Parenting is a continuum of teachable moments. Looking Past the Children’s Menu by Susan Dominus in the NY Times (Priyanka – thanks for passing this on) was a gentle reminder (or wake up call) that if we want our children to branch out and expand their eating horizons … we need to encourage them to try new and unusual foods.
It’s easy to get pigeonholed into using the convenient and cost-effective children’s menu, but that menu generally offers the same grub in every restaurant – chicken fingers, burgers and fries, mac and cheese, hot dogs, or pizza. Let’s be honest, when out to dinner, it is easy to purchase the $4 grilled cheese and fries from the kid’s menu when most entrees start at $15. With the at-home dad gig, I have some extra-time on my hands, so I venture out with offering our two year old chicken francaise/marsala, rigatoni with meatballs, whipped sweet potatoes and the like.
The NY Times article reinforces the positive effects of having dinner together as a family as well as the parent’s role of introducing and being persistent with offering our children new foods. Nicola Marzovilla, the owner of I Trulli, emphasizes the importance of “encouraging” (or “forcing” as his 14 year old daughter stated) his children to try new foods.
“If you don’t ask your children to try things, how will they ever know what they’re capable of?” Mr. Marzovilla said. “And isn’t the same true of us?”
When going out to dinner, do you use the crutch of the children’s menu? What are your tips for parents on better options?