View Full Version : What do you feed your toddler when eating out?

02-24-2004, 04:37 PM
Okay, we eat out too much, which I am working on, but frankly I am a poor cook and never really liked it!! Anyway, I am frustrated that all the children menus only offer things like hamburgers, chicken fingers, etc. with fries. Nick is such a sporadic dinner eater, I hate to pay more than $3 or $4 on a meal he might not eat, but on the other hand, some nights he eats everything we give him.

What do you get your child when you are eating out? Also, since I am trying to cook more at home, how do you cook with a toddler under tow? Nick likes to help a little too much.

Mom to Nicholas 10/01/01
& Baby #2 due 4/23/04!!!!

02-24-2004, 07:49 PM
When we go out I try to bring a SMALL healthy meal, as well as some snacks and then I also let the kids nibble off my plate. Amy usually gets chicken pieces and grapes or some variant, because it is easy to bring along and she will eat it cold (ie: from next to an ice pack). Andrew gets eom portable baby food (he has no molars yet) and yogurt. Sometimes Amy will get yogurt too. For snacks I bring Cheerios, Ritz Bits, Gerber Veggie crackers, Teddy Grahams and the ever-irresistable Elmo Snacks.

As for cooking, I try to keep Amy occupied with a game, toy or a small task. Sometimes the task can involve the 'cooking' (eg: stirring imaginary batter in a bowl) but sometimes it doesn't. Andrew is short enough that he's not too much in the way (yet) as long as I keep everything on the counter.

02-24-2004, 09:10 PM
My daughter is just under two and so far we've only ordered her her own meal a couple times. Usually we just give her part of whatever we're eating on a small plate. She'll almost always eat eggs if we're out for brunch, pieces of meat from a sandwich, likes salad fortunately, and will always eat french fries of course. I also try to have some crackers or dried fruit for her to eat beforehand if she gets antsy before the food comes--or she's a big fan of the bread basket. I can't really say she eats wonderfully while we're out, but it's good enough for the number of times we do it.

And I try to delay all Wiggle viewing until dinner cooking time :) or if that doesn't work she has all of her cooking toys in the kitchen so will sometimes cook along. Lately she wants to watch so I'll let her stand on a chair and maybe take a stir or two depending on what I'm making. Some days I give up and we have pizza.

Good luck!


Kimberly H
02-24-2004, 10:56 PM
After having Mia eat *my* dinner twice, I finally got her a grilled chicken breast at one place and we split a giant dinner at another. She'll eat nearly a small adult portion (chicken, veggie and potato) when we're out but the kids meals are always the same stuff and I hate to get it for her yet.

02-25-2004, 09:16 AM
I have found that most restaurants will substitute on the kids meals. We always switch the french fries for veggies or corn on the cob. I've also found the appetizer menu usually has a cheaper selection that she will eat from. Occasionally we will get her a sandwich and let her dismantle it (she has no interest in eating all that stuff together, she wants to eat each piece separately).

As for cooking, I HATE IT, and I'm not good at it either, so I sympathize. I usually wait till DH gets home and its his job to entertain the DD while I cook (its also his job to clean up afterwards).

Jen in Okinawa
Mom to Noelle (2 1/3)

02-25-2004, 10:17 PM
We used to always order Lindsey chicken strips or mac and cheese and request a side of steamed veggies rather than the fries that normally come with kids meals. Most, but not all, restaurants don't have an issue with this. However, in the past month or so, Lindsey has gotten very uninterested in eating meals at restaurants. She behaves and is amused, she just doesn't want to eat. So, we have recently stopped ordering her food and just feeding her from our plates. She is usually more interested in our food and eats pretty well, and we also don't get stuck taking home portions of our entrees as well as hers. None of the restaurants we have done this at have had an issue with it.

When cooking at home (which is infrequent as DH works 5-6 nights per week), I usually either try to get her interested in an activity in the kitchen or put on a short video. Our computer is in the kitchen, so she can use her Reader Rabbit Toddler CD-ROM or play games at the PBSkids.org site. We also have her table and chairs in the kitchen, so she can sit down and color, or read (she loves to look at magazines from my basket next to the computer.) Or, I set up a "drum set" with pots and wooden spoons, or let her pull all of the tupperware out of its cabinet and then help her put it back. As far as videos, the Baby Einstein videos are all 1/2 hour, which is usually just about the perfect amount of time to occupy her while I get dinner on the table.

02-28-2004, 04:35 PM
I struggle with this all the time too. Sarah actually doesn't like most "kid meals", like chicken nuggets, etc. She will usually eat quesadilla or grilled cheese, so if those are on the kids menu, then thats what I order. I don't substitute for the fries because she adores them and at most only gets them once a week. And frankly, they keep her amused during a large portion of the meal for which I am grateful. But if there's nothing on the kids menu that she will eat, then I usually order a meal for me that has stuff on it that she will share. I also pack along a small thing like a sandwich, so I know there's something she'll eat.

At home, I usually turn on a video for her while I cook. I try to make that be her only TV for the day, so I don't feel terribly bad about it. On the days that she refuses to be enticed by the TV, I have her "help" me. She sits at the counter and stirs and cooks. Somtimes I give her real food to work with (like flour and water), which is quite messy but far more effective at keeping her entertained.