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Real menus for children - campaign?

(160 Posts)
fuzzpig Mon 16-Jun-14 20:56:21

Following this thread it seems parents may like the idea of persuading restaurants to change their children's menus to be more in line with the adult ones.

Some places still seem to offer little more than nuggets/fish fingers etc, which only serves to encourage the idea that children don't want 'real food'.

It would be great if more places were openly willing to do a children's portion of any adult meal for a smaller price (apparently some places do this but I've never seen it advertised), for example. It was mentioned on the above thread and some posters seemed in favour of the idea, so here I am grin

Meglet Mon 16-Jun-14 21:02:58

I'm in. There's more important stuff in the world but it would be nice to see fewer 'junk food' options

My dc's pinch my olives hmm. I'd like to see restaurants with child size portions of them.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Mon 16-Jun-14 21:06:20

I agree, kids menus need to be a lot more varied.

I am happy when I see Spag Bol for kids on the menu and really that should be a basic.

An ideal kids menu for dd wojld be
Chicken Dinner
Spag Bol or Meatballs and pasta
Ham and Cheese Quesedilla with a bit of rice and peas
Omelette with different fillings
Wraps or Pittas in different fillings with tortilla chips
Quiche and crudites

Yoghurt and berries for pud
Small bottles of water or milk.

JennyWren Mon 16-Jun-14 21:26:08

A half size portion of just about anything on the main menu is all that's needed. As a parent I've never taken my children to a restaurant where there's nothing at all they will eat, if it can be sourced in small enough quantities - any restaurant that was that outlandish would be failing to cater to the average adult. We've been known to order three main courses between the four of us, and a spare plate. Or for DC to have a starter, perhaps with an extra portion of fries - if there are moules on the menu, DD will go for those any day. I've had some slightly strange meals where DD and DS can't agree, so I've had half of each of their main course!

I hate restaurants who will only offer nuggets/fishfingers/burger - it is short-changing us all.

NoraRobertsismyguiltypleasure Mon 16-Jun-14 21:35:05

I very often ask if a place will do a half size, I've mostly had success - although some places are then a bit flummoxed as to what to charge - not sure why it can't just be half!
If the only thing on offer in a child size portion is crap like nuggets, then I'll either order a starter and a main and share it out ,or just order a main that seems like it will be generous and share it.
I really believe that the 'children's menu' should cease to exist and all food places should simply have a selection of meals which are easily downsized to a child portion.

vestandknickers Mon 16-Jun-14 21:45:02

I think there are plenty of places offering lovely children's menus.

If you don't like the chicken nugget type places, then don't eat there. Presumably other people do or they wouldn't sell.

RabbitSaysWoof Mon 16-Jun-14 21:56:24

Goodest idea ever fuzz.
Went to a lovely Italian with the option of almost everything in starter size, with a smaller price next to the main meal price and it was the nicest meal I've had with dc.
I think we should add that anywhere inviting families with young children need small cutlery dc dont need to eat roast dinners off of teaspoons and obvs adult forks are too heavy.
I think its extreme to say 'dont eat there then' my friends are not that understanding that I am anal careful about what I want my kid eating and I dont want to demand we change venue so pfb can have non processed that would make me no better than Garath.

BornToFolk Mon 16-Jun-14 22:10:59

As the parent of a vegetarian child, I'd definitely support a campaign! It's nearly impossible to find something on a children's menu for vegetarians that's not either cheese and tomato pizza or tomato pasta. Pizza Express made a big song and dance about their "new" kids menu and it's still just margherita or tomato pasta (the one thing DS won't eat is mushrooms!)

DS is 6 and a fairly adventurous eater. He enjoys going out for dinner and trying new things and is starting to get really fed up of the boring offerings. When we do eat out now, I've started buying adult meals for him, just so he's got something a bit more interesting to eat but this is a) expensive and b) wasteful as he can't eat a whole portion.

Las Iguanas are going the right way, IMO, as they do offer some half portions of some dishes from the main menu. I'd love to see more restaurants doing this.

