HYATTSVILLE, Md. (AP) - Michelle Obama said Thursday that a pledge by the Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants and its sister chains to serve healthier meals is a "breakthrough moment" for the industry.
Darden Restaurants Inc. is pledging to cut calories and sodium in its meals by 20 percent over a decade.
Among other changes for children, a fruit or vegetable side and low-fat milk will become standard with kids' meals unless a substitution is requested. No more French fries for the little ones unless an adult asks for them.
"With this new commitment, Darden is doing what no restaurant company has done before," said the first lady, who joined executives of Orlando, Fla.-based Darden for the announcement at an Olive Garden restaurant in suburban Maryland, just outside Washington.
"This is a breakthrough moment in the restaurant industry. I believe the changes that Darden will make could impact the health and well-being of an entire generation of young people," added Mrs. Obama, who is leading an effort to reduce U.S. childhood obesity rates.
The kids' menu changes are scheduled to take effect next July.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)