Denton: Magic Help Promote Healthy Eating

By John Denton
September 10, 2012

ORLANDO -- Busy, on-the-go mothers like Windermere’s Jane Carrigan now has a healthy food option for her son, John, when the two are shuttling from middle school to baseball practice thanks to Chick-fil-A, the Orlando Magic and Florida Hospital.

The three organizations have partnered together to create a healthy food option for children often forced to consume fast food meals because of the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. Florida Hospital has given its first ``Healthy 100’’ seal of approval to the new Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets entrée as a nutritious food choice for children. Now, families like the Carrigans have a healthy and tasty option when they are hurrying from school events and sports practice on a daily basis.

``Now, if we’re running late or going to sports practice I can at least have a drive-thru option that is OK and have the children eat healthy,’’ said Jane Carrigan, who was with son, John, on Monday at the Chick-fil-A in Maitland. ``And (John) loves the chicken, so that makes it even better.’’

The move to the grilled nuggets rather than the fried variety is being done to attempt to curb some alarming childhood obesity numbers in the Orlando area. According to research conducted by Florida Hospital, one in three children in Orange County are considered overweight or obese. That could very well be the result of 48 percent of the restaurants in Orange County being considered fast food businesses. The goal for counties across the nation is set at 25 percent. The Florida Hosptial Healthy 100 seal of approval assures that patrons that a choice readily available is now a healthy option.

Under the guidelines determined by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Florida Hospital’s Healthy 100 nutrition team certifies that the grilled nuggets entrée, fruit cup and one-percent milk is one of the most nutritious children’s meal combinations offered among any major quick service restaurant chain. That combination meal contains 210 calories and just three grams of fat.

``Everyone is really excited about this partnership that we have with Chick-Fil-A and we’ve been able to give our seal of approval for the grilled nuggets,’’ said Dr. Angela Fals, the Medical Director of Healthy 100 Kids at Florida Hospital. ``This is important because it gives parents the option of having a healthy choice when grabbing a meal on the go and everyone is short on time. It gives parents the opportunity to give their kid something healthy and they can have the confidence knowing that the choice is one of the healthiest out there.’’

Monday’s event was sponsored and promoted by the Magic, and they had Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw on hand to deliver nuggets to the children. Magic mascot, Stuff, and Magic dancers were also on hand to celebrate Florida Hospital’s seal of approval for Chick-fil-A’s new healthy food option for children.

``It’s extraordinarily important to give families healthy options because mothers, fathers and children sometimes are moving quickly and meals have to be about convenience. If in that convenient setting you have something that’s good for your child and you can assure that they are eating something nutritious, that’s very important,’’ said Linda Landman-Gonzalez, the Magic’s Vice President of Community Relations and Government Affairs.

``We are committed to children because children are our fans, children are our future and our community. Their education, health and nutrition are extremely important to us and we make huge investments in them by building Kaboom! Playgrounds and filling our Blessing in a Backpack program so that kids can go home on the weekend and have choices that are healthy for them.’’

John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997. E-mail John at jdenton@orlandomagic.com or follow him on Twitter at @JohnDenton555.

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