Thursday, July 24, 2008

Eating Out with Kids

Why do children’s menus exist at restaurants? The default items on these menus are invariably chicken fingers, grilled cheese sandwiches and hamburgers, all served with French fries. If there ever was an effective way of deadening our kids’ palates while making them fat and unhealthy at the same time, it’s by serving them the flavorless, colorless foodstuffs that dominate the mini menus.

Granted, as I’ve written before, there’s nothing wrong with grilled cheese and burgers if they are made from raw milk cheese, grass-fed beef and whole grain bread. But finding those ingredients is difficult enough on regular menus, let alone on children’s menus.

I understand that parents want to avoid conflict with their children while out to dinner, but why does kowtowing in this area become the de facto response? Why shouldn’t good eating habits be the rule, not the exception?

I also recognize that ordering from the regular menu for children may not make sense in regard to price and portion size. But can American portion sizes be considered sensible in the first place? Appetizers are big enough to be main courses, and main courses easily can feed two adults.

What if we were to split our appetizers and/or main courses with our children? The kids would be better fed, we wouldn’t be eating as much, and the bill would be smaller.

Full disclosure: I don’t have kids. But here’s a link to a New York Times article written by a parent who feels similarly:

No comments: