Mamas and Papas, I can’t take it anymore! What is going on with the kids menus most restaurants are handing us these days? Have you seen what I’m talking about here?
As parents, we do our best to feed our babies in the absolute best way we’re possibly able, and then as they enter toddlerhood, we continue to make healthy choices for them – ensuring they have plenty of fruits and veggies, etc. – some of us even cranking out homemade baby food like we’ve suddenly become a gourmet chef – and then…
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THEN we’re supposed to throw all of those concerns out the window when our kids reach an age when they’re old enough to order from the kids menu. What?! No way!
When your family goes out to eat, have you noticed what is typically offered to kids?
- Chicken Nuggets
- Mac & Cheese
- Plain Spaghetti Noodles
Of course all three options are served with an M & M cookie and a chocolate milk.
You have got to be kidding me. That’s it?
Even while we were at Disney World we noticed this with many of the kids menu options [on the meal plan], and please hear me out here. I have heard many a family say that Disney has been FANTASTIC about accommodating specific dietary needs their family has, so I really don’t want to poo poo all over Disney World (Huge Mickey fans here!), but seriously…when I’m in line to eat with my kids at Disney World, the last thing I feel like doing is asking the cast members to whip up some grass feed beef with sides of grilled asparagus for my kids. *Just in case you’re new around here, I am being slightly sarcastic and exaggeratory at this time.* Anyway, in those kinds of situations, we feel stuck, so we just do the best we can – which sometimes means feeding our kids odd-colored “chicken” nuggets or a grilled “cheese”, right? However, when I have options, I take ’em!
When we go out to a restaurant, we usually do one of the following things:
- David and I order our meals, and our kids simply share with us. (Who am I kidding? We hardly ever do this. ha! We are big eaters who don’t like to share our grub, so while that’s a great idea we may have used once or twice, it’s not typically our m.o. Let’s move on, shall we?)
- We order a healthy appetizer option for our kids to split up and eat as their meal. Sometimes we ask the server to bring it on to the table (depending on the situation), and it works well to get everyone busy eating sooner rather than later. This is especially helpful when everyone is feeling hangry! Does your crew ever suffer from hanger? ha!
- We order one or two additional adult meals for all of our kids to split. This is probably what we do most often, and it works great for us! Our kids have big appetites, so the larger amounts of food are helpful, and believe it or not, ordering this way usually saves us money on our bill! Seriously!
This whole scene usually shocks the server!
Waiter: What? You don’t want to order from the kids menu?
Me: No, thank you.
Recently, I had a waiter nearly PANIC when I ordered my kids the adult quesadilla entree.
Waiter: So you want me to leave off all the veggies and hold the pico in the kitchen – just chicken and cheese, right?
Me: Oh no, you can bring it to us as it’s usually served.
Waiter: But isn’t it for the kids?
Me: Ummmmm, yesssss, that’s what I said, Mister. (Okay, I didn’t actually say that, but I was thinking it.)
Unfortunately, I have had similar interactions more times than I can count.
Why on earth do we have a generation of kids who will only eat chicken nuggets and mac and cheese? I honestly think we have created much of their pickiness. Ouch! I can already feel the hate mail coming, but c’mon! We have to admit that in many situations we have failed to continue to offer healthy options oftentimes accommodating developmentally normal early childhood pickiness to the point that we train them to no longer be able to tolerate real food.
I get it! Your kids are probably like mine, and their taste buds [and their overall appetites!] seem to change by the minute. I’ve actually read a lot of research about how that’s normal for growing little ones. Whew! Such research definitely helps to put a mama’s mind at ease. One minute my kids will be in to whatever I serve them, and then in the very next moment, they spit that same thing out all over their food tray – but I continue to offer it over and over again [served with other things I know they like!] without providing a backup plan. I promise they have never, ever, ever gone hungry, and if you implement the same approach, your kids won’t either. I refuse to cook two meals every night: one for the grownups and one for the kids – no way! Goodness gracious, there are many evenings when I do well to get one meal on the table! Our kids eat what we eat. They’ve never had any other choices made available to them, so they’ve never expected anything different; and we hold to the same idea when we go out to eat. I just wish restaurants were taking the same approach!
Anyone else with me on this?
My derogatory comments toward chicken nuggets were not at all directed toward Chick-fil-a where my children partake of fried meat from time to time.