Thursday, December 8, 2011

Healthy Fare for Kids Launches in Chicago's 43rd Ward

Worried about teaching your kids healthy eating habits? You’re not the only one. Luckily, now Chicago chefs have made parents’ jobs a little easier with the Healthy Fare for Kids initiative, which has launched in Chicago’s 43rd Ward this week.

From left: Diane Schmidt, Michelle Smith,
Sarah Stegner and Carol Wagner
Diane Schmidt, a concerned parent and health educator, was concerned about children’s menus in Chicago restaurants and wanted to do something about it. She spoke to Michelle Smith, Alderman of the 43rd Ward, about an idea to challenge restaurants to provide at least one healthy meal for children on their menu. Smith guided her to Sarah Stegner, Green City Market board member and co-chef and co-owner of Prairie Fire Restaurant and Prairie Grass Cafe. Together with holistic nutrition consultant Carol Wagner, the group came up with a list of guidelines for chefs to follow in creating healthy meals.

Roasted vegetables from
Prairie Fire's healthy kids meal
These guidelines include substituting bread at the table with fresh vegetables, ensuring some lean protein with the meal, serving whole grain breads and pasta, using cooking methods that are lower in fat while still retaining flavors, keeping ingredients local and seasonal, using simple portion sizes and keeping beverages high in sugar off the table.

By getting kids to think differently about food when they eat out, parents can help teach their children to make healthy choices that still taste great. The initiative is currently active in the 43rd Ward, but there are plans to take it city-wide early next year and eventually nation-wide.
“If you put healthy and delicious food in front of kids, they will eat it!” says Stegner.

For now, you can check out Healthy Fare for Kids at one their many participating restaurants. More are being added every day, so be sure to check back on our blog and with your favorite restaurants to see who is participating!

Old Town Social's locally grown, chemical-free cold cuts,
a selection from their healthy kids meals


Participating restaurants:
Café Ba Ba Reeba (2024 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL 60614; 773-935-5000)
Franks ‘n Dawgs (1863 N Clybourn Ave., Chicago, IL 60614; 312-281-5187)
Goose Island Clybourn (1800 North Clybourn, Chicago, IL 60614, 312- 915.0071)
Mon Ami Gabi (2300 N. Lincoln Park West  Chicago, IL 60614; 773-348-8886)
Mörso (340 W. Armitage Ave. Chicago, IL 60614; 773-880-9280)
Nookies (1746 N. Wells St. Chicago, IL 60614; 312-337-2454)
North Pond (2610 North Cannon Drive  Chicago, IL 60614; 773-477 -5845)
Old Town Social (455 West North Avenue  Chicago, IL 60610; 312-266-2277)
Perennial Virant (1800 North Lincoln Avenue Chicago, IL 60614; 312-981-7070)
Vie (4471 Lawn Ave., Western Springs, IL 60558; 708-246-2082)
Prairie Fire Restaurant (215 N. Clinton, Chicago, IL 60661; 312-382-8300)
Prairie Grass Cafe (601 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, IL 60062; 847-205-4433)
RJ Grunts (2056 Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614; 773-929-5363)
Stanley’s Kitchen & Tap (1970 North Lincoln Avenue  Chicago, IL 60614-5404; 312-642-0007).
Note: Restaurants and chefs wishing to participate in the program should contact Sarah Stegner at 312-382-8300 or via e-mail at

Sarah Stegner serving up a healthy and delicious meal from
her restaurants

A selection from Café Ba Ba Reeba's healthy meal for kids

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