Sunday, November 21, 2010

Plan their dinner ahead and make life easier

Foodie Baby
Mommy often gives me the bread off the table or some snack she packed in my diaper bag when we go out to dinner when she orders off the menu for me.
 I also eat the crayons that everyone gives me. She said she doesn't understand why they think little babies would want crayons, except at Macaroni Grill where everyone get crayons.
Daddy likes to do the puzzles on the kids menu sometimes.
Mommy has never taken me out to Olive Garden to eat, although she talks about it here. I guess she is craving pasta.

The beauty with so many restaurants having online menus is that you can pick the meal that fit's your child's needs the most by going online and researching the menu and nutrition information before going to the restaurant.
There are other ways to plan ahead when eating out. Grab a menu (or have someone hold it for you while you juggle diaper bag and baby) and take a look at what's available while you wait to be seated so you are ready to order for them when the waitress comes to take your drink order.
If there are menus available to take home you can also create a little folder of your favorites to keep somewhere in the house or in the car so you are able to look at them before dining out.
By planning ahead, you already know you want the kids menu's breaded chicken fingers with broccoli at Olive Garden for your two-year-old, or, or decide to share your veggies from the grilled Chicken Spiedini along with a nibble of stuffed mushroom beforehand with your little one.
Studying the menu and seeing the vast amount of chicken and cheese that seems to make up so many kid's menus may have you choose to bring your own food for your child as well, and also means that they are free to eat when they are ready to do so- which may mean the minute they are in the high chair, if they are like Foodie Baby!
I just read through the December/January issue of Parenting Early Years and the article entitled 'Take Your Toddler Anywhere' by author Erin Zammett Ruddy discusses eating out at restaurants with toddlers. In the article it is recommended to order their food as soon as you sit down at the table (and after they are belted in a working highchair, diaper bag stashed away, and all of the forks and knives and plates and glasses out of reach. Or before. Whichever works best.)
I loved that piece of advice and being able to look at a menu online would make that easy.
Other advice- Zammett Ruddy also says to have the hostess clear the table until the food comes to keep children from trying to play with silverware and sugar packets, or to try to keep them entertained with a game (I remember doing I Spy when I was little.) She also quotes "Time for Dinner" author Jenny Rosenthal, who says to go for an early reservation (like before 6 p.m.).

For other tips about eating at restaurants check out 4 more here at

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