Eating With Kids at a Restaurant

By , Robin Miller, Food Network’s Healthy Eats
I’m sure you think I cook dinner every night but, the truth is, I eat out with my boys a decent amount. Sometimes it’s because we head straight from school to soccer to chess and there’s no time to run home. Other times, when I’ve been testing recipes and cooking all day, I just want someone else to serve the food. Plus, I love games and we always play something while we wait for the meal: Scrabble, Blink, Spot It, Uno, hangman, tic-tac-toe or word search. This week, I’m traveling with my buddies and we made up a game – we created tee pees with our silverware while waiting for breakfast!
Food-wise, my kids love everything but eating out with picky eaters can be daunting. My boys didn’t start out with open minds and palates, but I used a few tricks to get them started and here they are: 

The best choices on the children’s menu are typically the following:
  • Pasta with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese
  • Plain pasta with a little butter and parmesan cheese
  • Individual pizzas
  • Grilled burgers with cheese, lettuce and tomato
  • Quesadillas, with or without chicken
  • Salads with carrots, cucumber cherry tomatoes and dressing
  • Grilled or roasted chicken breast or chicken skewers with barbecue dipping sauce
  • Baked and roasted potatoes
  • Fresh fruit
  • Steamed seasonal vegetables
  • Don’t feel obligated to stick to the children’s menu just because you have little ones. If your kids like grilled chicken and the children’s choice is fried fingers, order an adult meal (bring leftovers home if you have to).
  • Swap salads and steamed/sautéed veggies for French fries. My kids always ask for broccoli over fries because I did that from day one. Sweet potato fries are a better choice if they “fight you” on the fry thing. Roasted potatoes are even better.
Click here for more tips on eating with kids at a restaurant from Food Network.

More from Food Network: What tips work for your family when eating at a restaurant? What makes a restaurant family friendly?

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