03/20/2012 11:24 am ET

Silver Diner's Kid Critics Help Shape A Healthy Menu

WASHINGTON -- Silver Diner locations may soon have better options for families looking for healthy ways to eat out.

Today, the diner's Rockville location is hosting the top 25 contestants in its "Food Critic for a Day" children's contest, who'll dine on side-by-side comparisons of proposed menu additions, including healthier versions of classic dishes, salads and pastas.

As part of the contest, the kids each submitted an audition video explaining why they wanted to be a critic while also incorporating the theme "Tastes Good and Good for You." The critics' assessments will help shape Silver Diner's new kids' menu.

Silver Diner has long been a proponent of healthy meals for kids, and was one of the first U.S. restaurants to support the National Restaurant Association's Kids Live Well program. To date, Silver Diner has donated more than $200,000 for schools’ nutrition and fitness programs.

The contest is just one of several efforts to improve the kids' menu. The restaurant recently removed fries and soda from its menu after noticing that strawberries outsell French fries and home fries combined. The current children's menu is one of the most extensive in the country at 18 options, with half of them qualifying as either a heart-healthy item or a National Restaurant Association's Kids Live Well item.