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Healthy Kid's Menus in Restaurants

Friday, 26 March 2010

National Statistics:

(a) 11.6% of Irish girls aged 5-12 are overweight while 13% are obese.
(b) 10.5% of Irish boys aged 5-12 years are overweight while 9.2% are obese.
(c) 40% of Irish children exceed the recommended maximum of energy intake from
(d) 61% of children did not consume enough fibre.

Guidelines GDA's for Children Ages 5 - 10:

. 1800 calories
. 85g sugar
. 70g fat - of which 20g saturated fat
. 4g salt

Seamus Keaney

Seamus Keaney is the owner of The Long Man Of Kilfane Restaurant in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. The Afternoon Show worked with their Chef Joan Murphy on their chicken nuggets and chips dish. It was totally overhauled and the frozen bought in nuggets and chips cast out, and Joan was thought how to make a healthier option from scratch. Seamus and Joan have taken on board our guidelines to change many of his dishes' ingredients and how they were cooked to make them more nutritional.

Paula Mee - Nutritionist

Paula Mee our Nutritionist visited the 4 regional restaurants on her first visit she chatted with the 4 regional chefs about their kid's menus and cooking practices. On the VT today we see her re-visiting the fourth restaurant and reviewing changes the restaurant made to its menu to make it healthier.

Richie Wilson - The Afternoon Show Chef

Chef Richie Wilson worked with the 4 chefs on one of their dishes, to make them nutritional in terms of their ingredients and cooking practices.

Seamus Keaney:

It's great to finally meet you Seamus, so tell me a bit about the history of The Long Man of Kilfane Restaurant, how long have you been around?

A pub used to stand on the restaurant site over 21 years ago, and Seamus knocked it down. He built the restaurant in its place, and opened it 19 years old and has managed and owned it since.

Tell me how and why you got involved with the campaign?

The Afternoon Show contacted us, and explained that we are a very popular family restaurant in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, and would we be interested in representing Leinster. Seamus was apprehensive as he did not know what it entailed, but he was soon happy to be onboard. Hid main concern was how to get the chefs interested in changing the menu.

How did you go about changing you menu?

After the initial visit by The Afternoon Show team, Seamus chatted with chef Joan Murphy and Siobhan waitress, and they decided to bring more of the adult dishes into the kid's menu. Joan was the main instigator and got to work to overhaul the menu, and she carried out a bit of research on it.

Over the past two weeks she has been busily experimenting and trying out new dishes in kitchen, other chefs sampled them, and they then collectively decided what to go put on the menu. They have worked a bit harder to ensure the menu is healthier. Seamus and the other chefs are very pleased with Joan's changes.

Was there a lot of work to do to improve the menu?

There was not a lot of extra work, it was just important to get the chefs Not a lot of work used to the new menu. Previously they bought in fresh vegetables, and the new produce to improve the menu cost a bit more. Menu changes - Choice of roast is gone - Baked chicken with steamed vegetables now replaces it. Bun burger, beans and chips is replaced by Grilled homemade 100% beef burger, toasted white bun with grated cheese.

A home-made chicken with pea puree and potato wedges on menu since first day of changes. Penne PASTA with tomato and fresh herbs sauce - replaces sausage, potato and gravy. Stir fried chicken with peppers, onions, crockets served with boiled rice now replaces fish fingers, peas and chips.

A half portion of selected adult's main course is available. Deserts are strawberry, jelly ice cream replacing jelly and ice cream, Fresh fruit salad and yoghurt. The cost issues are roughly the same, with just a slight increase.

What are the main things you learnt for your restaurant about serving healthy food for kid's?

Seamus realised that they needed to rephrase the wording on the menu as it was too wordy for the children. Words like pea puree put the children off choosing that dish.

What was the reaction from families to changes to your menu, were you surprised?

The reaction over the last few days from families to the changes has been very positive and families have liked it so far. Paddy's day was a huge test for the restaurant and the reaction to the new improved menu was very positive. He was little surprised by the positive reaction from the regulars.

What are your future plans for the kid's menu?

Seamus hopes it will keep going well, and they will have healthier children in future years. It is important that the menu is monitored all the time, and Paula's suggestions implemented.

