Kid's Menus a Blessing?

Most parents would probably say that they are. Portions are smaller—kid-sized if you will, but, are they really a heaven-sent or just an easier way for kids to eat the same junk that their parents are already busy killing themselves with? David Kamp of The New York Times investigates:
For restaurateurs there are advantages, too. Marc Murphy, the chef and an owner of Landmarc in TriBeCa (and its new sister operation in the Time Warner Center), says doing a children’s menu has helped the bottom line at his bistro, which is known for its neighborhood clientele and value-priced wines.

“It totally drives that early seating for us,” he said. “The kids eat what they eat, and with our wine program, the parents can have fun.” Landmarc serves up the requisite greatest hits — the fingers, the burger, the grilled cheese — and throws in some curveballs, like “green eggs and ham,” flavored and colored with pesto sauce…

…I grew up eating what my parents ate, at home and at restaurants. Sometimes, the experience could be revelatory, as when I tried fish chowder for the first time on a trip to Boston, or when my mother attempted Julia Child’s Soupe au Pistou.

Other times, dinner was merely dinner, not transcendent but comfortingly routine. And then there were those bummer meals that I just didn’t care for, like stuffed cabbage, but that I endured because my parents offered no other choice. It was all experiential grist for the mill, and it made me — like millions of other Americans of my generation who were raised the same way — a fairly adventurous eater with a built-in sense of dietary balance.

It pains me that many children now grow up eating little besides golden-brown logs of kid food, especially in a time when the quality, variety and availability of good ingredients is better than ever.
I think the answer is pretty obvious. While a novel idea, most kid’s menus just seem like training wheels for the standard American diet. But don’t take my word for it. Linda Popescu is a Registered Dietician, and, she works in Dr. Fuhrman’s office. Here’s what she had to say on the topic:
Don’t underestimate your kids! Most children are very interested in nutrition and want to learn more. Give them the facts about how food choices can affect their health now and in the future. You’ll be surprised and impressed by the healthy and adventurous choices they make!
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Kirsten - May 31, 2007 10:14 AM

The rare times we eat out, I tend to order 2 adult dishes for my 3 kids and split them up. I know my kids would dig into a trough of pasta, but wouldn't want to waste a restaurant trip on such junk! My boys are pretty willing to try everything we eat and I love sharing our culinary adventures with them.

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