Guilt Free


Whether you’re traveling, celebrating a special occasion or simply spending quality time together, families across the country enjoy going to restaurants and dining out together.

As consumers grow more sophisticated in their tastes and diets, restaurateurs are re-engineering their menus to accommodate their evolving preferences. More than ever before, restaurants are offering a wider array of healthful, delicious and great-tasting options that appeal to taste buds of all ages.

Even though there are more nutritious choices available for children, it can sometimes be confusing for parents to decipher the better options from the more indulgent ones. Healthy Dining founder Anita Jones-Mueller has provided the following five tips to help parents identify more healthful kids’ meals:

1. Seek out high-quality ingredients: Look for options that are made with unprocessed ingredients and have a flavor profile kids will love. There are
lots of familiar foods prepared in unique ways that parents and children can try. Give salmon kabobs or grilled chicken strips a shot next time you see them.

2. Opt for fresh veggies and fruit: When a meal includes fresh produce, kids not only get more nutrients, but also enjoy a rainbow of tantalizing colors. Look for kids’ meals that include salads, “dippable” sliced fruit or steamed vegetables. Fresh ingredients provide different textures that will keep young diners interested in their food.

3. Go for creativity: Kids have sophisticated palates so give them the opportunity to try new things. Look for menus featuring creative kids’ meals. From bento boxes and kid-friendly sushi to turkey sliders and creative noodle bowls, chefs are thinking beyond the traditional to create fun and memorable menu items.

4. Look for lean proteins and whole grains: To ensure that kids feel full and satisfied after eating, choose dining options made with lean proteins and whole grains. They’re two important components of a well-rounded diet.

5. Use a trusted resource: The National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program showcases restaurants that meet strict nutritional criteria for children’s foods. You can find Kids LiveWell restaurants at or download the app to put healthy dining options at your fingertips.