Paula Mee:

How has the whole experience been for you working with our 4 regional restaurants?

The restaurants were very courageous to get involved, they have to be commended they all made a huge effort. They got on really well, and made some fantastic changes to their menus.It is important they keep it up and be committed for the long term and continue their work without the focus of TAS. They really wills set the bar for other nationwide restaurants, they are not only the trail blazers but are also setting the standard.

What would you say to parents about healthy eating?

It is important that healthy eating starts at home, children should be encouraged to eat healthily especially to get a taste for vegetables. It is unfair to expect them to eat healthily when out if they don't eat healthily at home. Parent should ask restaurants what are their healthy options on their menus.

What would you suggest for other restaurants who would like to improve their menus?

It is important to mention that our 4 restaurants didn't overhaul their menus completely; they increased their vegetables, and cut certain things out. It is important to always have healthy options and try to improve the quality of dishes like chicken nuggets, use better quality meats, vegetables can be disguised in sauces.

The taste for salt starts when children are young, try to introduce children to an alternative to salt. In the US, there are major blood pressures and cholesterol issues amongst children, diet are very important for children. There are teens in US on blood pressure tablets.

Richie Wilson:

What would you to say to our 4 regional restaurants now?

The 4 restaurants were very brave to get involved and be our trailblazers, he really hopes it pays off for them. Riche would suggest the owners of the restaurants get feedback from the kids in the restaurants and ask them how they are enjoying the changes. He would ask the restaurants that they resist the temptation to slip back to old habits, give it time to work out. They may find that if they try to revert to old menu, customers may not be happy.

What would you say to other restaurants?

We would like other restaurants to get involved; the campaign has not come to an end today. We would still like to see as many restaurants involved as much as possible.

What would you say to parents?

It is important to instill healthy eating to children from a young age. If we take a leaf out of our cookery teacher Victoria, the children from the school were used to cooking healthy ingredients and will expect healthy options going on through life.

So far, the following restaurants around Ireland have received one of our 'Improved Healthy and Tasty Kids Menu' stickers! They were awarded a sticker after submitting their kids menu to The Afternoon Show with details of their healthy choices. They have also agreed to follow the guidelines as recommended by Paula Mee. These guidelines can be seen under the list of restaurants.

1. Stonecutter's Kitchen Family Restaurant, Luogh North, Doolin, Co. Clare
2. Mongolian Barbecue,7 Anglesea Street, Dublin 2, Co. Dublin
3. Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa and Country Club, Tullow, County Carlow
4. Eastern Seaboard Bar & Grill, Drogheda, Co. Louth
5. The Cornstore Restaurant, 19 Thomas Street, Limerick
6. Back stage at Bels, Church Road, Greystones, Co. Wicklow
7. The Kitchen at KC Peaches, Unit 10A, Trinity Enterprise Centre, Pearse St. Dublin 2
8. Gallaghers of Bunratty & J.P. Clarkes Country Pub, Bunratty, Co. Clare
9. The Cornstore Restaurant, 40 Cornmarket Street, Cork
10. Chatham Brasserie, Chatham Street, Dublin 2
11. Bella Vista Bar & Bistro, Strandhill, Co. Sligo
12. The Lakeside Hotel, Killaloe, Co. Clare
13. Frankie's Steakhouse & Grill, Temple Bar Square, Temple bar, Dublin 2
14. An Seanachai Bar & Restaurant, Pulla Ring, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford
15. West Restaurant at, The Twelve Hotel, Bearna Village, Co. Galway
16. Essink Restaurant, No. 2 Hibernian Way, Mallow, Co. Cork
17. Sushi King, 13-17 Dawson Street, Dublin 2
18. The Olde Castle Bar & Red Hugh's Restaurant, Donegal town
19. Lakeside Café at Lough Key Forest and Activity Park, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
20. The Old Mill Bar & Restaurant, O'Brien's Bridge, Co. Clare - mentioned
21. Clanard Court Hotel, Athy, Co. Kildare
22. Fuchsia House Restaurant, Ardee, Co. Louth
23. Maldron Hotel, Oranmore, Co. Galway
24. Town Bar & Grill, 21 Kildare Street, Dublin 2
25. The Rising Tide Restaurant, Glouthaune, Co. Cork
26. Bodega Restaurant & Winebar, 54 John Street, Waterford city.
27. Healthy Habits Café, Quarantine Hill, Wicklow Town.
28. Kelly's Resort Hotel & Spa, La Marine Restaurant, Rosslare, Co. Wexford
29. THE GATE RESTAURANT, 32 Trimgate Street, Navan, Co. Meath
30. Lohan' s Bar & Restaurant. 232-234 Upper Salthill, Galway
31. The Farm - Dawson Street , Dublin 2
32. The Bayleaf Restaurant, No.71 Main Street, Mallow, Co. CORK
33. Meyler's Millhouse Bar & Restaurant, Tacumshane, Broadway, Co. Wexford
34. Beaufield Mews Restaurant, Stillorgan, Co.Dublin
35. Vittos restaurant, Bridge Street, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim
36. The Kitchen and Foodhall, Portlaoise, Co Laois
37. Lannigans Steakhouse, Quality Hotel Killarney, Cork Road, Killarney, Co Kerry.
38. Ely CHQ bar & brasserie, Custom House Quay, Dublin 1

