WASHINGTON — Darden Restaurants, parent company of Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, has launched a health and wellness initiative designed to reduce calories and sodium.

The company is looking at its overall “calorie footprint” as a measurement of its total impact, and the company is working toward a 10 percent reduction of calories across restaurants during the next 10 years through reformulating, resizing and removing items, as well as introducing calorie-conscious choices.

Darden also said it is looking to cut sodium by 10 percent during the next five years and 20 percent over the next 10 years. The company said it will provide children’s meal choices that appeal to both parents and children by establishing nutrition standards to guide development of meals, making fruits and vegetables the standard side-dish items and making an 8-oz. serving of 1 percent milk the default beverage with free refills.

“As a leader in culinary innovation, we pride ourselves on making good food better and on finding new ways to nourish and delight everyone we service,” said Drew Madsen, president and CEO. “Today we are taking a new step forward by creating a comprehensive health and wellness commitment while preserving our commitment to offer our guests the delicious food they have come to know and love from their favorite Darden restaurants.”