Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Kids LiveWell With Chopped Judge Marc Murphy #KidsLiveWell #Ad #healthyeating #foodiefun



Getting healthy food into kids and getting kids into healthy food is an integral part of my daily life, so I was pretty jazzed when Mom Central Consulting invited me to join other top Chi-town bloggers to learn about The Kids LiveWell Campaign at The National Restaurant Association's recent trade show in Chicago.   I even got to meet Chef, Dad, & Chopped Star, Marc Murphy--judge on the popular Food Network Cooking Show.




I've always tried to eat healthy foods, but once I became a mom, responsible for two growing brains and bodies, I cared even more.
   
Check out our feature below for an easy app to help you find restaurants with healthy kids' menus and more!

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.  All opinions and anecdotes are my own.

When my 10 & 12 year olds were toddlers, I used to pat myself on the back because my kids dug raw veggies and ate frozen peas for snacks.  Then they grew bigger and discovered the wonders of junk food and sweets.  We still limit the treats, but birthday parties, holidays, relatives and the world at large has a way of intruding on the well intentioned.   Even things that sound innocuous like "fruit" snacks are often mostly corn syrup.   

My tweens do still love most fruits & veggies and we make a point of having them take a "no thank you" taste of many multicultural dishes.   Still, at this juncture, I think my kids would happily live on pizza and pasta 24/7, if left to their own devices.  


At the Kids LiveWell Event we sampled award winning recipes that kids voted on and they were delicious.   I learned that most kids can handle some spice and flavor instead of the bland versions of adult fare, like plain buttered noodles or plain cheese quesadillas that used to pass for kids' meals.






Healthy kids' recipes pay off... literally.   Check out these ginormous checks for 1,500 that went to all The Kids’ Recipe Challenge winners.   Of course the real payoffs are huge for all of us, with healthy kids' meals leading to healthier kids!

Awards were given out at the NRA show.  Winners included Q’doba's Lil’ Pulled Pork Naked Burrito and Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash.  The Chix-n-Cheddar Snappy Jalapeño Wrap from Chartwells School Dining Services was amazingly tasty and one of my favs.



The National Restaurant Association launched the award winning Kids LiveWell program in 2011, to make healthful choice the easy choice when eating out with your family.   We love to go out to eat and we're so lucky to live in the heart of Chicago, where a family could eat out for 3 meals a day and never make a dent in the fabulous restaurants available.  The kids get to pick a favorite restaurant for birthdays and we tend to eat out lots when relatives visit and to celebrate sports and academic victories and the end of the school year.  


We have seen Kids LiveWell menus popping up more and more often, and I love it.  Every family I know would pick a tasty, nutritious meal over a plastic toy and a high carb, high salt, high fat excuse for a kids' meal any day!   To qualify for Kids LiveWell, the meals have to be under 600 calories and have two sources of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein or low-fat dairy.

Have you used the Kids LiveWell app to locate any Kids LiveWell participating restaurants?   It's super easy whether you're high tech (there's an app for that) or low tech or luddite (there's a special apple logo on the menu next to healthy kids' meals now).

There are loads of restaurants to choose from in all price ranges, including sit down restaurants and fast food joints, for healthy food choices for busy families on the run.   We were also pretty jazzed that the Healthy Dining Finder site also features Restaurant Recipes, Reviews & articles! 

It was truly a treat to meet the masterminds behind & the celebs backing Kids LiveWell, and to learn more about this useful resource.






Disclosure:  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.  All opinions are my own.


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