Healthier kids menus are on their way
Holidays are about fun relaxation and spending time together as a family. Going on holiday involves a break from the routine of life and very often a break from the cooking as well. Who wants to spend their holiday in the kitchen cooking? The problem for families with younger children is that eating out on holiday frequently involves subjecting children to a very limited choice of items available on the restaurants children’s menu.
While restaurants frequently put a great deal of effort and planning into deciding what to include on their main menu it is often the case that the children’s menu displays a lack of imagination. Hot dog and chips burger and chips chicken nuggets and chips seem to appear on almost every menu.
If you eat out as a family more than two or three times during your holiday this is going to cause a problem. Your child may be happy to eat nuggets and chips every night of the week but as a parent you know that they need a more varied diet.
At the last Family Travel Conference improving children’s menus was one of the key items mentioned by many parents. It was noticed that there is a growing move towards more healthy children’s meal options at many restaurants the trend which has been identified by the National Restaurant Association noted that the move towards offering more diverse and healthy food options for children is not limited to the more exclusive restaurants. Surprisingly this trend has been spearheaded by theme parks across America. Disney parks in particular have led the way towards feeding children better. All Disney parks and resorts now provide their kids meals with fruit and vegetables instead of the more traditional fries. They are also pledged to reduce salt in all the kids meals in their restaurants as well as introducing the ‘Mickey Mouse check’ to help parents choose healthier options for their children.
As well as improving the quality of the food on offer Disney have tried to be inventive in the way they present the food to children. We all know how important the presentation of food can be for children. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good the food tastes if it doesn’t look interesting to them they are not going to touch it. An example of this can be found at the FantasyIslands Be our Guest restaurant where the turkey meatloaf comes shaped like Mickey Mouse ears and is served with orange ketchup produced from carrots.
The shift towards healthier children’s meals will only become more widespread over the next few years. Restaurants are responding to calls by parents for help in providing nourishing healthy food for their children. Parents are all too aware that childhood obesity is a growing issue in many parts of the world. Parents are looking to restaurant owners to play their part in slowing the spread of the problem and teaching children to become more adventurous.
Deer Valley Chef Jodie Rogers comments that in addition to healthier food options “parents also expect there to be plenty of gluten-free vegan and vegetarian options without them having to ask.”
There are now more than 30000 restaurants all across America participating in the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program. The program seeks to promote innovative and healthier kids meals. The push for healthier kids meals continues to grow outside of America as well. Next time you take a holiday with the family don’t forget to look out for new healthier options on the children’s menu. The days when chicken nuggets reigned supreme have come to an end.