39. The Monastery Inn" Clonard, Co ., Meath
40. Mill Park Hotel, Donegal Town Co Donegal
41. Heron Cove, Creevy, Co Donegal
42. Park Hotel, Kiltimagh, Co Mayo
43. Hylands Burren Hotel, Ballyvaughan, Co Mayo
44. 'Bella Italia', Thomas Street, Limerick City.

45. Milano Dawson St Dublin 2
46. Milano Haddington Road Dublin 2
47. Milano Temple Bar Dublin 2
48. Milano Clarion Quay IFSC Dublin 1
49. Milano Grand Canal Square Dublin 2
50. Milano Dundrum Town centre Dublin 16
51. Milano Dun Laoghaire
52. Milano 8 Oliver Plunkett St, Cork
53. Milano Harvey's Quay Limerick
54. Milano The Corn Store Galway
55. Milano 16 Main St Killarney

We have agreed to improve our Kids Menu to make it healthy and tasty by following these guidelines:

To offer more balanced meals to include foods from each of the following food groups: Carbohydrates (rice, pasta, potato or grains - wholemeal or whole grains where possible), Protein rich foods (lean meat, fish, chicken, turkey, beans), Dairy (low fat milk, cheese and yoghurt where possible for children over 2 years of age and above), Fruit & Vegetables (fresh, frozen or tinned in its own juice)

To avoid offering free sugary drinks with the menu and have healthier alternatives on offer such as water, smoothies or 100% juices.

To avoid high-fat, high salt or high sugar processed foods, instead opting for more fresh ingredients and to endeavour to cook by poaching, baking or boiling.

To use more herbs and spices for seasoning instead of salt. To avoid adding salt at preparation, cooking or serving.

To reduce unnecessary added sugar in recipes where possible and substitute with fresh, tinned or dried fruit.

If restaurants must fry certain foods, they must use a good quality vegetable oil (containing less than 12% saturated fat). Oil must be changed regularly to avoid hydrogenation.

To provide any sauces, dressings and gravies on the side.

To use higher fibre options in the cooking process and to include at least one vegetable or fruit with each dish.

By displaying 'The Afternoon Show Improved Healthy & Tasty Menu for Kids' sticker, this restaurant has agreed to follow the recommended guidelines. These are recommended guidelines only and RTE and Green Inc Film & TV Ltd have no control over the implementation of any or all of these guidelines in any restaurant in which this sticker is displayed ("participating restaurant") and RTE and Green Inc Film & TV Ltd make no warranties or representations as to the quality of any participating restaurant's menu or its service standards (including but not limited to its adherence to all applicable food, hygiene and health & safety regulations) or whether such recommended guidelines have been or will be properly implemented by such a participating restaurant.

In no event will RTE and Green Inc Film & TV Ltd be liable for any injury, illness, loss or damage as a consequence of any person(s) eating in or entering any participating restaurant.