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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ditch the Kids' Menu

When the babies first started eating real food, we were so excited about the kids' menus at restaurants.  Look at all these shiny options! And they come with a snack and drink? And they're only $4 to $7?  Sign us up!  We'll take the chicken nuggets, no, the hotdogs, no, wait, we'll take the macaroni and cheese.

Our glee slowly faded, though, when we realized that the $7-dollar meal would never be eaten. We would be lucky to get even one no-thank-you bite out of them before the kids either refused to eat altogether or started nomming down on the adult meals, instead.

What a waste of money. And not only that, even if the twins wanted that food and scarfed it down, there's no reason for it. I don't make them special meals at home, why should they get used to fried, fatty, nutritionless food when we're out?

It seems like a lot of effort to chop up a portion of an adult meal for a child, but, really, it's no more effort than chopping up a kids' meal for a child. I've found it's easier to take a bite and give a bite from my own plate than it is to eat myself while continually checking up on the babies to see that they've even taken one half of a bite from their plate.  They like to eat themselves, so I'll usually stack a few bites from my plate onto theirs and let them go at that while I get a few tastes of my own food.

Plus, this way I can be sure they get enough protein, carbs and vegetables.  No matter which way you slice it, chicken nuggets, mac and cheese and a pre-prepared fruit cup is not as good for them as half of whatever I've ordered.  At least that was cooked to order from fresh ingredients, not thrown from the freezer into the deep fryer.

We still ask for a kids' menu at every restaurant we frequent, though. The paper and crayons are worth it!

When it comes to actually ordering, however, we've found that ordering just two adult meals and asking for two little plates is the way to go.  That and two extra chocolate milks, of course.

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  1. We do the same thing. We used to let ours pick whatever they wanted from the kids' menu as a treat, but we soon discovered that they aren't used to junk food and won't eat it. Good problem to have, though. I won't have to worry about their eating habits when they're grown.

    Btw, the best part of going out alone is that I finally get to eat all of my salad without little hands stealing all of the tomatoes and olives. :)

  2. I totally agree, if I do order a separate portion for my boys (age 3) I order one meal and split it, I find with all of the food that is wasted, it costs the same to feed two toddlers as it did to feed our girl when she was a toddler (because she wasted the other half anyway...)

  3. We do the exact same thing. We've ordered a meal for the girls to split occasionally, if we know they're super hungry or something. But for the most part they just eat bits and pieces from our plate (and Sam has a snack of crayons lol). I always feel bad though, like the waitresses are pissed we aren't spending an extra $10 on them but they still have to clean up our mess. I usually clean up the table as best I can and leave an extra $1 to make up for it :P

  4. You go out to eat with your kids?! You are too awesome. I hate taking my kids to restaurants... except pizza or a taqueria. They are the pickiest dang eaters. I agree... kids' menus are a waste.

  5. We learned long ago that our little girl (now almost 4) doesn't like the kids menu at most restaurants. So we let her choose from the regular menu instead. She often will eat a side salad or appetizer veggies in lieu of the mac and cheese on the kids menu.



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