Published: Sep 13, 2010 6:00 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 13, 2010 3:00 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - First lady Michelle Obama is challenging the nation's restaurants to add more healthy options to menus, label those items more prominently and market nutritious foods to kids.

Speaking at the National Restaurant Association Monday, Mrs. Obama pleaded with restaurants small and large to take a little butter or cream out of their dishes, use low fat milk and provide apple slices or carrots as a default side dish on the kids' menu.

Mrs. Obama said that Americans are spending half of their food dollars outside the home and eating a third of meals in restaurants. She asked the restaurants to rethink the food they offer and reformulate their menus to help combat childhood obesity.