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?
Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels
I am a SAHM of twin boys who don’t eat. I swear they live on air, and are doing very well on it by the way! But I, like you can understand the “rut” we can get our kids into by continuing to order off the children’s menu. I have branched out recently and it has paid off. For example, when out at the local pizzeria, I order meatballs and rigatoni with fresh mozzarella instead of the good ole slice of pizza. At our mexican restaurant, my kids will eat refried beans and rice while munching on a taquito. I realize these may not be the most “organic” or nutritious options, but at least its not chicken fingers or grilled cheese. In fact, I don’t let my kids have grilled cheese more than 1x a week and most of the time I make it on all natural whole grain bread with raw milk cheddar cheese. My most recent discovery was a breakfast food! Sweet potato pancakes that taste exactly like regular buttermilk pancakes. The brand is “Bruce’s” and they are easy to make (just add water to the mix and cook). My kids love them and are getting veggies at the same time!