Eating healthier in the US restaurants
America is in an exciting era of change focused on health, well-being and “doing good” – and the nation’s restaurants and chefs are playing a leading role by rising to the opportunity of creating enticing menu items with health and taste in mind. Consumer demand for colorful, plant-based restaurant cuisine is gaining popularity, casting a shadow over the past decades of oversized, high-calorie meals. Increasing produce in restaurant meals has been a longstanding goal of the Healthy Dining and Kids LiveWell programs, which encompass 250+ participating restaurant brands spanning 50,000+ locations in the U.S. In partnership with the National Restaurant Association and scores of stakeholder organizations, these programs provide a proactive foundation for restaurants to demonstrate their culinary creativity and social responsibility regarding public health priorities, while providing a robust marketing effort through HealthyDiningFinder.com – the only site of its kind offering personalized, dietitian-recommended menu options. Each qualifying meal featured on the site emphasizes produce, whole grains and other healthful components and includes a full nutrient profile including fruit and vegetable servings (cups).
The following research studies are excellent demonstrations of how researchers can provide convincing evidence for the restaurant industry to continue to add produce to menus – and ultimately improve the health of our nation, the world – and future generations.