The birth of a child completely changes the lives of parents. Adults want to at least briefly return to their usual way of life. Going to a restaurant becomes an outlet from the routine. Mom will take a break from cooking dinner and will be able to enjoy delicious food and a relaxing atmosphere.
A new question arises when organizing a family trip to a restaurant: how to feed a child? Many babies love familiar foods and are reluctant to try unfamiliar foods. Not all restaurants prepare food that can be offered to children.
Parents should approach the choice of a restaurant in detail. It is important to check the availability of special furniture for children, hygiene products, and places for feeding babies. You should first familiarize yourself with the menu, and analyze the tastes of the child and the availability of his favorite dishes. Parents will be able to have a good time if they provide the kid with interesting leisure time and delicious food.
Babies’ Age and Different Types of Restaurant Foods
The appearance of children affects the relationship between spouses. Psychologists recommend finding time for the usual activities. Most of the old entertainment will have to be put aside for the future until the child grows up. Going to a cafe or restaurant is one of the most appropriate ways to organize your leisure time.
It is important to responsibly treat the children’s menu so that the rest outside the home brings benefits. Parents should take into account the age of the child before offering him restaurant food. Many foods can cause an eating disorder in a young child, and some can even cause food poisoning.
Babies from birth to six months should be fed exclusively with breast milk or formula. Parents introduce complementary foods at six months of age, but children cannot be supplemented with restaurant food. Some establishments allow you to bring special food for babies – fruit puree for example.
12 – 18 Month
You can offer children rice, mashed potatoes, salads without sauces, mashed vegetable soups, fresh fruits, and juices at this age. It is recommended to order food familiar to children (which they have already tried or eaten at home).
18 – 24 Month
The menu for two-year-olds is more extensive. Kids in the restaurant are most often offered spaghetti, pastries, chicken chops, baked or steamed fish, grilled vegetables, and scrambled eggs. You can take a cheesecake or dry biscuits for dessert for a child.
24 – 36 Month
Children at this age eat from a common table. It is important to remember that restaurant food is different from homemade food. It is worth ordering simple familiar dishes for children: mashed potatoes, macaroni, cheese, soups, and meat. You can take for dessert a fruit salad, pastries without fatty creams, a croissant, juice, or a milkshake.
36 Month +
Children as young as three try a lot of new foods. , Parents order colored mashed potatoes (with spinach or other natural colors), pizza, pasta, pastries, and cheese dishes to interest the baby. For drinks, it is better to choose plain water, lemonade, juice, and warm tea.
Why Restaurant Food is Not the best for Babies
Food for children should be balanced. Rich in proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fats. Babies need to get vitamins and minerals from food. The usefulness of the dish largely depends on the method of its preparation. Restaurant food is not the best option for young children because the menu contains fried dishes seasoned with spicy sauces and flavor enhancers are used.
Lots of fatty foods
The restaurant menu (especially in fast food restaurants) is rich in fried dishes. Kids love battered chicken wings, fried potatoes, and more. This food is too high in calories. Often a serving contains twice as many calories as a child needs. Getting used to this type of food becomes the reason for the appearance of excess weight in children and adolescents.
Too much salt
Salt is considered a natural flavor enhancer. Studies have shown that restaurant meals for children exceed the daily allowance of sodium by several times. Too much sodium causes kidney problems. They cannot cope with the excess of the substance and the salt is not excreted from the body.
Sugar is a good preservative. People use it more than they think. Sauces and salad dressings contain sugar. It is present in abundance in desserts, syrups, juices, and cocktails. Excessive consumption of sugar at an early age adversely affects the health of children. This can lead to diabetes in the future.
It cannot be argued that all catering establishments use monosodium glutamate or other flavor enhancers. Asian restaurants often use this additive to give dishes an authentic flavor. Glutamate is added to fast foods. The additive negatively affects the body of children: it is addictive, which makes ordinary food seem tasteless. Excess glutamate provokes diseases in the stomach, brain, and retina.
What Food Not To Order for baby at Restaurant?
