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What's a children menu?

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  • #16
    I like sbhikes's theory. Sounds plausible.

    I know I appreciate having the kids' menu around for myself. Putting aside the issue with the ingredients (I know it's not healthy, and only rarely would do something like this, so shhh), if I'm at Chipotle I can't eat and don't want an 800 calorie burrito for lunch. I'd rather pay half the price and get half the food. Kids' menu items are probably the same size as the grown-ups' menu items were 40 years ago.


    • #17
      While I do not discount the idea that parents help shape their chidren's eating habits I seem to recall that children and adults have different taste perception. A quick search on the subject brought up this:


      A study conducted by the University of Western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, comparing young male subjects between the ages of eight and 10 to adult males found that the adolescents had a higher anterior papillae density than the adults, making them more sensitive to sucrose or sweet flavors [source: Segovia].

      Another study conducted at the University of Copenhagen involving 8,900 Danish schoolchildren discovered that there's a noticeable change in taste perception as a child develops into a teenager. Teenagers show an increased ability to distinguish flavors, together with a decreased preference for sweet flavors [source: University of Copenhagen].

      TLC Cooking "Are kids' taste buds different from adults'?"


      So children may very well not be able to obtain the same satisfaction from a certain food as an adult. That said, as the article continues to say given that there is more to tasting food than tastebuds often perception of food matters also. This is where the parents approach seems to matter.

      I know as a child I did not care for the taste of brussel sprouts at all (it was not vegetable aversion as I happily ate most other veggies). Now I could eat them daily. Tastes change. Not that I am advocating that kids only eat crap, I just tend to cut them and their parents a little slack.


      • #18
        i try to make sure my kids eat well at home; i've cooked from scratch since my first was a toddler, and we've been basically primal +whole grains since then (no grains since october 2010). i've always loved eating my vegetables, and do so frequently in front of them, as well as serve a variety of vegetables both at meals and as snacks. i don't usually bread/fry things because of the mess it makes and the extra hassle, but the kids will always prefer my breaded chicken strips (I use rice flour and spices) over plain chicken breast or roasted chicken thighs. they will always prefer french fries over baked potatoes or potato salad.

        the rare times that we go out to eat, once in a while i let them order off of the kids' menu because they think they like those foods and it's a treat. sometimes, they find that the food they thought they liked isn't that great. Kind of takes the fantasy out of something they've been pining for.

        My kids will eat certain vegetables and other foods that are typically not "kid-friendly," but they still refuse other foods. for example, they refuse almost anything that i've added spices to (like a curry or marinara), but both cheer whenever i buy artichokes. my daughter eats sardines and anchovies out of the jar, and my youngest gets quite mad if i don't share my sauteed greens. but they'd still prefer to eat off the kids' menu most of the time. they also like rice, and so we do include rice, rice pasta, and the occasional gluten-free baked good (usually made with rice and/or cassava flour). My oldest (8) came home from school one day incredulous that his friends don't like sweet bell peppers. apparently they made a huge deal out of the fact that he eats them; we think they're treats here at home.

        also, yes it really bugs me that kids' menus suck so much. I'd hope that the kids' menu would have smaller portioned options that the adults are offered. my kids rarely agree on a particular meal choice, so splitting an adult meal isn't appealing.
        Last edited by Saoirse; 07-14-2012, 12:09 PM.
        my primal journal:


        • #19
          I call it the fast food syndrome. If kids are fed as "adult" food growing up they will eat "adult" food in a restaurant. If they get used to processed tasteless crap that is what they will want hence the "kids" menu.

          I can't remember my kids every eating from the kids menu, if they needed a smaller portion we would ask for a half portion or ask to order of the lunch menu for them. And because we never ate fast food they all hate it now.
          Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
          Don't forget to play!


          • #20
            We always order for our son off the regular menu for two reasons: 1. the portion size is large enough for him (he eats like an adult); and 2. the food quality is better.

            We recently went to our favorite restaurant and DS had a beautiful med-rare steak (and cut it himself), with a rocket and roasted veg salad, and a fermented ginger ale. He also asked to speak to the chef, and they had a discussion about who his suppliers are because it "was the best steak I've ever eaten."

            The chef took DS back to the kitchens to show him around, and to talk about how to properly cook a steak. They brought a chair in for DS to stand on. I wish I'd had my camera.

            DS is a foodie.


