Darden Restaurants, the company that owns Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse, has pledged to reduce the calories and sodium in its offerings by 10% over the next five years and 20% over the next ten years. At the announcement, attended by First Lady Michelle Obama (healthy food advocate and leader of the “Let’s Move!” campaign to fight childhood obesity), Darden also said that fruit or vegetables will become the default side dish options on the children’s menu, with milk as the default beverage. Drew Madsen, President and Chief Operating Officer of Darden Restaurants, said:
As a leader in culinary innovation, we pride ourselves on making good food better, and on finding new ways to nourish and delight everyone we serve. Today we are taking a new step forward by creating a comprehensive health and wellness commitment, while preserving our commitment to offer our guests the delicious food they have come to know and love from their favorite Darden restaurants. The First Lady continues to lead the growing national efforts to make healthy food options more available and accessible, and we’re pleased to collaborate with her and the Partnership for a Healthier America on this commitment.