I was recently looking around on Facebook and came across an article from Food & Wine Magazine about a fine dining restaurant who took a new take on the kids menu. I got excited that someone was finally doing something different than most American restaurants and offering a menu of cleaner, healthier options.
When I clicked through, I realized it was a funny take on the same over-processed options. It got me thinking that many parents, including me, are working so hard to provide their little ones with gourmet and homemade baby and toddler foods, but restaurants aren't following suit.
Most parents already know exactly what to expect on the 'kids menu' before even stepping foot into most American restaurants...grilled cheese/quesadilla, pb&j, chicken fingers, hot dog/mini burger, or mac n' cheese. It's only enabling the already epidemic picky eater habit and discourages our little ones from continuing to build their palates.
Going out to restaurants helps build socialization skills and manners, but knowing what's on the menu certainly discourages us from taking our little one out to dinner. I'd love to be surprised with small portions of something like baked salmon with broccoli or roasted chicken and carrots, but in the end, I know I'll be sharing half my meal with our little one.
Additional resources and interesting articles:
Skip the Kids Menu: Making Dining Out Healthy for Children US News & World Report
Give Kids Healthier Restaurant Meals...And They'll Eat Them Treehugger
Restaurants pledged to make kids’ meals healthier The Conversation
When Kids Eat At Restaurants, The Food Is Not As Healthy For Children As You Think eatreal.org