            • #21
              Originally posted by Daisynyc View Post
              It depends. In the better restaurants, the children's menu has items from the regular menu, but in smaller portions (and lower cost). In chain-type restaurants, the children's menu contains garbage, which is what the adults are often eating as well.
              sorry, but as someone who has spent my career in fine dining, "better" restaurants do not have children's menus. the chefs are intense and chasing james beard awards and michelin stars and not keeping chicken nuggets in the freezer for little picky precious who really should be home in bed.

              i am in my 40s and do not remember going out and ever seeing a kid's menu. ever. there was one meal cooked for everybody for dinner. my mom's kitchen was not a cafeteria and food wasn't served 24 hours a day. we ate 3 meals that mom cooked from scratch. meat, veg, starch, salad. my dad took me to ethnic holes-in-the-wall in nyc. my italian immigrant family made gutsy, bold, flavorful foods. food was an essential building block for "family time" and the love of it was central.

              i remember being brought to tears by the appearance and taste of tuna helper at a friend's house when i was like 6. i had to go home!

              there are many families who eat out several times per week. that they can afford it is one thing, but that they willingly feed their kids nuggets and hot dogs and soda and french fries instead of whole healthy food is abominable to me. there are ways to eat out and still feed the kids decently. as many have suggested, splitting adult portions works great.

              but feeding and raising your kids on this junk is setting them up for severe sickness and food issues as adults.
              As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

              Ernest Hemingway


              • #22
                I agree. We cook meals for all of us, and DS eats what we eat. He always has (baby lead weaning!), and as such, is a foodie.

                He also has table manners. They are very important to me, and so we started him on real silverware at 11 months, and we started him on napkin use and proper table manners in general around 18 months. He's quite capable of handling himself in a restaurant.

                He loves cooking, watching master chef, and loves local "celebrity" chef Al Brown. He met Al Brown at the farmer's market, got his cookbook signed, and had a discussion with him about how much he (DS) likes cooking eggs. He also discussed how much he wants to try "all foods!" and that he'd like to go to Logan Brown.

                We have called the restaurant and suggested that DS come at the tail-end of the lunch service (kitchen closes at 3), so as not to disturb any other customers, even though we *know* that DS would not disrupt any other customers. He's simply so well mannered, people are generally amazed at his behavior.

                I know 10-13 yr olds who can't manage basic table manners for fine dining -- and I'm shocked that such is so. I remember having a conversation with a woman who, to encourage her children to use proper table manners, said "we'll take you to Logan Brown" (it's a big deal here to go to LB). They have been "working on it" for two years. My kid is 4. He had it down pat by age 2. Seriously?

                Anyway, we discussed with the manager that the tasting menu would probably be the best, and if DS could have some time to talk with the chef, that would also be very special for him for his birthday (since the usual chef is not AB, as AB is an owner and sometimes there, but not always, KWIM?). But, it may be that DS will be able to see AB again, and discuss the food that he is served on the tasting menu. He'll probably be over the moon!

                I really only point this out because I believe that my son *does* belong at LB. Sure, not at 8:30 at night when he's too exhausted to be anything but a little crab, but I think that lunch or an early dinner servicec would be fine for him -- as he has the manners to manage himself very well.

                He also knows that if he doesn't behave as a gentleman, we go home. Period.

                And the last thing that boy wants to miss out on is good food.


                • #23
                  DS is more of a foodie than we are, even. He's very adventurous, and often encourages us to try things. "mom, really, you have to try this. The texture is amazing, and the seasoning is perfect!" (he watches SO MUCH master chef. lol)

                  He literally thinks that chicken livers are chicken nuggets. He loves chicken livers. And, they are expensive here, really (relatively speaking), so they are a "special treat!" I made the "popper" ones that saorise mentioned in a post somewhere -- pineapple, chicken liver, wrapped in prochutto (sp?). DS was *over the moon!*. "So good, a perfect balance of salty, sweet, and a bit of savory!" I'd skewered them on rosemary before baking them.

                  Kid loves food. I love that he loves food.


                  • #24
                    I'm 30, and don't remember seeing much of kid's menus as a kid either, aside from at IHOP and McDonalds (where my mom took me to train me to act decent in real restaurants).

                    I guess I got lucky. We made one dinner at home and if I didn't eat it my folks were fine with me starving for a night. My mom loved liver and kidneys and gizzards, and my dad loved Vietnamese and Thai food, so I ended up less than picky. Also, I was required to have at least three bites of everything on the plate, no matter how gross I thought it was.

                    I agree, we really should push to elimiate the whole kid food vs. adult food thing. Not healthy physically or psychologically.