Eating out is one of our favourites things to do as a family. It doesn’t have to be anything lavish or expensive, just a quick meal in a cafe will do. We decided to go down the traditional weaning route with Piglet, and so when we eat out I usually take food for him with me and let him pick off my plate too.
Recently we had an unexpected dinner out and, although my bag was full to the brim with snacks, I didn’t have anything in there that was satisfy Piglet as a proper dinner. I got a children’s menu so I could order something – but was quite surprised by what was on offer!
The first thing I noticed a sign at the side saying that for under 3s you can ask for a small plate and have them share your meal. That is often a choice I would make, but it does limit what I can order for myself. Plus Piglet has a massive appetite and I don’t always want to give up as much food as he wants to eat!
The main courses have guideline ages next to them. The menu does say that they are just guidelines as appetites may vary, but I think they may need to revisit the whole thing!
The first item is described as “Baby’s Chicken Dinner” and claims it is suitable from 7 months to 3 years. As it was a restaurant that serves carvery I assumed this would be a small roast dinner. Perhaps cut up small and mixed together a bit, but still “proper” food. It was the obvious choice for Piglet.
Thankfully I decided question the waitress on it before placing the order. She informed me that it is a puree. I am not adverse to purees, that’s how Piglet’s meals started, but it seemed totally out of place on that menu. And I know that Piglet wouldn’t have touched it – he’s always hated his food that way and preferred lightly mashed from day 1.
Had the menu stated 7-12 months I would have immediately thought it would be “baby” food, but since it claimed to be ideal for any children up to 3 years of age it just didn’t cross my mind. Can you imagine going in with a 2 year old and ordering that? I’m pretty sure the result would have been a very disappointed toddler!
The rest of the menu was actually pretty great. Not a single chicken nugget in sight which was really refreshing! We ended up ordering Piglet the shepherds pie, which claims to be suitable for a 6-10 year old. He almost scoffed the lot. I’ve no idea how they come up with their age ranges, but I would say any 1-10 year old could enjoy it as a meal! A 10 year old would probably want a bigger portion, and many toddlers may want smaller, but it was nearly perfect for my hungry boy.
As Piglet gets older we will be ordering food for him in restaurants more, rather than taking something from home. I’m so lucky that he will eat just about anything that you put in front of him – and with increasing independence as he gets to grips with his spoon!
I think my biggest issue is going to be choosing something tasty and enjoyable for him. I’m sure he would have no problem eating chicken nuggets or sausage and chips, but he loves strong flavours and would always prefer a pasta dish or some meat and veg with gravy. It’s a learning curve for all of us, but I’m looking forward to enjoying more of these meals out with my big boy!
What do you do when it comes to eating out with kids? Do they eat from the kids menu, or do you prefer to ask for a half portion of something from the normal menu instead?
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