Let’s Dine out - with the kids! | Wholesome Child

Let’s Dine out - with the kids!

Does the idea of dining out with your kids fill you with dread? From the mess to what they’ll eat and whether they’ll agree to sit at the table for more than a few minutes? I love enjoying a cafe or restaurant experience with my kids, and even more so after lockdown. And there’s not much baby wipes, a game of I spy, counting the sugar sticks and reading the menu can’t solve from babyhood to primary school-aged kids! 


Top 7 strategies for successful cafe meals

  • Ditch the screens and use the time when you don’t need to cook or clean up to connect with your kids and help create positive mealtime associations 
  • Bring small, age appropriate toys that can keep them busy for a while such as a sensory plush toy, colouring in set or mini puzzle or stick to no-fuss games such as I spy 
  • Try arrive before everyone is starving so waiting for the food to arrive doesn’t become a drama
  • Stick to breakfast, brunch or lunch if your child can be tired and ratty at the end of the day
  • Give your child choice from the menu so they feel empowered
  • Try not to stress about the mess, and help clean it up when everyone is done eating
  • Focus on spending quality time together as a family, not the food

Number 1 tip - don’t stick to the kids menu!

Here’s my wrap up of what to choose when eating out to ensure you are still nourishing you and your family with healthy food options that they’ll love.


Breakfast or Brunch at a Cafe

  • Eggs (scrambled, soft boiled or poached) and sourdough toast with a choice of sides such as avo, smoked salmon, goats cheese, tomato or grilled mushrooms
  • Avocado toast soldiers on rye or wholemeal sourdough
  • Rya or sourdough toast with nut butter or ricotta
  • Chia pudding
  • Acai bowl
  • Babycino (minus the sprinkles! You can take some superfruits+ in your bag instead!)

Mexican

  • Corn chips with guacamole
  • Nacho bowls with beans or meat, avo and veggies
  • Mini burritos with grilled protein or beans, avo and salad
  • Quesadillas with cheese and avo/tomato salsa on the side

Vietnamese

  • Pho soups with veggies, rice noodles and lean protein
  • Rice paper rolls with fresh veggies and protein, skip sugary dipping sauces!

Thai

  • Chicken Satay sticks
  • Thai fish cakes
  • Protein rich stir fries with veggies and brown rice, and simple sauces such as Oyster Sauce, Basil, Soy or Cashew Nut are a better choice than noodle based dishes and sweetened sauces such as chilli jam 
  • Thai beef salad (spice on the side!)

Japanese

  • Edamame and miso soup to help as nutritious tummy fillers, sides or starters
  • Opt for brown rice sushi with a cooked protein
  • Terayaki Salmon or Chicken with brown rice – you can always scrape off some sauce if it is too sweet
  • Agedashi tofu
  • Rice paper rolls filled with protein and veggies/noodles

Italian

  • Grilled fish, with rice or potatoes and steamed vegetables
  • Thin based pizza with veggie toppings
  • Wholemeal spelt pastas with tomato based sauces and parmesan

Fish shop

  • Grilled fish – avoiding high mercury varieties such as Basa and deep fried options which are often found on kiddie menus
  • Salad and steamed vegetables
  • Sweet potato chips
  • Wedges over hot chips 

Chicken shop

  • Roast chicken with salads or roast veggies
  • Try a drumstick from a roast chicken as opposed to nuggets or chicken schnitzel 

Meat or grill

  • Grilled burger – remove the top of the bun or get it naked if your kids will allow!
  • Grilled chicken breast or kebab
  • Served with salad, roast or steamed veggies, baked potato or sweet potato chips

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