Healthy Kid Meals?

I have been seeing this tread online lately: making healthy kid meals at home. This is an easy thing to do, for the most part, but I have been paying very close attention to the meals at restaurants for kids when I am out with my son and I am so disappointed. Even with the places that have “healthy meals” for them. This generally breaks down to switching fruit out for french fries. Fruit which is usually apple slices which yes are healthy but are still pretty sugary. As for drinks the only healthy drink is usually milk or water. Sometimes you can get an apple juice – which is even more sugar. Very rarely, if ever, you get a choice of vegetables – even carrot sticks. And I am not even talking about just fast food restaurants but also regular sit down places.

Now, there seems to be a basic idea of what kids eat at meals and this usually is: fried chicken nuggets, spaghetti (with tomato sauce no meat), grilled cheese, pizza, quesadillas, fried, fried, fried… and fried. Do we really need to look any further to why our kids become picky eaters? And only want to eat crap? Do we continue to have french fries available in kids meals, so we won’t feel guilty for eating them while our kid munches down on carrots or apples?

I can not say I am not guilty. The other day I was craving a burger from Wendy’s and my kid got one too but my husband got him fries. We try to be very careful with giving him crap food. We try not eating out as much because its such a temptation. And when we do, we try hard to be careful in his meal while we are out. We hit Quizno’s the other day on a quick meal out while running errands and I was a little surprised in a place that has a wide range of choices of meats, cheese and vegetables had such a crappy kids meal menu. Their choices: Flatbreads – 1 with three cheeses and the other with cheese & marinara then a meatball monster. Luckily they had a choice of build your own and I did just that… I got him a turkey, cheese with tomatoes, lettuce and avocado. While his only side choices were a cookie or chips… my husband and I got the baked chips and ate them ourselves. As for a drink… we had lemonade which I watered down.

At least I had the choice. I don’t have a choice in a lot of places when fried chicken nuggets (which, yes my son does enjoy) are the main choice. Why not bake them? Or do nuggets without the breading and grilled? My son loves grilled nuggets just as much as Fried. One of the few places that bakes their chicken nuggets: Target. They don’t have a fryer on hand just that giant rolling oven they make their flatbreads, pizzas and chicken strips in.

I read about how kids are fed in other countries, like France, where they do not have kids menus. Kids eat the exact same food as parents. These kids generally not only are less picky eaters but also have a greater appreciation for food as they grow up beyond just greasy yumminess that we all grow up on in the US.

I am trying to do this but it is hard when that $2.99 meal comes up and he needs to eat as well. I don’t mind sharing with my son but I am trying to break him from the habit of not eating his food so he can eat off my plate instead. At dinner, we make sure he has the same food we do. I make him the same breakfast I have on 5 out of 7 days. But when we are running errands and we have to stop for a quick meal we are generally not very lucky. One of the few places in the Denver area that has a reasonable kids menu is Ikea… they actually serve kids vegetables with their mac & cheese.

So, what do we do? For now, I am going to just start feeding him off of my plate again unless I see better meals for kids on the menus. It’s not like they don’t give us enough food on our plates.

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