Restaurant kids menus mostly make me crazy. People complain that their kids don’t eat enough vegetables, but take a look at what we are offering them. Before I go completely into my rant here, let me just say that all three of my girls eat vegetables. They always have. I don’t know where the cliche about kids not eating them originates, or if my kids are just little weirdos, but they eat almost all vegetables. But most kids restaurant menus have bought the myth and serve a menu that makes you feel like you may as well just take your kid to a fast food drive thru. Anyone else wondering why we have an obesity problem if this is how we are training children to eat?
Seriously, chicken nuggets, cheese pizza, corn dogs, grilled cheese, and cheeseburgers are like the standard kids menu. At most places, these are served with french fries and sometimes a cookie or ice cream. Never mind the boredom just reading these menus. But why do we assume kids don’t want good food. Even at places that are a little more upscale than you local diner, you find these same menus. I end up faced with a dilemma. Do I order the kid the bland, boring spaghetti with butter sauce, or do I let her order the fettuccine alfredo on the adults menu, knowing she can only eat about half of the dish, and I’m going to pay three times as much as a kids menu item. Of course, I encourage her to order the alfredo. And this works fine when she orders something the husband or I will eat as left overs. Sometimes, it’s a solid mushroom pizza, and no one else really eats mushrooms, so I’m faced with a food waste problem that makes me cringe. But I want her to experience good food.
In either case, I would love to see restaurants consider that kids have taste buds. I mean, check out Food Network these day. Do you see how many 8-12 year old kids are competing in cooking competitions? You don’t see them serving chicken nuggets and fries all the time. Put pesto and alfredo as options on the kids pasta dish. Offer a kids sized margarita pizza. Offer the daily vegetable or a side salad as the sides on the kids menu. Offer a kid sized portion of eggs benedict. Some kids even eat steak, fish, and pork.
Really, it should not be that difficult. Take the food you like and make it in a kid sized portion. Don’t assume that little means tasteless. Offer them good food. You can still offer the chicken nuggets, but give them some options.