Energize Your Kids'
Menu with the Kids
LiveWellSM Program!

  • Find out what the nutritional criteria is
  • Get information on how to sign up
  • Add our kid-friendly recipes that meet the stringent nutritional guidelines to your menu

Looking to add healthful choices to your kids' menu? The National Restaurant Association (NRA) launched its Kids LiveWell program in July of 2011. In collaboration with Healthy Dining, its aim is to help families find healthful children's menu items. Participating restaurants commit to offering healthful dishes for children with a focus on lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, as well as an increase of fruits and vegetables. They also agree to lower the levels of unhealthy fats, sugars and sodium. Healthy Dining provides third-party verification on the menu items that qualify for the Kids LiveWell program. Big multi-units, like Au Bon Pain and Burger King, were among the first to sign up. Today, nearly 30,000 restaurant locations are participating in the Kids LiveWell program. The program is scalable, as relevant for independents as it is for larger chains.

Apart from the ethical imperative, providing healthful choices on kids' menus makes good business sense. Out of 226 trending items on the NRA's 2011 "What's Hot?" Chef Survey, nutritionally balanced children's dishes ranks number four. Mintel Menu Insights says that menu items listed as "healthy" have grown by 65% between 2009 and 2010. And an NRA survey reports that 71% of adults are trying to eat healthier. "Adults bring their kids, and so the eating-healthier movement becomes a family affair," says Joy Dubost, Ph.D., R.D., director of nutrition for the NRA. "Many independent operators don't have easy access to registered dietitians. The Kids LiveWell program gives them that access and provides a platform from which to promote those dishes."

Kill the Veto Vote

By adding healthful kids' choices, you just may bring in more business. According to an August 2011 report put out by Technomic and C3 Brand Marketing, moms are the most likely members of their families to make decisions on where the family dines out.

Menu Solutions: Recipes that Meet Kids LiveWell Program Guidelines

We challenged Barry Miles, corporate executive chef for Kraft Foodservice and a father of two boys, to come up with recipes for kids' menus that not only meet the criteria set out by the Kids LiveWell program, but also appeal to kids. He came back to us with kids' meals and side items—all stamped with approval by the Kids LiveWell program and ready for your children's menu.

Barry Miles
Corporate Executive Chef
Kraft Culinary Centre

Kids' Meals

Side Items

Kraft products featured in these recipes:

Kraft Frozen Macaroni & Cheese
BULL'S-EYE Original Barbecue Sauce
PHILADELPHIA Fat Free Cream Cheese
KRAFT Dressings
Mayo with Olive Oil Reduced Fat Mayonnaise
Grey Poupon

The Kids LiveWell Program Nutrition Criteria¹

Kids' Meals (entrée, side option and beverage)

  • 600 calories or less
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total fat
  • ≤ 10% of calories from saturated fat
  • < 0.5 grams trans fat (artificial trans fat only)
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total sugars (added and naturally occurring)
  • ≤ 770 mg of sodium
  • 2 or more food groups (see below)

Side Items:

  • 200 calories or less
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total fat
  • ≤ 10% of calories from saturated fat
  • < 0.5 grams trans fat (artificial trans fat only)
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total sugars (added and naturally occurring)
  • ≤ 250 mg of sodium
  • 1 food group (see below)

Full meals must include two sources and sides must include one source of the following:

  • Fruit: > ½ cup (includes 100% juice)
  • Vegetable: > ½ cup
  • Whole grains
  • Lean protein (skinless white meat poultry, fish/seafood, beef, pork, tofu, beans, egg): > 2 oz. meat, 1 egg or egg equivalent, 1 oz. nuts/seeds/dry bean/peas
  • Lower-fat dairy (1% or skim milk and dairy): > ½ cup (While not considered low-fat, 2% milk is allowed if included in the meal and the meal still fits the full meal criteria)

For more information on requirements, go here.


How to Sign Up

  1. Contact the NRA's Joy Dubost at (202) 973-5361;
  2. Pay a fee—operators with 1-5 units, $195; 6-20 units, $395 (reflects pricing for NRA or state-association members, who receive a 20% discount; reflects pricing through 2012)
  3. Work with Healthy Dining's dietitians, who review or collaborate on menu items, conduct nutritional analysis, offer suggestions on making dishes delicious while meeting the Kids LiveWell program nutritional guidelines
  4. Receive cross promotion on Healthy Dining site, which appeals to families looking for better-for-you dining options; appear on the NRA's list of participating restaurants

Learn more about the Kids LiveWell program.

Looking to add a knockout kids' program? Check out these quick strategies on how to win over little people, driving repeat business from families.

Learn More

Kids LiveWell