Kids’ Menu Trouble

We have been talking a lot recently about who’s responsibility it is to ensure children are leading an active and healthy lifestyle. See our Supermarket Sabotage blog and our Olympic Junk Food Sponsors blog. One issue which has been cropping up on Twitter in particular is children’s menus in restaurants.

To be honest this is not something we have ever given much thought to. Ensuring children are fed well at home and given plenty of activity and exercise tends to be our main concern but come to think of it Children’s menus, even in the nicest of restaurants, do appear to be limited to chicken nuggets, chips and beans. Deep fried, fatty foods are avoided in the home so why aren’t they avoided when dining out?

Celebrity Chef Nick Nairn, of Ready Steady Cook fame, feels particularly passionate about this issue. “The usual kids’ menu fare you see is just restaurants being a bit lazy. We need to try and get kids away from the easy, salty, fatty, brown, fried food. We need to get them to try more interesting things.” Nairn feels the responsibility lies somewhat with the parents to request smaller portions off the adult menus. This is a great way to broaden little one’s taste bud horizons.

At Nairn’s own restaurant in Perthshire, Scotland they do offer a kid’s menu but it is full of healthier options like wholewheat pizza topped with roasted vegetables and carrot sticks and hummus. Whilst he believes it is up to restaurants to provide healthy yet tasty meals, Nairn does not think it is the government’s responsibility to enforce bans on certain foods. The importance should be on education of parents and restaurants. If parents start asking for smaller versions of the main menu for their children then restaurants will have to start taking notice.

We love these inventive images by Photographer Carl Kleiner and ad agency Joe Fish. If these don’t get children eating better nothing will!

What are your thoughts on children’s menus? Do you order smaller portions from the main menu?
How do you encourage your children to eat better? Keeping children healthy and active is vital, click the link to view our wooden swing sets and climbing frames

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