Eating in Restaurants With Kids

Eating in restaurants with kids does not have to be a chore. You can get everyone through it with having to leave early because they are tired, restless or causing a scene.

Here are some ways to inject some sanity into the process of eating out with your kids.

Keep them amused while waiting for food to arrive. I do this by keeping little plastic games and also crayons and papers in my purse. Younger kids can draw and older kids can play a game like hang man.

Don't bother dressing the kids up unless it is a very fancy restaurant. They will just feel all stiff and uncomfortable. The more comfy they feel the more likely your children are to stay still at the table.

Don't give your kids a load of soda before the food arrives. This makes them all hyper. Serve them water or milk until the food comes. Sugar on an empty stomach makes them hysterical and then sleepy.

Admonish kids who are negative about food. Once one kids says they hate a food the other younger kids will refuse to eat it too. Don't bring the neighbour's kid if he or she is a picky eater. Simply do not tolerate this type of behavior or they will all start going eww and not eat their expensive restaurant food.

I have found that if I want to finish a meal in a restaurant then I have to be served first. Sometimes I just say to the waiter – 'serve me first'. If they finish eating before me then I won't get to finish my meal.

Take the kids to the bathroom before you all sit down. Make them all go at once. Otherwise you will spend your meal going back and forth to the bathroom.

Don’t let your child order some pricey item she’s never had before without having her first try an appetizer or tasting portion. Teenagers are famous for this. They will tell you that they want a Reuben or Shrimp Marinara and then make a face once it arrives. Stick with what you know and you can't go wrong.

Sometimes if we are in a restaurant where the food is unusual, like a Chinese restaurant, it helps to tell the kids that it tastes like something they already know and love. This is where the old 'it tastes just like chicken' cliché comes in handy.

Mostly it is good to stick to kid friendly restaurants until your children are a little older. This means dining at MacDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, KFC and the like. There is no sense in stressing yourself by taking your kid somewhere fancy if you do not have to. Save that kind of restaurant for a date with your husband.

Saturday Morning Junk Food Commercials

Do you remember watching Saturday morning cartoons when you were a kid? The best thing about it sometimes was watching all of the different commercials for candies and cereal. Times have not changed much. Many parents still use the boob tube as a built in babysitter on Saturday morning. However unlike back when we were kids it is not so permissible diet wise to consume so many sugary foods. Yet these commercials play endlessly on Saturday mornings so your kids will bother you to eat some.

According to the Cleveland Health News most of the programming your kid's watch on Saturday morning is for foods that have lousy nutritional content. Researchers at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, (known as the Food Police) and student researchers the University of Minnesota studied a sample of 27.5 hours of show directed at pre-school and elementary school-aged children. They found four straight hours of what your kids could watch on Saturday morning was nothing more that food commercials. The programming sample came from the major networks so it is likely that they were watching what every kid in America watches on a Saturday morning. Talk abuts brain washing!

In fact, they found that 49 percent of the 4 hours of advertising was for food, and that 91 percent of food ads were for foods or beverages high in fat, sodium, or added sugars, or low in nutrients. These included advertisements for everything from potato chips to dessert items to soups.
Of the 281 food ads included in the sample, 59 percent were for products with higher levels of added sugar. One in five of the foods advertised had higher total fat content, levels of saturated plus trans fat, and sodium. As you may have guessed a lot of these ads were for take out food places like MacDonald's, Taco Bell and the like.
The food police concluded that this advertising mainly promoted unhealthy nutrition and that there were next to no ads marketing fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products or whole grains. This of course may solve the mystery as to why our children seem to be so out of it when it comes to eating healthy food and so wildly desirous of junk foods, potato chips, creamy foods and snack foods.

One of the things that are sad about all of this is that it is just as easy to make an apple look 'sexy' to a child, as it is a Big Mac. The problem is that there is no money or motivation to make health foods look good to your kids on television. Psychologically these junk food ads can do a lot of damage as they train your kids to desire the wrong types of foods. They create cravings where they need not exist and once your kid gets the food they then create physical cravings for sugar and fat as well. Seeing the imagery for the food is what initiates the whole toxic cycle in the first place. Perhaps in Canada they have the right idea by getting these commercials banned in the first place.