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  1. #1
    COElizabeth Guest

    Default Best kids' meals at chain restaurants

    Today for $3.99 at Macaroni Grill I got James a kids' meal with grilled chicken breast, steamed broccoli, spaghetti with tomato sauce, a kid's cup of milk (free refills), and a good-sized bowl of fresh strawberries. Honestly, it was a much better and more balanced meal than I usually provide!

    I thought it would be helpful to know which other chains offer reasonably healthful, reasonably priced children's selections. Favorites?

    Elizabeth, Mom to James, 9-20-02
    EDD #2, 10-30-04

  2. #2
    luvbeinmama Guest

    Default RE: Best kids' meals at chain restaurants

    Chili's recently added a chicken breast kids meal to their menu, too. It's about time!

    Mimi's seems to have a decent selection of stuff. My DS usually goes for the "breakfast" meal.

  3. #3
    Karenn is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Default RE: Best kids' meals at chain restaurants

    This doesn't rival the meal that Elizabeth got, but Ruby Tuesdays has added a quesadilla with a fruit plate to the menu. One of the nice things about it (besides the fact that it didn't come with fries!) was the fact that the quesadilla was really just lightly grilled- not slathered in grease like many of the grilled cheese items we've gotten.

  4. #4
    egoldber's Avatar
    egoldber is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Northern VA, USA.

    Default RE: Best kids' meals at chain restaurants

    Not sure how widespread this chain is, but we really like Chicken Out Rotisserie chicken. For $3.99 you get milk, an entree, and 2 sides. I could eat the kids meal as my meal!

    Nordstrom Cafe has a pretty nice kids meal too for $3.99 and includes drink. My default they put chips on the side but you can ask for fruit instead.

    Our favorite though is Baja Fresh. She gets the "mini quesa-dita meal: which is half a quesadilla, black beans and rice. She LOVES it! It is $3.49, but you do have to buy a milk separately.

    And am I the only one who doesn't mind that kids meals come with fries, lol???? We NEVER eat stuff like that at home, so when we go out to eat I consider the fries an occasional treat for her and they certainly keep her occupied!!!
    Beth, mom to older DD (8/01) and younger DD (10/06) and always missing Leah (4/22 - 5/1/05)

  5. #5
    ismommy Guest

    Default RE: Best kids' meals at chain restaurants

    Legal Seafood has a great kids menu - quite extensive - for little kids to big ones. Bella's mac and cheese came with corn on the cob and grapes. I was very impressed and not expensive. Child magazine had an article listing great kids menu. They talked with the owners of Legals which was number one I think. The owners talked about how they particpated in a study and realized how AWFUL the kids meals were so now have revamped them completly. I can't remember what other chains were listed.
    mommy to Isabella
    baby x EDD 1/11/05

  6. #6
    raynjen Guest

    Default RE: Best kids' meals at chain restaurants

    Chilis is the only chain food store we have here other than fast food. They will substitute veggies for the fries on request.

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

    P.S. If we only ate out once a week I would probably let her get fries, but it tends to be more often than that...

  7. #7
    darebear Guest

    Default RE: Best kids' meals at chain restaurants

    Those are our favorites as well. Actually for lunch today we ate at Nordstroms and went to Baja Fresh for dinner.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Ohio, United States.

    Default RE: Best kids' meals at chain restaurants

    For variety, Bob Evans has a nice selection of kids' meals. They are reasonably priced too. I'm not particularly a big fan of Bob Evans, but it is very kid friendly. And, you can get breakfast at anytime if your child is into breakfast foods.

    Champps has the best kids cups IMO. They have thick plastic, reusable straws and are a reusuable plastic with lids. DS loves the spaghetti there, but it doesn't come with any sides. BTW, DS loves to go here because of all the TVs with sports playing.

    California Pizza Kitchen is kind of expensive for kids' meals compared to other places, but there is variety and some healthy alternatives (i.e. salad). Of course, pizza also is available, including a chicken breast and tomato pizza option.

    This is not particularly healthy, but if your child is into chicken fingers, O'Charley's has really good ones and they have lots of sides to choose from. However, the kiddie cup is the worst - styrofoam with a takeout lid and regular straw.

    FWIW, if you don't want fries, you can substitute any other side at every chain I've been to. I was totally against fries originally so I always substituted a vegetable or occasionally rice (when DS was in a rice phase). Some places will let you do a fruit cup instead. Bob Evans is a place with a fruit cup. Now, I've relaxed a little on the fries issue. It just depends now. We never have fries at home, but at the same time I don't want him to get addicted to them. But, occasionally I'll let him have some.

    In general, I agree that most children's menus are terrible and unhealthy and provide the same handful of options (hamburger, mac & cheese, chicken fingers).
    Mommy to Justin (13 years) & Ashlyn (8 years)

  9. #9
    Melanie is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    Default RE: Best kids' meals at chain restaurants

    Great deal and we're just getting one of those restaurants, too!

    I cannot stand it when you go to a ncier restaurant with a good menu and then kids' menu is hot dogs, pizza, grilled cheese, hamburger, quesadilla, pizza or chicken nuggets. BLECH! It's either junk (IMHO) or lots of cheese which Ds can't eat.

    Great thread. Anyway, we like Daphne's Greek b/c the children's menu has mini offerings of the adult menu. We get the grilled chicken strips with salad. It also comes with a soda (OF COURSE) which the hubby and I share. =)

    There's a local restaurant where we live that has nice barbeque food, and the children's menu is similiar, but everything comes with french fries, if I want to get Ds steamed vegetables like OUR food comes with, it costs more.

  10. #10
    jlcana Guest

    Default RE: Best kids' meals at chain restaurants

    If anyone is in the Southeastern US and looking for a decent fast food chain-I'd recommend Chick-Fil-A. The kids menu only has chicken nuggets but its real chicken and you can peel off the breading. You can sub a fruit cup for the fries and it comes with a drink and paperbook children's book. We were just in Sarasota and the one we went to had a nice indoor playground in front that was extremely clean! I'd recommend the salads or wraps for the adults as you can get lo-cal or fat free dressing with it!

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