One of the things that has come to annoy me on my Real Food Journey is kids’ menus. Whenever I go to a restaurant, I find the same few things on the kids’ menus. There are hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. We all know that these items are highly processed and full of all kinds of junk ingredients. There usually is not a vegetable in sight. It cracks me up that I can find this same children’s menu at any type of restaurant. American cuisine, Chinese, Mexican food…………you name it……it’s the same menu. What I want to know is when and who decided that these items are the only things kids will eat.
Don’t get me wrong……I’m not saying that kids love elaborate dishes with lots of exotic ingredients. I get it. I have 4 kids. I know they like what they like and it is hard to convince them to try new things. However, I think a lot of us short change our kids by not exposing them to a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. My oldest and 3rd born both like a big variety of foods. My 2nd and 4th born like lots of healthy foods, but have more of a limited palate and less of a sense of adventure. Not all kids are the same. We all have to do what is best for our children. So why are all of the menus the same?
I would love to see children’s menus eliminated or at the least changed. Children do have opinions about food, but I’ve found it is more about the presentation than the food itself. Kids love anything they can pick up with their fingers, bite-size pieces, and smaller portions. They also like fun packages and props or toys with their food. Fast food has definitely figured this out. Think chicken nugget happy meals with a toy. Think fun shaped-breakfast cereal with a hidden toy in the box.
Real Food is typically simple food so it has a great appeal to children who don’t like lots of sauces or a complex mix of ingredients. One food that people often think of as kids’ food is peanut butter. Let’s take some time talking about cleaning up peanut butter so it is a perfect ingredient for children and adults. Your typical Jiff peanut butter has the following ingredients:
MADE FROM ROASTED PEANUTS AND SUGAR, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: MOLASSES, FULLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (RAPESEED AND SOYBEAN), MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, SALT.
There is not an overly long list of ingredients in the Jif peanut butter, but clearly it has added sugar, oil and salt. Natural and Organic peanut butters you can find contain one ingredient. Ground peanuts. Natural peanut butter is different in that the oils separate out of the peanut butter. The oil needs to be stirred in before using. It is really no big deal, but takes some getting used to. Natural peanut butter should also be stored in the refrigerator to preserve freshness.
Unfortunately, due to the increase in peanut allergies, peanut butter has been taken away
from many children. The good news is that there are a wide array of nut butters and sun butter that can be used in the same way as peanut butter. I was first introduced to sun butter when my kids went to a peanut free pre-school. There I was introduced to a butter made from sunflower seeds. My kids didn’t have peanut allergies so sun butter was new to us. We soon learned to appreciate its unique flavor. Another plus to this discovery, buckeyes (normally made with peanut butter) can be converted to a peanut free alternative. Perfect for my sister who does have a peanut allergy.
Keeping in mind that kids love finger food and simple combinations of food, I introduced Monkey Bites to my kids. They loved them! They ask for them all of the time for lunch, breakfast, snacks, and now even for birthday parties. They are super simple to make and because of that I often have the kids help to make these for themselves. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Natural Peanut Butter
Whole Wheat Wrap ( Tortilla )
1. Lay whole wheat wrap flat on counter.
2. Spread peanut butter across tortilla, making sure to go all the way to the edge on at least
one side. This will serve as the “glue.”
3. Place whole peeled banana on the edge of the wrap.
4. Roll up wrap with banana and squeeze gently so that the peanut butter “glues” the
5. Cut off ends and then slice into approximately 1 – inch pieces.
What do you think of children’s menus? Do you think all kids are picky? What would you like to see on a children’s menu? Have you tried natural peanut butter yet? Do any of you have peanut allergies? So many questions…………so little time. Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to all of your comments. Your comments make all this writing worth it.
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One year ago: Falling in Love With Your Crock Pot