AP: Encouraged by Michelle Obama’s campaign to reduce childhood obesity, the company that owns the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and four other popular restaurant chains is pledging to cut the calories and sodium in its meals and overhaul its kids’ fare. Darden Restaurants was unveiling the changes Thursday, with the first lady on hand to lend support.
The company will pledge to reduce the calories and sodium in all its meals by 10 percent over five years, and by 20 percent over 10 years… All kids’ meals will automatically come with a side of fruit or vegetables….
… Darden’s restaurants serve more than 400 million meals annually at more than 1,900 locations nationwide. Its four other restaurant chains are LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52.
Darden’s promise is part of a trend by the restaurant industry to serve healthier food ….. White House domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes said Darden’s announcement amounts to a “full-throated endorsement” of the types of changes Mrs. Obama has asked the nation’s restaurant owners and operators to make.
In a National Restaurant Association survey of chefs, two-thirds of those working in the kitchens of family dining, fine dining and fast-food restaurants said their customers were ordering healthier items and paying more attention to nutritional content than they did two years ago.
…. Mrs. Obama participation in Thursday’s announcement, scheduled for an Olive Garden restaurant in the Washington suburb of Hyattsville, Md., will be her latest appearance with retailers and others in support of her anti-obesity efforts.
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First Lady Michelle Obama announces a new partnership between Darden Restaurants and her Lets Move! Campaign at an Olive Garden Restaurant in Hayattsville, Maryland on September 15