If you’re anything like me, then going on holidays means a break from cooking. Oh happy, oh bliss, oh joy - no cooking. But, oh no, we are at the mercy of children's menus when we eat out.
Why is it that kids’ menus in restaurants are, on the whole, so rubbish?
They should just call it the chip menu.
What would you like with your chips today, children? Sausages, fish fingers, burger, chicken nuggets?
Or perhaps pasta and butter or pizza?
Where’s the balance, the veggies, the variety?
Chefs of Ireland, I know you are better than this.
I know you can produce excellent food because I have eaten it while my children sat beside me and ate a plate of fat, grease and salt.
And yes, they do enjoy it, mostly because they don’t get it at home (my lot anyway!).
But they can, in fact, eat other things beyond chips.
Please let’s have some better options on the menu or toss the kids' menu in the bin altogether and let them order half portions from adults one.
The most terrifying moment for me as a mother (slight exaggeration here for emphasis!), was when I realised my eldest son could read and I could no longer fob him off with dinner from my plate or an imaginary kids' menu.
Oh sad day, he had discovered he could read off the actual children’s menu and not just choose from the one I made up!
Holidaying in Ireland last year, we spent 10 days in a hotel i.e.. no cooking facilities.
During that time, I did a little experiment where I allowed the children order whatever they liked from the children’s menu every night.
I ate salads and fish and roast vegetables while they ate chips.
There was also pizza and the occasional bolognese but there was barely a vegetable to be seen on any of the 30 dinners consumed during those 10 days*.
This year, I was stricter and insisted that for lunch they had soup wherever we were and even told the waiter that we didn’t want to see the children’s menu (on the q.t.) so that they had to order from the adult menu.
And guess what - they enjoyed most of what they had.
There was a beef and vegetable pie that didn’t rate very highly but the generally veg-based soup always went down a treat.
Please, chefs of Ireland, consider the health of our children and offer them something better than the six staple** items available on most children’s menus.
And yes, I know that as a parent I should be taking responsibility for what my children eat but when you make it so attractive for them with the cute menus and the colouring and the free ice-cream - it’s like pushing a boulder up a mountain.
I’m just asking that there is always an option other than deep fried food, veg is always served on the side or included in the bolognese/curry and if offering chips, that they be homemade or at least not heavily salted. I’ll leave it at that for now……
*I catalogued the meals on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/thecoolfoodschool if you’re interested in checking it out. I use the ＃betterkidsmenus on insta and Facebook to get the conversation going
** 6 things on a kids menu - burger, sausages, nuggets, fish pieces, spaghetti bolognese and pizza