Dining Out With Kids: How To Stay Off The Kids Menu

The kid's menu needs a makeover. Yeah, we said it.

Choosing a restaurant to eat at with children usually means that they offer a kid’s menu in addition to the “adult” menu. But why? The kid’s menu is usually full of bland food lacking in nutritional value.

While you’re eating a salad or salmon, your child is probably eating plain pasta or pizza. So why not introduce foods that are full of color and flavor by forgetting the kid menu and ordering off the main menu instead?

Teaching Your Kids About the World

If you want your kids to live a well-rounded life, part of that is learning about – and enjoying – food and cultures from around the world. Take them to a Greek restaurant and introduce them to the joys of gyros and tzatziki sauce, or when going to an Italian restaurant don’t just order plain pasta, but instead let them try your eggplant parmesan or meat sauce.

You may worry that your kids will reject this food and instead cry for their blue and true favorites. Try instituting the rule that they have to take at least two bites of something new at every meal. They may surprise you and themselves when the realize how much good food is out there.

3 Tips To Make The Switch

It won’t be easy if your kids are used to hot dog and fries at every restaurant, but if you’re willing and interested, here are three rules that could help wean your kids off pizza and have them gobbling up salmon in no time.

1. Don’t ask for a kid’s menu. Instead, give them some of what you order

If you don't present a kid’s menu, then there are no kid's menu choices to make. Instead, try sharing some food off your plate – or even share a few dishes with the table. What you practice as a parent becomes what is expected. 

2. Go out to eat early and bring an ace in your pocket

When you’re going out to eat with your kids, it can be stressful if your children aren’t being well behaved. Dining out at an earlier hour mitigates the risk of your kid having a meltdown during the dinner rush. Bringing appropriate toys to keep them occupied - yet engaged with the group - is a parenting win. Coloring books, small story books, stickers, and mess-free water pens are all great options. 

3. Reward, reward, reward

If your kid who previously refused to eat sushi tries some, make sure they know how proud you are of them! Whether it’s with verbal praise, a shared dessert at the end of the meal, or a new sticker book for the car ride home, kids respond well to positive reinforcement.

PRO TIP: Take your Tin Star Foods ghee-on-the-go. It's better than butter. Buy single serve packets here.

Eating out should be a pleasure, and by training your kids to eat a variety of foods, dining out will become a pastime your family can enjoy together. 


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