Have you ever noticed how limited many kids’ menus are at restaurants? Honestly, it never really hit me until we were on vacation last month. Ninety-five percent of the choices for kids consisted of chicken nuggets/tenders, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, macaroni and cheese, or grilled cheese. Of course the options for sides included fries because there is no other way to prepare potatoes apparently. Some offered fruits and vegetables…but not all.
I know many people are brainwashed to believe that is the complete food pyramid for many kids. Is that just because that’s all that we’re offering?
Case and point. During a dinner out while on vacation, my 4-year-old was not in the mood for the typical kids’ choices. She moaned and groaned. When she asked what I was having and I answered steak, she asked why she couldn’t have that too. Good question. So, I asked the waiter if I could order a smaller steak for her. While he said they couldn’t do that (hmmm…okay, can’t you just cut a smaller piece of meat?, but I digress) he did tell me I could simply order a beef kabob that was listed as an “add-on” on the adult menu. While this satisfied her carnivorous craving, I asked myself why this couldn’t be an option on the kids’ menu. Sure, I could have just given my daughter some of my steak, but that still doesn’t solve the problem. Plus, mama wants to eat too! Why are kids locked into a box of hot dogs and grilled cheeses? Can’t we do better for our kids? It’s no wonder we have a childhood obesity problem in this country.
Maybe some of it comes down to the all mighty dollar.We all know restaurants are making some bucks on their kids’ meals. Sorry, but when you’re charging $5.99 for a bowl of mac and cheese and a drink, I know there is profit to be had. A box of Kraft mac and cheese goes for about one dollar…and that’s a whole box that feeds more than one kid. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out who’s coming out on top here. It’s certainly not the kids and parents. If it’s not mac and cheese then it’s a $4.99 “meal” that consists of a hot dog, fries, and a drink. Sure it’s cheap, but mama always said, you get what you pay for. There is nothing nutritious going on in there. Why not offer more balanced “adult-like” meal options? Maybe baked chicken, steak, dare I even go so far as suggest fish? If restaurants have to charge more then so be it. It will then be on the parents to decide whether they want to pay an extra five bucks for their kid to have a better quality meal. Until or should I said if this happens it looks like I’ll be ordering that beef kabob from the adult menu for my kid.