Looking for Healthy Food on Kid’s Menus

When you opt for traditional hotels vs. self-catering accommodations with kids, meals can be a big challenge. It’s tiring to eat in a restaurant three plus times per day and finding healthy, kid-friendly food is astoundingly difficult.

Of course, a kid’s menu is useful for foods kids will eat and keeping costs down. The problem is that the majority of these menus consist of a few of the same items — chicken fingers, hot dogs, and pasta with butter.

This is a tiring trend for parents. Is it so hard to offer a vegetable or fruit on the kid’s menu? I get that some kids won’t eat greens of any kind, but there are plenty that will.

There are some exceptional properties that do offer healthy selections and a bit of variety. One example from our portfolio is Solage Calistoga in Napa Valley. Their kid’s menu consists of enough of the usual suspects to satisfy the picky crowd — mac & cheese, chicken fingers, buttered noodles with parmesan, french fries, and cheese pizza. The key is that the menu also offers alternative options.

– carrots and celery sticks with peanut butter or ranch

– mixed green salad with champagne vinaigrette (might be a tough sell but crunchy stuff helps)

– fried shrimp with honey mustard (yes, it’s fried but it’s nice to see seafood)

– steamed vegetables with brown rice

– sauteed chicken breast with pasta and tomato sauce

– fruit salad

They haven’t gone crazy here with fancy, complicated options, but this is much more than most menus offer. When you are staying at a property for more than a night or two this makes a huge difference.

I also want to give a shout-out to Murray Circle at Cavallo Point in Sausalito. The kid’s options are not creative, but the food quality is amazing and the presentation is thoughtful and fun. No, it’s not healthy, but this mouse mousse was a huge hit and demonstrates that kids are not an afterthought in their kitchen.

As the organic food movement grows and people become more focused on healthy eating, I hope hotels and restaurants will branch out and spend more time thinking through their kids options. Please join me in encouraging them to do so!


  1. I agree that restaurants should put more thoughts in their kids menu. Sometimes, I opt to order side dish from regular menu for them or a main dish to share rather than paying hike up price of mac&cheese.

    The mouse mousse is cute. Does adult menu get one too? 🙂

  2. My wish is that one day a kid can get a decent meal in a restaurant! We usually look at appetizers from the main menu such as a veggie quesadilla, etc. Also, splitting an adult meal between our two kids is a common route. But then it doesn’t come in the fun tray!

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