Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Kid's Menu

We eat out quite a bit compared to how often my family ate out when I was a kid.  We normally have at least one lunch out and one dinner out... and we rarely ever order from the children's menu.

The other day, we took the Daddy-man to Babin's to celebrate Father's Day.  Babin's has delicious Louisiana-style food, but their children's menu could have been from any restaurant in America.

I made the comment to my husband, "Why does every restaurant serve the same crap to kids?"  Why do restaurants confine children's menus to hamburgers, hotdogs, pre-made mac & cheese, chicken tenders (or nuggets), and a cheese pizza?  And why do they want to charge me $5 for a kid's meal that tastes like salted cardboard?

People are often shocked that our toddler eats whatever the adults are eating.  I find it shocking that people find it shocking. I'm not a short order cook. I make one meal. I don't make baby food.  I don't make toddler food. I make real food.  A baby is ready to eat when they can partake of the foods we're already eating (within reason of course- we wouldn't feed a baby just started out on solids a big juicy steak).

We do have a picky eater in the house (Keagan), but we encourage him to keep trying foods (and he often ends up liking them... eventually).

Adult's plate

Toddler's plate

Anyway, like I said, the other day we were at Babin's, and I'm looking at the kid's menu wondering why they're so unimaginative.  Is it so hard to believe that children might want salmon, shrimp, or gumbo?

We often order a big platter of food for the kids to share, or order several big meals to share as a family.  I typically browse the menu for the entree (or appetizer) that offers a lot of variety and a lot of food for them to share.  One of my favorite restaurants, Casa Ole, has an appetizer that has a huge stack of nachos, taquitos, and quesadillas served with sour cream and guacamole.  The kids love this!  Plus, it often ends up being much cheaper to order one big combo meal for them to split than to get each of them their own meal.  (And we always get water to drink.)

Even though we are a family of seven (six who actually eat "real food"- the baby obviously doesn't), we rarely ever spend more than $40 at a restaurant.  Most occasions we spend almost exactly $35 pre-tip (post-tax).  Eating at restaurants as a "big" family doesn't have to cost big.  The kids can enjoy flavorful food and try new things as we share big platters of food family-style.


Shannon said...

You are so right! I was just thinking the very thing the other day. We were at Applebees and my kids had a choice between yucky nuggets, grilled cheese, mac and cheese or burgers :( They don't like to eat any of that stuff. Great idea to just order a few meals off the main menu and share. Will be doing that next time! Great post! Thanks :) Shannon

Samara said...

We do this, too! The kids meals are always so unhealthy. I've ordered Mac n cheese for them at restaurants (nice ones, too!) and it was Kraft mac n cheese from a box!! My kids eat what the adults eat at home too so a lot of times, my husband and I will just share what we order with them.


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