Childrens Menus – Honey, I fed the kids
According to a survey by Organix, four out of 10 parents eat out once a fortnight or more with their families. But gone are the days when chicken nuggets or fish fingers will suffice. Children’s menus are changing as parents demand healthy and nutritious food – and kids become more sophisticated.
The ‘Out To Lunch’ campaign and survey conducted last year found that 66% of parents think the food provision for children in restaurants is not good enough. Joanna Lewis from the Soil Association, a charity campaigning for planet-friendly organic food and farming who carried out the survey, said, “Restaurants need to raise the bar and listen to parents who are saying they want fresh food not ready meals for their children, and the same kind of variety you’d expect as an adult.”
Offering children the same food as adults (but in smaller portions) is the latest trend – but remember to adjust ingredients to suit their sensitive palate. Chef Theo Randall, says, “Whether it’s just tagliatelle with butter or Parmesan on a piece of grilled chicken, don’t put lots of herbs or salt and pepper on it because that’s when dishes come back,” he said. He also urges restaurants not to offer children bread and if an adult is having three courses, then the kids should too.
Children like to be adventurous and Italian or Chinese food is ideal. Italian food is so versatile and kids love pasta and risotto and vegetables. Chef Theo Randall suggests incorporating courgettes or tomatoes in a pasta dish and children will eat it. His partner, Mark Hix says “Chinese food is always good, certainly for their taste buds. The flavours are interesting and not the kind of thing you would eat at home.”
Involve the children
Remembering that children are people in their own right is key – whether it’s waiters speaking directly to them or getting them involved in making their own food. At Jamie’s Italian, they get children to make their own salads. This not only gives them one of their five a day but ownership over their food means there are more likely to embrace it.
Tips for Kids
- Keep it transparent: no secret or extra ingredients, just serve what it says
- Don’t garnish the dishes with pepper and herbs
- Keep sauces and dressing separate
- Serve smaller portions and let the child ask for more
Try these recipes: