Your favorite Olive Garden dishes might not quite taste like what they used to after Darden Restaurants joined Michelle Obama’s campaign in fighting for a healthier America and childhood obesity. The healthier choices come from reducing calories and salt in certain dishes, as well as offering healthier choices for kids meals according to bloomberg:
Darden Restaurants Inc., operator of the Olive Garden and Red Lobster dining chains, agreed to work with the Partnership for a Healthier America to cut calories and salt in its meals.
Darden will reduce calories and sodium by 10 percent in the next five years at its six different restaurant chains, Rich Jeffers, a company spokesman, said today in an interview. The Orlando, Florida-based company also made a 10-year commitment to decrease calories and salt by 20 percent.
Fruits or vegetables will become the default side dish in kids’ meals, along with 1 percent milk as the drink, according to Darden. The Partnership for a Healthier America is a nonpartisan group working to advance first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to fight childhood obesity.
Darden also owns the LongHorn Steakhouse, Capital Grille, Seasons 52 and Bahama Breeze dining brands. The company owns and operates more than 1,900 restaurants.
Many restaurants; including McDonalds, have been working to offer healthier alternatives in their kids meals and on their menus in recent years. FDA regulations have prompted restaurants to be more cautious with their menu items. With threats of legislation and taxation of junk food many eateries feel inclined to try and appease a government that seems more than willing to come in and blame them for America’s obesity problem.
Obesity in America is up sharply in recent years and according to an article we posted the other day, type 2 diabetes is on the rise which is causing great concern about the health and welfare of Americans. However placing this blame of people’s choices directly on the restaurants and what they offer is misguided and leaves out the element of choice that people have in their eating decisions. There are many other factors to consider in one’s health including the lack of exercise that seems to have taken hold of a couch potato society.
We agree that eating right is important, but restaurants shouldn’t have to change their menus just to help people eat better. Education is the key in fighting obesity and working towards a healthier America. We must teach our children that play time is important and offer fast food as rewards rather than every day meals. Laziness is what has gotten us here in more ways than one. It’s time America gets back active outside and in the kitchen at home. After all, we are the ones ultimately responsible for our health, not your local eatery.