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First lady: Olive Garden cutting calories

Sept. 15, 2011 at 6:10 PM   |   Comments

HYATTSVILLE, Md., Sept. 15 (UPI) -- At a Maryland restaurant Thursday, Michelle Obama applauded the U.S. restaurant chains of Olive Garden and Red Lobster for cutting calories and sodium.

Darden, the parent company of the chains of Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Bahama Breeze, said it is planning to reduce overall calories and sodium by 10 percent during the next five years and an additional 10 percent during the next 10 years, as well as prepare healthier kids' meals.

"Darden is doing what no restaurant company has done before. They're not just making their kids' menus healthier so that parents have more choices and more control; they're making changes across their full menu at every single one of their restaurants throughout the country," Obama said at an Olive Garden in Hyattsville, Md.

"I'm here today because this is a big deal. I'm here because this is a breakthrough moment in the restaurant industry. And I'm here because I believe that the changes that Darden will make could impact the health and well-being of an entire generation of young people."

Obama said it wasn't too long ago that she and the president were struggling with their schedules and the schedules of their daughters so cleaning, grocery shopping and cooking fell by the wayside and they went to restaurants.

"Even in these tough economic times, one out of every two dollars spent on food is spent eating out," Obama said. "We spend half of all of our food dollars in sit-down restaurants or fast-food restaurants and about one-third of our calories at restaurants."

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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