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April 9, 2013

The Forgotten Kids' Menu

by Tracy Jensen

When you take your family out to dinner, one of the best parts for kids is getting the paper “kids’ menu” and crayons. They can color, do puzzles, and choose their own meal made just for kids. But a recent study shows that while the menu may be cute, the food being offered may have way too many calories for a kid – or anybody – to eat in a single meal.

Recently, I shared an article with you about how many restaurant chains are realizing that offering healthy, lower-calorie meals could add more profits to their bottom line. It’s encouraging that businesses are getting that message: We want healthier food. But did they forget about the kids?

Of course children want the coloring page or the prize. But remember, the customer is always right. Most restaurants will let you pick another side if you ask (and yes, I AM the mom that orders the kids cheeseburger with a side salad). So get the kids’ menu and let the kids knock themselves out with the coloring — but order what you really want your children to eat. Also, some restaurants allow you to purchase the toy separate from the kids’ meal. If that is what your little ones are after, help them choose the food they want to eat, and then buy the toy.

I am all for fun. But a fun meal should not come with a huge calorie count. What ways have you made dining out fun and healthy for your kids?

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