Sunday, March 23, 2014

AT LAST! A real menu for children

Kids are people too. But you wouldn't know it to look at most restaurants' children's menu.  I think "picky eaters" aren't born, they are taught. Of course, there are exceptions to this statement, but for the most part, I think I'm right about this.  

My mom told me years ago about an article she read. There was an experiment involving kids and their eating habits.  On day 1, the kids came into a room to find a long table filled with cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream, chocolate, potato chips, Doritos and the like. They also found grilled chicken, fish, green beans, spinach, squash, broccoli, fruits, etc. As expected, on day 1, the sweets were quickly demolished and the "real food" left untouched.

However, this began to change gradually. Each day, less and less of the sweets & junk food were consumed and more and more of the good stuff.  By the end of the week, the kids were eating full, balanced meals with maybe one dessert selection.  The conclusion?  The kids ate what they needed. Their bodies needed (wanted) the nutritious foods to survive.  The novelty of the junk wore off quickly even though the kids had unlimited choices of "fun" foods in front of them. 

This has been my basic philosophy about feeding my daughter: make available what she needs. From the time we began giving her solid foods, my husband and I focused on giving her good, balanced meals and we changed it up a lot.  We have continued to offer new, different dishes and meals to expose her to the great big world and to encourage healthy and adventurous eating.  Some foods are a hit, some not.  But, I don't give up.  I'll try them prepared differently next time and guess what?  Eventually those foods make it onto the "thumbs up" list.

Going to a restaurant with a child can be a challenge.  Most have a kids menu, but frankly, they usually just make me mad.  You've seen it before...the unhealthy, junky, uncoordinated selections they make available to your child.  Chicken fingers, french fries, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, corn dog.  And don't forget the lovely sides: jello, applesauce, fries, yogurt. 

Kids are people too!  When was the last time you waltzed into a restaurant and said "Yes, I'll have the corn dog with a side of applesauce and macaroni."  I'm betting NEVER.There's a place in the Vista that has macaroni for kids.  We ordered it one time.  I swear to you, they cooked an entire box of Kraft macaroni and cheese, dumped the whole pot into a bowl and served it to my 4 year old with an adult-sized soup spoon.  So, she was given a portion size fit for Paul Bunyan, a spoon that won't fit in her mouth to eat a bowl full of crap from a box that I don't even make at home.  

Here's a tip:  you're a restaurant.  Cook!  Make some macaroni. It's not that hard. Serve kids a smaller portion.  Or, for that matter, how about just serve ANYTHING on your menu at a kid-sized portion and price?  Now, that is sheer brilliance, if I do say so myself.

Ok, ok, ranting aside, the real purpose of this post is to give major applause and accolades to Harper's in Five Points. We went in today after church.  Viv received the usual kids menu with accompanying crayons.  I started looking it over and almost fell out of the booth.  I have never, ever, ever seen a children's menu like this!  Actual entrees, vegetables, includes a dessert and only $6. Take a look:
Notice anything?  There is salmon, grilled chicken, BBQ sliders, roasted vegetables, fruit as well as brunch items.  Now with this, you can build a real meal for your child.  Viv chose the grilled salmon with honey mustard glaze.  She really does love salmon.  She was talking about ordering French toast when the salmon caught her eye. She selected fruit as her side and the scoop of ice cream for dessert.  Just for the record, despite what she circled above, I did give in and let her have a Dr. Pepper since her soda consumption is practically non-existent, but I 86'd the milkshake.

This is the plate she was served.  It looked fantastic and I had to try it.  It was perfectly cooked, you could taste the wood fire, nice "crust" on the outside.  It was delicious.  

I was euphoric through the rest of our lunch, because I was so jacked that someone finally gets it.  Kids don't need to live off cheese, fried chicken and pasta.  And, what kind of idiot puts PB&J on a menu?  Restaurants need to act like restaurants and cook.  Cook for all your customers regardless their age. Kids will eat real food.  But you have to make it available to them.  If every restaurant would adopt my "just make a smaller portion" concept (anybody remember "ladies' portions?), we could have kids everywhere experimenting and developing their little palates every time they eat out.

Kudos to you Harper's!  I hadn't been to your restaurant in a long time (no reason, just hadn't made it in) but I tell you what, we'll be in frequently now.  Thank you for offering vegetables and lean proteins to our kids.  Thank you for serving them an appropriate serving size at an appropriate price.  You get it.

Harpers Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. I guess you didn't thoroughly investigate Harper's kid menu before posting. They also offer a PB&J, so who's the idiot?

  2. If you see that listed on the photo of the menu above, then by all means, point it out. After that, take your unpleasantness somewhere else.



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