New Mobile Game Promotes Healthy Eating

Using mobile devices and a cartoon baby, the National Restaurant Association is teaching kids about healthy eating.

Whether young or old, it’s hard to make healthy choices when eating out. But a new gaming application released by the National Restaurant hopes to make it easier for kids and parent to find healthy eating options.

Called FoodLeap, the game, which NRA created in coordination with SuperKids Nutrition, introduces kids to the Kids LiveWell program that provides healthy dining options for children and promotes the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables while avoiding unhealthy fats, sugars, and sodium.

It was a unique way to start the conversation about making healthful choices.

“The app was just really the perfect opportunity to combine spreading awareness about the program with creating a fun tool for families to start that conversation about making healthful choices especially when dining out,” NRA Manager of Media Relations Rachel Salabes told Associations Now.

FoodLeap follows Super Baby Abigail—a SuperKids Nutrition character—as she races down the Rainbow Road level by level, collecting healthy foods, dodging flying kitchenware, and obtaining speed boosts from antioxidant power. At the completion of each level, the player learns interesting facts about the different food items Abigail has collected.

“We’re always just looking for different, fun marketing tools to spread the word about Kids LiveWell and really a game was just a way that we thought we could engage kids,” Salabes said. “It was a unique way to start the conversation about making healthful choices.”

The game, which is free and available for iPhones and iPads, also connects directly to the Kids LiveWell app that helps parents find healthy dining options while on-the-go.

“Technology is an effective way to bridge the gap between parents and kids, to educate while entertaining them,” SuperKids Nutrition Founder Melissa Halas-Liang said in a release. “Games and cartoon characters are fun and get kids’ attention—so combining what kids like with healthy food themes creates an opportunity to educate kids in an engaging way.”

“FoodLeap is a game that is meant to create a dialogue between parents and their kids about how healthy foods taste and how they can be enjoyed,” she continued. “Kids gain exposure to healthy foods and their benefits, and parents can encourage them to try the nutritious foods featured in the game when visiting restaurants that participate in the Kids LiveWell program.”

NRA launched the Kids LiveWell program in 2011 with the help of Healthy Dining, a team of dieticians providing nutrition information for restaurant menus and encouraging restaurants to offer healthy options.

Restaurants that sign on to the program agree to adhere to certain nutrition qualifications set by NRA, receive third-party verification as a healthy dining choice, and are added to the program’s accessible list of nutritious restaurants. About 42,000 restaurants nationwide participate.

“We know families are eager for healthful children’s meals, and the growth of the Kids LiveWell program has shown that the restaurant industry is enthusiastic about providing these nutritious choices,” NRA Vice President of Industry Affairs and Food Policy Joan McGlockton said in the statement. “We are excited to offer an app that will increase awareness about the nutritious options available while dining out, as well as empower children with the knowledge to make healthful choices in a creative and entertaining way.”

(iTunes screenshot)

Alex Beall

By Alex Beall

Alex Beall is an associate editor for Associations Now with a masters in journalism and a penchant for Instagram. MORE

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