We’ve been traveling through America for the last week or so, and we’ve eaten a lot of meals in restaurants. We’ve had everything from fast food to upscale dining and we’ve looked at menu after menu after menu. When I make the statement I am about to make, please note that I know that I have very picky eaters and I blame no one for that but my husband and myself. However, when I make meals for my kids at home, I’m always sure to include a vegie and fruit. I also try to make different types of food and diversify their menus. I no longer buy chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese and am trying to cut down on pasta as much as I can. I make them what we eat, and I no longer offer a second option.
Restaurants need to change up their kid’s menus and remove the chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, pasta, hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, grilled cheese and all the usual kid’s foods from their offerings and replace them with healthy food! I don’t need my already fussy eaters being offered the above mentioned fried foods that aren’t really good for them and offer zero nutritional value. In addition, they’re always offering french fries with everything- why don’t they offer vegies and fruit? My kids don’t eat apple sauce, so that doesn’t help and it’s usually the only other offering.
Research has shown that meals kids eat at restaurants have nearly twice the calories as meals they have at home. And for some options on kids’ menus, they have more than 1,000 calories. (Source: http://www.letsmove.gov)
What I don’t understand is that restaurants are already offering adults healthy options. All they need to do is provide smaller dishes of the same food to kids on the children’s menu – salmon, grilled chicken, stir fried vegetables, salads, whole wheat pasta, etc. It wouldn’t be that hard. If my kids were only being offered the same foods we were, they’d surely find something to eat. They’d simply have to.
Don’t get me wrong, I do what I can to make these meals healthier – my kids drink water not juice, I order fruit and vegies off the menu and I order low-fat milk. But it’s all just a drop in the bucket – the real problem is the meals themselves.
Last night was the first night in a week that they truly had a healthy meal. It was in Savannah, GA and we went for sushi, which my kids don’t actually eat but they do eat grilled fish and meat and rice. We were happy, they were happy and it was effortless. They had miso soup and edamame for starters and there was no struggle. There was no junk on the kid’s menu, hence less discussion and less concern.
Is the key to eat at Japanese restaurants forever more? Perhaps but I think it’s time for restaurants to just get with the program. My daughter is 9-1/2 and will start eating off the main menu soon, anyway. Let’s start moving her in that direction and get her prepared to make better choices, the same ones we make, NOW.
How do you feel about what your kids are eating in restaurants and what do you do about it?
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by me and myself.