Parents who dine out with their families will have an easier way to pick healthy meals for their kids.
The YMCA of Dane County and Food Fight Restaurant Group have teamed up to improve kids menus at eight (soon to be nine) Madison Food Fight restaurants.
"Parents who are going out sometimes want to treat their kids, but sometimes parents are just too busy to cook so they want to have a meal in a restaurant that's much like the meal they would offer at home," said Joey Connaughty, a mother to three boys and managing partner at Food Fight Restaurant Group.
Carrie Wall, a grandmother to five kids and YMCA of Dane County President/CEO, said the partnership is one way they are trying to improve access to healthy lifestyles.
"There is a real childhood obesity epidemic that we need to be part of the solution because we serve so many kids and touch so many kids and families. If we don't start it from birth of really helping them get healthy lifestyles then we're having to deal with how do we change behaviors; and changing behaviors once you become accustomed to sugar, and you become accustomed to unhealthy foods is very difficult," said Wall.
Cooks at eight Food Fight Restaurants must follow the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) guidelines to make nearly 50 food items. This week those numbers will jump as the partnership adds another name to the list, making the total participating restaurants nine and the number of food items more than 50.
The guidelines require a meal must offer water or low-fat milk to drink, fruit or vegetables (fresh, frozen, dried, canned in 100 percent fruit juice or water), whole grains determined by first ingredient, no fried or pre-fried foods and sugar is not one of the first three ingredients or less than 8 grams.
Menu items that follow all of the standards are marked with a YMCA logo.