Kids LiveWell from the National Restaurant Association - Divine Lifestyle
Family & Food & Health + Wellness

Kids LiveWell from the National Restaurant Association

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a dinner sponsored by the Kids LiveWell program from the National Restaurant Association.

Those of you who read my blog or follow me on Twitter know that I am pretty lucky when it comes to my children and their eating habits. My two oldest children love to drink water and my youngest drinks milk like crazy. Juices are always 100% juice and my kids just generally stay away from things with a lot of sugar.

All three kids love grilled chicken and vegetables. It is not at all tough for me to get my kids to eat healthy food and while they do appreciate the occasional dessert, they are pretty easy going kids when it comes to food. I am definitely lucky.

Kids LiveWell is a fairly new initiative started just last year by the National Restaurant Association.


The National Restaurant Association launched the Kids LiveWell program in collaboration with Healthy Dining to help parents and children select healthful menu options when dining out. Restaurants that participate in the voluntary program commit to offering healthful meal items for children, with a particular focus on increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy, and limiting unhealthy fats, sugars and sodium.

The Kids LiveWell program benefits both restaurateurs and guests. Participating restaurants get third-party verification and promotional materials for qualified meals and individual menu items. Parents and caretakers get accurate information to help them make informed decisions about their child's meal.


Kids LiveWell Nutrition Criteria for Full Kids' Meals (entrée, side option and beverage):

  • 600 calories or less
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total fat
  • ≤ 10% of calories from saturated fat
  • < 0.5 grams trans fat (artificial trans fat only)
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total sugars (added and naturally occurring)
  • ≤ 770 mg of sodium
  • 2 or more food groups (see below)

Kids LiveWell Nutrition Criteria for Side Items:

  • 200 calories or less
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total fat
  • ≤ 10% of calories from saturated fat
  • < 0.5 grams trans fat (artificial trans fat only)
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total sugars (added and naturally occurring)
  • ≤ 250 mg of sodium
  • 1 food group (see below)

Full meals must include two sources & sides must include one source of the following:

  • Fruit> ½ cup = 1 star (includes 100% juice)
  • Vegetable> ½ cup = 1 star
  • Whole grains:  contains whole grains = 1 star
  • Lean protein (skinless white meat poultry, fish/seafood, beef, pork, tofu, beans, egg):  > 2 ounces meat, 1 egg or egg equivalent, 1 oz nuts/seeds/dry bean/peas = 1 star (lean as defined by USDA)
  • Lower-fat dairy (1% or skim milk and dairy):  > ½ cup = 1 star (while not considered low-fat, 2% milk is allowed if included in the meal and the meal still fits the full meal criteria)


The program started with 19 brands participating. To date, there are over 87 brands with an impressive total of 15,000+ locations.

For the complete list, go here.


Follow Kids LiveWell on Twitter

Like Kids LiveWell on Facebook

For more information on the program and participating restaurants, visit or


This is so incredibly exciting. Now you can download the app the pick the perfect Kids LiveWell participating restaurant.  The free app is available in the Android Market and iTunes app store. To download the app, visit:

Check out all of the restaurants near me:

Disclosure: I received compensation from the National Restaurant 
Association’s Kids LiveWell program for my time reviewing 
and writing about their program. The opinions expressed are 
solely my own.


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11 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. Jennifer Marie

    Love that the app is available! I didn’t know that the meal should be 600 calories or less!!

  2. Karen Propes

    This is great, it’s so hard to choose restaurants that have healthy good food. Our children are our future and more people need to think about that as they are driving by a greasy hamburger place. Our children need to be offered healthy food. We are responsable for their first meal thru now. We are also lucky. We cook good healthy meals, especially since we are trying to get ahead of my illness. I thought is was so funny when we were eating and our little one (3yrs) picked up a broccoli stem and said they were little trees and she just ate them up and they were steamed. I think this group is heading in the right direction, for our future. We have to start at home and then share with everyone.
    Thanks once again for all the information. you’re a doll.

  3. Anne Lehnick

    It’s fantastic to see so many restaurants taking the intiative to help us feed out children better when eating out. I’m also thrilled to see so many quick service and “fast food” outlets listed. I get frustrated when I got to a restaurant with fried foods only on the kids menu and fried sides for them. I know the kids love it, but I sure don’t.

  4. shelly peterson

    This is a really great program to have. I checked out the participating restaurants and quite a few of them are here where I live. I sure hope the list grows. It’s nice to have healthier choices on the kids menu

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