Are Kids Menus Really Kid Friendly?

Yang Mommy

Over this past summer, my daughter and I ate out quite a lot. We were either on the go hither and yon, or on vacation, or simply wanted to get out and enjoy a beautiful afternoon outdoors. So our adventures took us to various eateries, from sandwich shops to nice restaurants. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Well for the most part it was, and is, fun to eat out with her. But as a toddler, she still has those pesky, picky, toddler taste buds.

Experience has now taught me to always, always bring some food I know my daughter will like and that’s good for her. Regardless of the stares and looks the restaurant staff may give me, I will continue to whip out a banana or mini-sandwich for her while kindly asking the wait staff for extra napkins.  The  number one reason I bring food along is not because she’s such a picky eater, which she isn’t really (although she has her moments), but because I’m a picky mom.

It seems the standards on kids menus in America today are: Mac n’ Cheese, Chicken Fingers, Sliders or Hot Dog and fatty sides like fries or chips. In and of themselves, these menu items are not all that bad for occasional treats; my girl loves her homemade mac n’ cheese.  And I’m all for letting her try items off my plate. But what gets me is that the flavoring of these items is often cooked to adult taste bud standards, not little children. Yes, trying new flavors is important, and fun. But if it burns my epicurean tongue, well then…

Take for instance the time we ordered off the kids menu some mashed potatoes. Well the potatoes were the same potatoes they serve to adults, including the garlicky seasoning which was even strong for me, who loves garlic, let alone a 1 1/2 yr old. Then there was the time we ordered her chicken fingers from another establishment and the batter was spiced, greasy and hardly any chicken underneath.  And lest I forget, on vacation we ordered her scrambled eggs for breakfast, another dish she loves at home. I had to protest when it came to our table, not only for the plate being too hot to touch, but also with a dollop of butter still melting on them! Belly ache, anyone?

These days, we still bring food she’ll like with us, but we tend to avoid the so-called kids menu. Rather, we’ll order her a side of fruit or some salad, or even let her pig-out on some fresh bread. From our encounters, we’ve found on average that the general seasoning is just not made in mind for tender palates, nor are the portions, let alone the nutritional value in most menu items.  I guess the same can be said for many adult menu items, can’t they!

So with that in mind, I’ll have to make sure that at this year’s Thanksgiving table, there’s some tot-friendly food items to go  along with the beloved standards.

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