Eating Out with Kids


My 7-year-old constantly begs to eat at Fazoli’s.

Unfortunately for her, I refuse to pay five bucks for a fist-sized portion of spaghetti that I can make and serve at home for about 50 cents per serving.

Needless to say, my kid doesn’t get her Fazoli’s fix very often.

Nothing against Fazoli’s; I’m actually not a fan of kids’ restaurant menus in general.

I am an equal opportunity hater.

To me, there’s just something wrong about having to fork over $3 to $7 at a restaurant for my kid to dine on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, hot dog or mac and cheese.

The overpriced kiddie options are pretty standard regardless of where you dine these days, though they are most prevalent in popular chain restaurants. That’s where you’ll find kids’ menus filled with child-friendly choices, such as grilled cheese, chicken fingers, and pasta served with a side of fries or chips.

Granted, some sit-down family-style restaurants offer healthier fare. Meanwhile, others stick to kiddie faves, but give parents the choice of having their offspring order veggies and fruit on the side instead of greasy French fries. Still, in most cases, if you are concerned about the nutritional value of your child’s meal, you’re better off ordering an appetizer or entree off the regular menu and splitting it up between your children.

The appetizer idea came in handy a few weeks ago when my daughter and I met up with friends at a local casual dining restaurant. Rather than order off of the kiddie menu, the moms selected a few “healthier” appetizers and created a mini finger food buffet for the kids to share.

If you are opposed to the idea of spending ten bucks, so your kid can eat an adult entree, consider the benefits of leftovers. For example, if your son is served two pork chops, have him eat one at the restaurant and take the other with you and serve it to him the next day at lunch. With a little creative portion control, you can stretch your restaurant dollar, and your child can indulge in a favorite dish twice in a single week.

What’s your take on kids’ menus? Do you think you get what you pay for?

Related Articles:

Fast Food Kids’ Meals—How Healthy Are They?

Kids And Juice—Are They A Healthy Mix?

Is There Such A Thing As A Healthy Hamburger?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.