Access to healthy menu options is a growing concern for diners and is a top trend on restaurant menus across the country. To add a dose of excitement to the standard grilled chicken, garden salad and steamed vegetables menu options, the National Restaurant Association has launched its Kids Recipe Challenge. The competition will showcase restaurants’ culinary ingenuity for creating healthful menu items for children.
In partnership with McCormick For Chefs, the food-away-from-home division of McCormick & Company, the NRA will recognize the best recipes used on children’s menus at restaurants around the country.
"The Kids Recipe Challenge is another great example of galvanizing the restaurant and foodservice community around the importance of ensuring that American families have ready access to nutritious food," said Dawn Sweeney, the NRA's president and CEO. "We designed the initiative to be a fun and creative way to showcase healthful menu options, and a source of inspiration for foodservice operators and chefs to continue to add those options to their menus."
Phil Kafarakis, McCormick For Chefs vice president of foodservice, said supporting operators and chefs who provide nutritionally balanced kids' meals that are great tasting is a key aspect of the company's mission.
"Kids' palates are evolving and they want food choices that are authentic and globally inspired," he said. "McCormick For Chefs helps meet demand and deliver the flavors that kids love. Partnering with the NRA to conduct the Kids Recipe Challenge provides the ideal way to showcase recipes that combine our passion for flavor and nutrition."
Restaurant and foodservice operators that are interested in participating in the Kids Recipe Challenge can submit one or more recipes from their children's menus that meet the nutrition guidelines of the NRA's Kids LiveWellSM initiative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate program. Participants can compete in four categories: independent restaurants or company with fewer than 20 units; multi-unit company with more than 20 units; contract-managed foodservice; and independent noncommercial foodservice. A panel of industry professionals will select the contest's finalists and elementary school students will choose the winners. The deadline for recipe submissions is Jan. 7, 2013.
Winners of the contest will be revealed at the 2013 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, May 18-21 in Chicago.
The Kids Recipe Challenge is a complement to Kids LiveWell, which the NRA launched in July 2011 in collaboration with Healthy Dining to help parents and children find healthful menu options when dining out. To date, more than 100 brands representing nearly 30,000 restaurants are participating in Kids LiveWell.
For details on submitting recipes, nutrition criteria, and contest rules, visit http://restaurant.org/recipe/.