Thursday, June 10, 2010

children's menus? around the world...

I wonder, my worldly readers, about Children's menus. Most US restaurants have them, according to readers in China and Switzerland, most restaurants DON'T. Where do you live, and do you have Children's menus? I wonder if it correlates with nutrition info aimed at children?
(My Swiss contact said, no children's menus and no nutrition info aimed at children. Coincidence?)


  1. a comment on another post from South Africa said generally no kids' menus there either...

  2. West coast of Canada. Most casual dining restaurants have children's menus, but many have Senior's menus too. Mostly it is just smaller servings for both. Nutrition info aimed at kids? well let's just say the public schools have "nutrition breaks" for what used to be recess and lunch!!!

  3. Oh Boy ruththereader,
    I have to say, I assumed Canada and Britain would be pretty similar. What a cruel irony that recess, a time for fun, play, active movement, release of stress is now "nutrition break" Did you see my recent post about how the very folks most involved in the dissemination of the nutrition nuggets themselves are uninformed and report high levels of disordered eating and body dissatisfaction? Ugh

  4. Germany: Many low-to-mid-level restaurants have kid's menus, usually something fried with fries, pasta with tomato sauce, and something vaguely related to the restaurant's speciality. Children's dessert is usually a small ice cream.

    I would have hated eating that stuff as a kid. It's bland, greasy and boring. What's the use of eating out if you do not find something new and interesting on your plate?

    Some good restaurants, or restaurants in vacation spots will prepare smaller portions of their regular food for children, the elderly or the just not-so-hungry on request.

    No nutrition info either way. I don't think I have ever seen nutrition info on anything in any restaurant, except in the small print of fast food chains. I guess everyone is expected to know that children's menus do not exist for any nutritional purpose but to satisfy children who are picky eaters.

    A strange but common habit is that mothers eat what their kids leave on the plate, because wasting food is a sin and take-out bags are rarely, if ever offered.

  5. In China there's little emphasis on nutritional information in general, either for kids or for adults. Very few products show on the package how much fiber, fat, sugar, etc. they contain. I wish I could say this explains why Chinese people are generally at a healthy weight, but sadly it seems that obesity is on the rise in the last few years.

  6. Australia. (And New Zealand, where I grew up). I have never seen a children's menu except at chain fast food places like McDonalds (Happy Meals), and in NZ, Cobb n' Co (another chain restaurant). The Cobb n' Co menus have teh same food as the adults' menus except smaller portions.

    But I don't have kids, so maybe tehre are kids menus around that I don't see.

  7. In my comment on the previous post I said there aren't many restaurants in South Africa with kids menus. But I also forgot to mention that when I was in the U.S. 10 years ago (maybe things have changed?), i noticed that the portion sizes that were served in restaurants of all kinds (cheap and fancy ones!) were much bigger than what we are usually served here.

    Perhaps this is one of the reasons for the seeming lack of kids menus in other countries? When I see families eating out here the children are usually eating an adults portion and take the leftovers home. Most mid-priced restaurants here have a "light meals" section which includes things like pastas, salads and sandwiches and kids often eat these instead of a "main meal".

  8. Most of the 'chain' restaurants in Australia have children's menus - places like Lonestar, Outback Steakhouse, Hog's Breath Cafe. However, they are usually things like fish and chips or chicken nuggets and chips which my nieces have ALL THE TIME whether they are at a restaurant or when we've been at their place for a meal. Their mum used to be a vegetarian (as was I until I was about 15) and she and I were the only ones to eat any of the salad she made a few weeks ago when we had a BBQ. Anyway, back to the original topic, none of restaurants I've been to recently have had nutritional information on the menu at all.

  9. Restaurants in Spain don't usually have children's menus, unless they are part of a multinational chain or located in an area where they cater to lots of tourists. In this case, the menu contains (supposedly) child-friendly staples like pasta, ham and cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, chips, fish fingers, etc.

    In more traditional restaurants, children often share an adult-sized main course with an adult or with another kid at the table. If the place is especially family-friendly, or if you are a regular, they may offer a simpler/smaller version of one of their existing dishes, at a lower price.

    Tapas are perfect when eating out with children because you can order a wide variety of foods, both new and familiar, and everything on the table is shared by everyone.

  10. My husband and I are moving to Sint Maarten in the fall and I have been vacationing there since I was a kid and can't recall there ever being a kids menu.

    We are actually planning to start a family this year and I am looking forward to bringing up a child outside of America's "Live to Eat" instead of "Eat to Live" culture. Maybe I can defeat some food demons myself :)

  11. That sounds wonderful! It is crazy-making here with food. Makes me (almost) want to home-school :)
    My hope is that feeding children well, and seeing children be capable eaters can be a powerful healing force for us parents! (I still am blown away when M hands me 1/4 of an ice-cream sandwich just because she's "full!")