Cafes: You’re doing Kids Meals all wrong

It seems the fancier the cafe, the stupider kids meals become.

My family of foodies just love trying new cafes and we get especially giddy when we’ve spotted a potential new fave – a trendy looking establishment with all the activated ingredients and locally produced organic coffee, because isn’t that the thing these days?

And then they bring the kids meals out and we’re like, wow. Yeah, nah. Look. We get your target market isn’t a child but how in the world did you expect a kid to eat this dang thing?

A ham and cheese toastie on tooth-breaking ciabatta bread is not child friendly. It’s wanky.

Does that bread look easy to eat to you?

Does that bread look easy to eat to you?

Try soft toast, some shaved ham and good quality melted cheese. And don’t overdo it with the butter on the outside before toasting because greasy and oily and unnecessary.

A kids burger on ulcer-inducing rock-hard bread buns too tall to bite into is not only impossible for a child to eat, it’s awkward and scary and daunting. And it will be left behind on that plate. And not because the child wasn’t hungry but because the child hated it. 

If they can't hold it, they won't eat it.

If they can’t hold it, they won’t eat it.

Try a soft bun, an edible size quality beef patty and minimal ingredients ensuring the child can actually hold it. You watch – it will be eaten.

Bland, flavourless, poached, chicken breast strips might seem like you are doing something good for our kids’ health, but for the love of salt, add some. Or at least serve it with some tomato sauce. 

Try making the chicken tasty. If we’ve ordered grilled or poached chicken, we obviously want it for our children, but not if it’s so bland it’s inedible. A bit of marination never hurt anyone, yo.

And if we order the crumbed variety of chicken, the strips should be crumbed lightly and easily chewed and swallowed. Hard, chewy chicken strips are not child (or adult) friendly. Derr.

Try actually pan-frying and not deep-frying the crumbed chicken. Chicken should be soft, tender and without the threat of a choking hazard.

Some quick tips:

crayons- Kids don’t care about activated anything. They are simple beings that just want to be fed simple things served simply and don’t want eating a burger to be a lesson in developing fine motor skills.

- A side of fresh carrot and celery sticks are great to add to any kids meal, particularly if you have the traditional “fried varieties” on your menu i.e. nuggets and chips

- It does not hurt to have colouring books and crayons on hand particularly if you want our children to be quiet (and we know you do. Don’t lie)

Are you sick of unfriendly kids meals? Do you have any pet-peeves?

All comments read, appreciated and responded to. So thank you x
  • Noelene

    Agree on all and drinks that are child size milk shakes or blended juices .i find breakfast a lot better with children at cafes than lunch .

    • http://www.mammasvida.com.au/ Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

      Oh for sure – at least at brekky they can eat scrambled eggs on toast or pancakes… And yes, what’s so hard about making a child’s size milkshake?!

  • Tracey Baglin

    hooray for you! hard as rock nuggets … slimy fish fillets … oniony burger patties … to to mention gag-worthy overdressed coleslaw and flaccid cucumber slices. and don’t get me started on that “free” thimble-sized drink and sloppy soft-serve icecream we are supposed to be so happy about! the best kids meals we have had lately are lightly seasoned pulled pork sliders on brioche buns, medium-cooked sizzle steak with sweet potato crisps, and mini quiche lorraine. how hard can that be? xt

    • http://www.mammasvida.com.au/ Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

      Oh your list (of the bad meals) is so terrible and your list with the food meals some new awesome!

      Some places just don’t get it x

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