RabbitSaysWoof Mon 16-Jun-14 22:58:22

Leon is my favourite for dc but as I say you dont want to dictate to people who have invited you out where you would like to eat, non processed non boring choices for children should be standard.

cosikitty Mon 16-Jun-14 23:13:37

I went to wedding recetly, and while the adults had chicken breast with veg and potatoes in a nice sauce, dd was offered nuggets or sausages and fries. In hindsight I should have intervened and asked if she could have a small adults portion, but once offered she wanted the chicken nuggets. However, when it came she didin't really enjoy it and left most of it, she would really have been much happier with my dinner. More to the point, what sort of message is it sending, when adults eat a healthy balanced meal and children are automatically expected to not like that and prefer some deep fried shit instead?

xalyssx Mon 16-Jun-14 23:43:00

I like the children's menu here

NotCitrus Tue 17-Jun-14 00:06:05

It would be nice t to have just a smiley face next to all menu options that could be done in child portions, and I say that as a parent of a very fussy eater who will generally only eat chips even if there is a children's menu serving the kind of bland stuff he might eat. Actually we tend to go places with bread and he will eat that if nothing else.

mrscumberbatch Tue 17-Jun-14 00:09:42

I think it just depends where you go.

If you effectively say no more chicken nuggets/pizza:/whatever there will probably be just as many folk with their nose out of joint as the current situation.

Just choose places to go with better options. There's plenty of them that do exist.

SoonToBeSix Tue 17-Jun-14 00:12:24

Yes definitely, my dc do not like sausage, nuggets and chips why do restaurants assume they do? Great idea for a campaign my eldest dc is nearly 16 this has annoyed me for years.

thecageisfull Tue 17-Jun-14 00:16:24

ime places with bad children's menus have crappy menus generally. Not all food scales down well so there is never going to be a situation where every meal can be halved. I can't remember the last time I was somewhere where the children's menu was nuggets/sausage and I eat out at fairly cheap restaurants a lot.

Jinsei Tue 17-Jun-14 00:16:25

I would love to see better children's menus - surely we should be encouraging kids not to eat processed crap!

My dd dislikes most stuff on the typical child menus, but will usually enjoy something from the main menu. However, she has a tiny appetite do I don't really want to pay full price. Many places will do smaller portions, but some won't, or they charge you for the full portion anyway!

My DS won't eat any of the nuggets/sausages/chips type meals, if there isn't pizza or pasta on the children's menu we tend to order two mains that he will share with us plus some garlic bread for him and chips for us or similar. I'd like to see optional small portions of normal meals.

Teeb Tue 17-Jun-14 00:21:39

I think one problem restaurants have with the half sized portions is that adults try to buy it for themselves, As a cheaper meal option, and can become quite agitated when they are told it's a child's portion meant only for children.

ToffeeMoon Tue 17-Jun-14 05:11:20

Campaign? Really? hmm Talk about first world problems...

ToffeeMoon Tue 17-Jun-14 05:15:51

My son wouldn't eat nuggets, sausages etc either. He'll devour a margarita pizza though and, really, that's fine with me - can't you stuff them with olives, sushi and quinoa at home and turn a blind eye in a restaurant. Or buy them a starter (as I often do) or, gasp, just order an extra main course from the menu?

ToffeeMoon Tue 17-Jun-14 05:20:03

One final thought on this topic that I thought I didn't care about: the stuff you see on childrens menus is what the vaaaaaasast majority of children in the UK do eat. Every day.

Not your child - of course - not mine, naturally, but beige freezer food is on an awful lot of family menus.

Sirzy Tue 17-Jun-14 06:07:54

I like places which have a "light bites" menu as I often order for DS off that as often he doesn't like any of the options on a children's menu. Other places star the items which are available as a half portion which works well.

I don't agree that it's the restaurants which serve crap adult food which serve crap children's food. I have been to plenty of decent places where the children's menu is obviously an after thought of things they can easily grab from the freezer

fuzzpig Tue 17-Jun-14 09:14:37

If you effectively say no more chicken nuggets/pizza:/whatever there will probably be just as many folk with their nose out of joint as the current situation.

That thought crossed my mind too which is why I immediately and aahed over starting the thread. I don't know if increasing the options available to children, while keeping the beige stuff there too, would be pointless.

I am not opposed to my DCs choosing beige food BTW, I've never banned anything and totally subscribe to the idea that everything in moderation is fine, it's more the fact that there often isn't much else. Also in some places it's low quality even when the equivalent adult version is nice - can't recall where but there's been some occasions when the tomato pasta sauce has been really awful and watery compared to the one used for the adult sized portion confused

fuzzpig Tue 17-Jun-14 09:15:25

"Immediately and aahed" was supposed to be "ummed and aahed" hmm

Sirzy Tue 17-Jun-14 09:19:10

exactly fuzz pig. That is actually my biggest issue.

if you do a pasta dish for the adults then the childrens one should be the same quality. If you serve sausages for adults you should serve the same ones for children not cheapy frozen crap for the kids and decent one for adults.

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