On Friday night, Jonathan Eliana and I went out to dinner. I was so proud of Eliana as she sat in her high chair at our table and enjoyed our family mealtime. We of course have mealtimes together almost every night at home, so sitting in her highchair while we sit around the table and share our stories about the day is not new to her.
As we sat down we looked at the menu – there was of course a children’s menu, but all that was offered was mac ‘n cheese, pizza, chicken fingers, french fries and similar items. At home we give Eliana fresh, healthy homemade foods. She eats a revised version of what we eat for dinner. We want her to eat a variety of foods and we don’t want to get into the habit of creating two menus every night – a children’s meal and an adult meal. So why should we do that when we are out to eat? So we put down the children’s menu and looked at the regular menu.
Eliana ate happily while enjoying a family appetizer of Hummus for the table. We all enjoyed the hummus. When we ordered our meals we each ordered our individual items and rather than ordering mac ‘n cheese for Eliana off the children’s menu, we ordered her edamame instead. She loved it!
Family Appetizer for the night: Hummus – Eliana loved it!
Restaurant supplied: Rye and White Bread – Eliana loved it!
Meal: We all ordered something – Eliana got Edamame and some tastes of Daddy’s meatloaf – She loved it!
So is ordering off the children’s menu a no no? Of course not. But our family tries to first look at the regular menu to see if there is something appropriate for a baby/child. We have found that instead of ordering the children’s mac ‘n cheese you can order another pasta dish that is similar, but has vegetables and a slightly different consistency. Or instead of chicken fingers, you can find chicken or fish on the regular menu that will also be appropriate. Our hope is that as she grows she will be accustomed to eating a variety of foods that are served in a variety of ways rather than wanting a breaded chicken finger or bland mac ‘n cheese.
I will update this post with ideas on baby/child friendly food items at different restaurants as we try them.
Appetizer: Guacamole – we asked for a spoon and Eliana ate the guacamole straight without chips – she loved it!
Meal: Chicken Fajitas with rice and beans – Eliana loved the chicken, a few peppers, the rice and beans – she loved it!
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