In celebration of Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation’s five-year anniversary, we’re spotlighting a few of the partners who joined forces with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation in an effort to reduce childhood obesity. These partners helped us achieve a 6.4 trillion reduction in calories from the marketplace, supported families in achieving energy balance, and reached nearly 15 million students with our Energy Balance 101 curriculum. Learn more about the efforts of Healthy Dining Finder in the video and Q&A below with Founder and President, Anita Jones-Mueller.
Tell us about yourself and Healthy Dining Finder.
I am a mom of two daughters, and nutrition is my passion, which is why I founded Healthy Dining almost twenty years ago. It has always been my vision to inspire chefs and the restaurant industry to contribute to a healthier America … in a delicious way! We have a very talented team of nutrition and marketing experts and we are leading the largest ever restaurant industry nutrition initiative, launched nationwide in 2007, with funding from CDC. The program has grown to include more than 50,000 restaurant locations featured on HealthyDiningFinder.com. This site makes it easy to find nutritious choices wherever you’re dining out. Healthy Dining Finder also features the Kids LiveWell choices, in collaboration with the National Restaurant Association, and a variety of articles, blogs, recipes and a weekly contest.
How did you first get involved with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation?
We became aware of the Foundation’s initiative through online publicity. We realized the great potential that the Foundation has to make a difference in the health of the nation. Because of the similar missions and synergies between Healthy Dining and the Foundation, it’s been a great collaboration.
Why is this partnership so unique?
Our Healthy Dining team finds it so easy to work with the Foundation and their team – cross promoting, sharing content, etc. There is a great deal of mutual respect and appreciation for what the other does, and this partnership is really a natural!
What are some of your biggest accomplishments over the last five years?
- Building HealthyDiningFinder.com to be the largest searchable database of nutritious choices at restaurants nationwide that span quick serve to fine dining–the only such resource of its kind.
- Partnering with the National Restaurant Association to develop and launch Kids LiveWell, an initiative supporting parents in finding the best choices at restaurants for kids.
- Implementing several restaurant nutrition-related research projects in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all of which are designed to explore ways to enhance the healthfulness of the menu items served at restaurants nationwide and facilitate the selection of these menu items.
- Providing accurate nutrition information (calories, fat, sodium, etc.) and gluten/allergen identification for scores of restaurant companies.
How do you see your organization playing a role in the mission to reduce childhood obesity in the future?
Through the Kids LiveWell Program, part of the National Restaurant Association, Healthy Dining’s registered dietitians work with restaurants that want to offer a selection of healthier kids’ menu items. Once those menu items are identified, nutritionally analyzed and found to meet certain criteria, they are posted on HealthyDiningFinder.com – so parents can easily find healthier choices for their kids when eating out. We work with the National Restaurant Association in building up the number of participating Kids LiveWell restaurants and menu items, and today more than 150 restaurant brands and tens of thousands of locations are part of this initiative. We look forward to continuing to grow this program and the impact it can make on our nation’s children … and future generations!
And we know the power of parents as role models, so HealthyDiningFinder.com offers parents the best choices for them too. Every menu item featured on the site emphasizes healthy ingredients such as lean protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and unsaturated fats … the ingredients that help us all be at our best!