When parents organize a family trip to a restaurant, they want to take a break from cooking in particular. Some restaurants allow you to bring your baby food. Not all restaurants are so loyal and parents choose dishes from the children’s menu in this case.
Sometimes the food offered is not suitable for babies. The menu has a lot of processed foods, and semi-finished products with excess salt, sugar, and palm oil. Parents often allow their children to try new food at a restaurant. It is a good practice to teach a child to eat a variety of foods. It should be remembered about the list of dishes that categorically cannot be offered to young children:
Spicy dishes and sauces
Each person has a sense of the spiciness of the food. It is exacerbated in young children. Do not offer dishes with red pepper, soy sauce, wasabi, or excess garlic to babies. The child may choke on the burning sensation in the mouth and may vomit. Spicy food irritates the lining of the stomach and causes stomach ulcers. It is not recommended to introduce spicy food into the diet of children under 10 years of age.
Dishes with raw fish
Many children consider sushi to be a “weird” tasteless food. This is an unsafe food containing a lot of spices, salt, and raw fish for babies. Raw fish may contain helminth eggs. Parasites develop in the human body and disrupt the functioning of internal organs. Especially negatively they affect the functionality of the liver. Unprocessed seafood poses a risk of contracting hepatitis A.
Rare varieties of meat
Meat is healthy for children if it is properly cooked. Children love steamed cutlets, chops, and chicken legs. Do not offer exotic meat dishes to kids in a restaurant. It is especially dangerous to feed children with thermally unprocessed meat. Lamb, duck, and geese meat contains an excess of refractory fats. The child’s body is under heavy stress trying to digest this food.
Mushrooms in any form are heavy food for a child whose gastrointestinal tract is just being formed. The product contains chitin. It is difficult for a child’s stomach to digest it. Chitin prevents the body from absorbing other beneficial components from food.
Dishes in fusion style
Young children are just developing their culinary tastes. Dishes that combine traditions from different cuisines of the world are often incomprehensible to children. The combination of sweet, sour, and bitter on one plate and the unusual serving of food are alien to kids. It is better to refuse offers of fusion food to children under eight to ten years old so as not to alienate the desire to try something new in the future.
Baby Nuts Allergies
Nuts are among the foods that cause the most allergies in children. The reaction to nuts is manifested in the form of itching, and swelling of the larynx and oral cavity. Eczema may appear on the skin. An allergic reaction often provokes anaphylactic shock. The condition is fatal without timely medical attention.
Restaurants use cashews, almonds, peanuts, pine nuts, and walnuts to cook or decorate dishes. Nuts are present in first courses, side dishes, salads, pastries, and desserts. Sometimes nut paste is used for cooking, which cannot be seen with the naked eye. It is important to clarify with the staff the presence of nuts in the food if the child is allergic to the product.
Types of Restaurant Food Babies Like
Parents need to feed their kids with healthy and tasty food when the family goes out to a restaurant. The children themselves evaluate the contents of the plate visually. It is important for them that the food is beautiful. Kids happily eat broccoli trees, spider-shaped cheese balls, and waffle houses. Children most of all like to taste the “traditional” dishes:
Thin crust with crispy edges, tomatoes, stretchy cheese – delicious and healthy food. Children often try foods in pizza that they refuse in other dishes (olives, ham, onions).
Children love to eat long strings of spaghetti. The bolognese and tomato sauces will be to the taste of the kids.
This is a well-known dish. Restaurants surprise the youngest visitors with an unusual presentation: they use food coloring to draw real pictures from mashed potatoes.
Cream soups are beautifully decorated, complemented with crackers, and chips. Children like the interesting design of the dish and they are ready to try it.
Sweet treats don’t have to be bad. Restaurant casseroles, cheesecakes, fruit salads, and jellies are liked by kids for their design, brightness, color combination, and taste.
A trip to a restaurant with small children does not always go according to plan, but you should allow yourself small pleasures. Properly selected dishes for the age of the children contribute to the fact that the child learns to try different foods. The whole family will be able to have a fun evening if you plan a trip to a restaurant correctly.