu options with my kids when we dine out.  I hope you are able to find something to help inform your dining choices, too!

Learn about new menu options and participating restaurants by following Kids LiveWell on Facebook and Twitter, too!


Post shared with Jellibean JournalsI Can Teach My Child, For the Kids Fridays, Share it Saturday, Cheerios and Lattes



  1. I’ve never heard of this. Thanks for sharing the information on the app. Will be tweeting to help get the word out.

  2. That is so cool that you got to meet those chefs! I love that there is an app available!

  3. This is good information! I need to eat healthy too which means the family is on a “diet” of health. We like to eat out so these tips will definitely work. Thanks so much! I am a new fan from Jellibean Journals!

    The Wondering Brain

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