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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

LifeSmiles at Eat'n Park: Empowering families to make healthy choices

Earlier today, we announced a new initiative that we’ll be using to empower our youngest guests and their parents to make healthier choices. This program, called LifeSmiles, is based in part on First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign to decrease childhood obesity. Common goals of both programs are to provide access to healthy, affordable food and to increase physical activity.

Through LifeSmiles, we’ll be investing $1 million and 20,000 volunteer hours over the next five years to support health and wellness initiatives aimed at families. For instance, in 2011, we’ll be partnering with the Pittsburgh Children’s Marathon as part of our commitment to promoting physical activity.

Starting next month, we’re also going to offer healthier alternatives to our iconic Smiley Cookie, which we’ve been serving free after every kids’ meal since 1986. Beginning on December 1, children 10 and under will have their choice of a complimentary original Smiley Cookie, a mini Smiley Cookie, or an apple after their meal.

Of course, the principles behind LifeSmiles aren’t new to us. Over the last several years, we’ve made substantial commitments to promoting healthy lifestyles. LifeSmiles will enhance our existing programs like FarmSource, which since 2002 has allowed us to partner with the local agricultural and business community to provide our guests with fresh, wholesome foods; and Eat’n Smart, which gives our guests an easy way to identify menu items that meet their specific dietary requirements. Coupled with these programs, our investment in LifeSmiles will help us fulfill a critical need in our region by giving families the resources and the knowledge they need make healthier choices.

Chef Regis Holden helped us kick off the program today at Pittsburgh Faison Primary School in Homewood, PA, as he and members of Grow Pittsburgh worked with third graders to make stone soup. In the process, students learned fun, unique ways to prepare healthy food.

To make your own stone soup, check out Regis' recipe below. Want to know the story behind this unique meal? Click here.

Stone Soup
Serves a village (approx. 40)

  • Smooth stones of your choice, washed and scrubbed clean
  • 1 Gallon hot water in a large soup cauldron
  • 8 oz mirepoix soup base (or soup broth/flavoring of your choice)
  • ½ Tbsp. Olive oil
  • ½ Tbsp. Minced garlic
  • 64 oz. Marinara sauce
  • 6 oz. Onions, slivered
  • 6 oz. Celery, sliced
  • 6 oz. Carrots, sliced
  • 6 oz. Cauliflower florets
  • 6 oz. Zucchini, quartered
  • 6 oz. Yellow squash, quartered and sliced
  • 6 oz. Green beans, cut into ½” pieces
  • 8 oz. Bowtie Pasta, cooked

  • Add stones to cauldron of water. Bring to a boil.
  • Wash, peel, and cut vegetables.
  • Heat oil in a separate pan on the stove top. Add onions, celery, carrots, cauliflower, and garlic. Stir constantly until onions begin to cook.
  • Dissolve the mirepoix/broth in the boiling water in the soup cauldron.
  • Add the marinara sauce.
  • Cover pot and reduce to a simmer.
  • Add remaining vegetables and cook until vegetables lose their firmness, about 30 minutes.
  • Add cooked pasta just before serving.


Anonymous said...

Never realized that there was a real recipe for stone soup. Not sure I have a cauldron though. Thanks for sharing!

Eat N Park kind of Family said...

I have always chosen Eat N Park over fast food places like McDonalds or Burger King considering it a healthier choice in general. I can also appreciate giving alternative choices to a cookie. I just hope this isn't getting out of control. Kids are kids and like their snacks just like we did. They should be taught healthier choices at home. When families can afford to eat out this is a treat to them. Please don't ever replace the cookie idea! It's unfortunate that more people do not teach their kids to make healthier choices but it's not the childrens fault. But don't take the fun out of being a kid!

Anonymous said...

I would just like to add the new cookie "choice" program is just another way for the company to save money and acting like they are helping society. I recently visited Eat N Park and was handed a "mini" bite size cookie. When I questioned it, I was told by the waitress that she gives little kids little cookies and big kids big cookies. I further was not given the choice of an apple either. Why have the program if employees are going to do what they feel like it??

Eat'n Park said...

Thanks for sharing your feedback. We’re sorry to hear about your experience, especially because this isn’t how the program is intended to work. It’s your choice whether you’d like the Original Smiley Cookie, the mini version, or an apple. It sounds like we may need to re-train some of our team members. Could you take a minute to fill out the comment form here (http://bit.ly/EnPHelp) so that we can follow up with the restaurant that you visited? Thanks in advance for your help.

Anonymous said...

How can we request a Life Smiles chef to visit our school. We have been trying to initiate positive healthy options in our kids and this could be a way to spur positive change!

Eat'n Park said...

We're very excited that you're interested in having a LifeSmiles chef visit your school! Please fill out our contact form here (http://bit.ly/EnPHelp) so that we can follow up with you directly. Thanks!