Are Children’s Menus the “Death of Civilization”?

May 29, 2010

That’s what Nicole Marzovilla, owner of I Trulli restaurant in Gramercy Park (NYC) thinks, according to the New York Times article Looking Past the Children’s Menu.

Many parents only take their kids to restaurants that have children’s menus, staples of which include macaroni and cheese and chicken fingers. As a kid I was a very picky eater and mac & cheese and chicken fingers were definitely two things I loved (and still love!), so I understand the desire of parents to want the assurance of knowing that their children will have what to eat when out at a restaurant. That said, do we really need to limit the options for kids? What would happen if parents had no choice and had to order their kids something from a regular “adult” menu? (Notice that there is no such thing as an “adult” menu at restaurants — at least none I have been to.) Perhaps fewer kids would be “picky” eaters if parents introduced them to more than what have become kid basics.

What do you think about children’s menus? Do you or would you order off of them for your kids?

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  1. I loved this article!! I believe kids should be eating the same foods as adults. The younger they learn a palate for healthy foods, they better off they will be in the future. I think it’s okay to have a kids menu with smaller portions and lower prices, but they should be foods similar to the standard menu for adults. Just my two cents!

  2. I don’t think kids’ menus are really necessary. As a kid, I remember eating with my parents and sharing their meals at restaurants, and I loved it! My nieces do the same with their parents and they have such mature palates for being so young. Definitely not picky eaters, and adventurous at that, too!

  3. I’m not crazy about the childrens menu (though my son is!) Many times when we go to restaurants that are “child friendly” it always seems that the portion sizes on the main (adult) menus are crazy huge. So my husband and I usually order for ourselves and share with our son. It’s cheaper and he gets better variety.

  4. I don’t offer separate choices to my boys at home and prefer not to at restaurants as well. Since they have always eaten what my husband and I eat, they have a broader palate than what most restaurants offer on their kids’ menus. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised that most restaurants are accommodating when asked to modify their “adult choices” such as a simple grilled chicken breast or pasta with steamed veggies.

  5. I have twin toddlers and I’ve never chosen to order from the kids menu (nor do I give them a meal different than ours). They are always given the same food we are eating. And I always offer a variety of vegetables, including kale, broccoli brussel sprouts and asparagus; which they’ve eaten with delight (I think they notice we enjoy it and want to be likewise).
    In fact today I was surprised to see one of my girls eating from my salad (yes, lettuce and all!!) I guess it helps that I am a Dietitian. : )