Are Kids Menus a Bad Thing? Moms Talk

Chef's wife blasts kids menus in blog post

Who could hate the kids menu?

Smaller portions, kid-friendly food, cheaper prices. What's not to love?

According to Amelia Sawyer, a lot.

Sawyer, the wife of Cleveland chef and restaurant owner Jonathon Sawyer, blasted kids menus in a post on her blog, Chef's Widow.

She was inspired by a Facebook post by her friend, Iron Chef Michael Symon, who said children should eat the same food served to adults when dining out, because it would make them more open and adventurous eaters, and it was healthier than standard kids menu fare.

Sawyer said many kids menu items are "the most UNHEALTHY thing you could ever order for your child." She then posted nutrition information about some kids menu items at popular chain restaurants.

Some of the information she posted was pretty stunning. A child's "chicken fingers" meal with fries at one chain restaurant? One thousand thirty calories and 2,052 milligrams of sodium, Sawyer said. Whoa.

Sawyer also urged parents to stop using convenience foods at home and throw out the microwave.

Let's talk kids menus and feeding children. Do you worry about the healthiness of the food restaurants are offering your children? Share the challenges of eating out with children, what has worked for you, what you wish would be taken off the kids menu, what should be added.

Joining us, as always, is our awesome Moms Council.

 is a freelance reporter with Patch. Julie a longtime reporter and communications professional, is a first-time mom of a son born in 2010.

 works in public relations. She has a daughter, Amara. Monina is also a member of the Disney Moms Panel, one of 15 moms selected nationwide, advising people online about planning Disney vacations.

 is a mom of four children ages 6 and under with her husband, Bill. Their fourth child, Colette, arrived Jan. 10. Stephanie also works part-time.

 is a native of New Jersey. She is a marketing professional who has worked in advertising, market research, vending and equipment companies. She and her husband live in Avon with their two children.

 is a mom to a Girl Scout and lives in Avon.

 is the newest member of the  and past president of Avon Early Childhood PTA. She will also be blogging for Avon Patch. If you're a parent and want to share your experiences raising children in Avon, you, too, can .

Stephanie Predovich January 25, 2012 at 08:12 PM
We have lucked out with kids who have very diverse palates! They love calamari and other foods most kids would not touch! We seldom order from the kids menu. Our kids love grilled chicken breast and veggies so if we stay relatively calm on ordering they share an order of this from the main menu. I will NOT order the Mac and cheese from the kids menu because most restaurants serve Kraft! I will not pay to have my kids eat Kraft! Some restaurants do make their own version so we indulge there. We love to eat out with the kids. They love trying new foods and lately they would say that B Spot is probably their favorite! I can't argue there! If agree that the kids menu could be tossed!
Melissa Hebert January 25, 2012 at 09:08 PM
My parents took us out to restaurants maybe three times a year. New Year's Eve dinner out was our big tradition. My excitement was being able to have a Shirley Temple because we never had soda at home. We mostly went to old-school Italian restaurants where, if there was a kids menu, it was just smaller portions of regular dishes like spaghetti or lasagna. My dad would usually just order us kids pizza, another very rare treat.
Julie A. Short January 26, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Yes, I do worry about the nutrition value on the kids menu. Even before I had a child, I was amazed at what is offered to kids. Pizza, chicken fingers, mac & cheese...same menu no matter where you go. Would it kill a restuarant to offer "grilled chicken" to kids? How about diced vegetables, not fries? Turkey burger is better than hamburger, too. Also, now that I have a son eating enough to get an item off the children's menu, the prices are nuts!!! Over $4 for a pizza I can fit in the palm of my hand!? I can get a large pizza to feed the whole family for $4.99 at Georgio's!! Heck, Pizza Hut offers any size, any topping for $10. Thank goodness we do not eat our nearly as much as we did before we had a baby, so he gets healthy meals at home. Dining out is a treat, not a daily meal plan. FYI, my son loves the refried beans at Fiesta Jalapenos in North Ridgeville!!! Plus they are good for you!!
Kathy January 26, 2012 at 02:56 PM
I would have agreed with you before about kids meals. Now that I have a picky eater at 2 1/2, I feel different. (And when he gets a little older, I will not be serving him off the kids meal.) However, when we go out to eat, we just want to keep him happy and give him what he wants because it is supposed to be FUN FOR HIM TOO. We try the new, healthy options every night at home. We want to make going out to dinner a good experience, and a chance to teach him how to behave. If I put something he won't touch in front of him, it will just be a battle. I often bring something from home if a place doesn't have a kids meal or options - or don't go there. We have a well behaved kid (for the most part) in public, and we don't want to fight with a 2 1/2 year old over food. If some place doesn't cater to kids, you may see us the night we have a sitter or not visit until the kids are older. I would never bring a kid to an upscale place, but a more casual place without options might loose my business. You mean to tell me you always eat healthy going out? I love Michael Symon and support his businesses, but you mean to tell me B Spot is healthy? If I want to serve my kid a crappy chicken finger once in a while b/c it makes his palate happy, I think it is just fine. Just as I order fries at B Spot. It is not an all the time thing in our house. I want to teach my son that going out to dinner is a treat. Serve him up the rotten chicken and chocolate milk sometimes!
Melissa Hebert January 26, 2012 at 05:17 PM
I remember friends who were so excited when their kids started eating and were omnivorous. "She's eating mango!" "He LOVES curry!" Then the kids hit between 2 and 3 years old, and it all went away. The food had to be beige, or the vegetables had to be drowned in ranch dressing, or no foods could touch each other, or all of the above. All my friends could do was laugh, go out sans kids if they wanted Thai, and hold on until the phase passed and a new one began.


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