Do you dine out with your children? I don’t mean taking them to Chick-Fil-A or Chucky Cheese (which my kids both enjoy), I mean do you take your children to casual dining or upscale dining restaurants? If you do, have you taken a look at the children’s menu lately? Since you have kids, I’m sure you have.
So, imagine with me for a minute that you are at one of your favorite family restaurants. You hurriedly pick the children’s menu before glancing at the specials because you want to make sure that the kids get their food first. What’s on the menu? Wait…hold on…I’ll take a guess. Chicken tenders, grilled cheese, fries, macaroni and cheese. If the restaurant is especially “fancy” maybe you’ll even see some chicken quesadillas, pizza or hot dogs. Really? Give me a break. How are you going to teach children the value of fresh produce, seasonality and cultural variances with a children’s menu like that?
If you want your children’s meal to even be slightly reflective of the restaurant’s overall theme, most times you are much better off ordering from the appetizer menu or eating your dinner “family style”. Kids eat free is no excuse either, encourage your children to try food from your plate so that they can grow to appreciate different flavors and foods. It’s been said that it can take up to 12 tries (if not more), for a child to taste a new food and learn to accept it. Especially during family travel, food is a great way to expose children to new and interesting cultures, spices and ways of life. So go on and have your kids try something new and exciting. Start slow and remember, the appetizer menu is an easy and more affordable way to tip toe into more flavorful children’s menu choices that don’t always suck.