Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kids' Menu

Jayden is now eating enough that when we go to restaurants, I need to order something for him too. He's not satisfied just eating a few bites from us or eating a snack that we bring.

I'm new to the world of the "Kids' Menu."

Jayden is vegetarian, although even if he wasn't, I wouldn't be choosing things like hot dogs or chicken nuggets for him.

Macaroni and cheese is a common option, but every single time (even in nicer restaurants) I ask the waiter or waitress whether the macaroni and cheese is homemade, they say it's the Kraft kind from a box. REALLY? That is shocking to me. You expect me to pay anywhere from $4 to $6 dollars for you to give my child a serving of Kraft macaroni? Let's ignore for a second that I would never feed him that* and just look at the fact that it's insulting to charge people that price when it costs $1 for an entire box. And it takes zero culinary skill. Aren't they embarrassed to make it? They are chefs. Even I know how to make macaroni and cheese from scratch. It's not that hard.

Grilled cheese is another choice, but I am assuming that's just white bread and processed Kraft slices of cheese.

The other night I ended up buying him cheese quesadillas from the adult menu and paying extra to have veggies added to them. I was pleased with this decision because they came loaded with mushrooms, red peppers, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, onion and a side of guacamole. He loved it. But, even after eating a good amount of it that night, my mom having some, and him eating it again for lunch the next day, there was still half of it leftover. (I can't eat it because of the onions.) I don't understand why stuff like that can't be offered on the kids' menu in a smaller portion.

Why did restaurants decide kids will only be served junk food? They are people too. They deserve to have meals made for them using real ingredients in the kitchen.

No wonder restaurants have those kids eat free deals all the time. The parents spend money on their meals and the restaurant only gives away $1 boxes of Kraft macaroni.

*I love a good creamy box of Kraft macaroni and cheese as much as anyone, but my crappy eating habits end with me. I am not passing them along to my son.


  1. I refuse to ever buy mac and cheese off the kid's menu at a restuarant as well, for the very same reasons.

  2. Wow. I too have always wondered why there is only junk on the kids' menu.

  3. OK, so to be totally I honest, as I was reading your post I was all "Wow, Judgey-Mc-Judgerson!" But then you added the qualifier at the end with the "crappy eating habits end with me", and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I know what you mean- there are things I grew up with that I don't think I'll ever be able to cut out of my diet, but I fully intend on keeping my kids from developing those habits. Well put :)

  4. I've actually had places assure me that it's Kraft mac n cheese, because apparently a lot of kids won't eat the real stuff. Yuck! Our son isn't a big eater though so we haven't had to make much use of the kids menu yet. But I will not be feeding him a constant diet of chicken nuggets even when he's eating more! Great that Jayden eats so well!

  5. it's sad that they don't offer veggie choices for kids. I don't get how they think that it's ok for them to just eat starchy crap. Ugh.

  6. Mea will eat anything. So when there is only chicken nuggets or mac n cheese, she gets annoyed. She likes to get a "enchiwada" or other things, that are rarely on kids menus.

    I've found that a lot of the time it is much easier to order some things a la cart, and then mix it up to make a meal. Often it's cheaper then buying a stupid kids meal anyway.

  7. My meal is usually plenty to share with my three year old son. He will usually eat whatever I eat. Works out great!

  8. Ugh- I'm the same way! really, who decided that kids can only eat chicken fingers, hot dogs, and french fries. It's like, oh that's all they eat- only if that is what you offer them. I order stuff from adult menu and bring it home. my hubs will always eat leftovers. Also, beans w/ cheese are always a good option. And pizza with veggies on it. It's tough out there- I usually end up packing the little dude and me some yogurt! Just wait until you get to amusement parks- cringe!

  9. Between the kids' allergies (Adam to dairy, Leah to eggs) and my vegan eating ways, there are only a handful of restaurants that we dare enter. And kids' meals seem to be particularly uninspired dishes that are the same no matter where you go: hot dogs, grilled cheese, chicken strips and mac'n'cheese.

    Our favourite meal out is all-you-can-eat sushi because each of us stuffs ourselves silly with food we can all eat. The kids chow down on edamame, maki rolls and all the rice they can get in their tummies.

  10. It's funny because not 15 minutes ago I was thinking that I don't plan on giving my girls (10 months) kraft Mac & cheese any time soon. I'd rather whip up some non-processed meal if I can (processed and preservatives are my big issues). Like you, I'm trying to give my girls better habits and in turn live my life healthier.

    I know I can't avoid all that stuff forever, but I can try!

    I am finally a follower (after reading from twitter for so long!)

  11. Sigh. The kids menu wrestling game.

    Due to Liam's previous weight issues and current pickiness, we give him anything he'll eat. This sometimes involves Kraft Mac & Cheese, goldfish crackers, yucky processed Gerber Graduates ravioli, etc. Luckily, he loves yogurt, fresh fruit and milk. He's refusing finger food veggies, but on occasion will still let us give him purees. He refused all meat for the longest time, but will now eat it if it's hidden in the ravioli. :)

    I'm with you-- I do not want to pass my crappy eating habits along to my kid.

    For us (for now), we feed him the healthiest thing he will eat first and then supplement with the less healthy choices. It sucks, but has to be done in order for him to thrive-- doctor's orders. He's a tiny guy who needs the calories. (He's already dropped how many oz of formula he'll drink-- totally not interested.)

    Kudos to you for standing up for healthy choices!

  12. Yeah for veggie babies! My husband is a vegetarian and though we haven't decided yet what to do with our baby, we know baby won't be eating much meat (if any). I wish I had been fed more veggies as a kid (and ones that weren't drenched in salt!)

  13. Wow, we eat out once a week (more recently as we've prepared to move) and even though Mac N Cheese is one of my son's favorites (and, at 4 1/2 he is able to order for himself), he has never ever been served Kraft Mac N Cheese at a restaurant (even our local Souplantation makes their own recipe). I did recently find out that the Mac N Cheese at the hot deli at our grocery store is made from frozen Stouffers. No wonder it tastes so good (but I no longer buy it).

    It is too bad that this has been your experience as there really are reputable family friendly restaurants that don't serve swill to our children.