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eating out with kids: order kids meal? regular meal? or just extra plate and give some of your own?

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

what do you do? and what is most frugal?

 

We don't eat out much, but i am noticing portions at restaurants drastically smaller now than a few years ago.  This is probably a good thing, but I used to be able to share with my daughter and still have more than enough for myself, maybe i just eat more now who knows, although i haven't gained weight, but I now don't like to share haha or im still hungry

 

Do you order off the kids menu?

order child a full meal and then split her leftovers with DH/DP or save for dc to eat later?

or just get an extra plate and share your own food? I expect DH to also give dd some of his, but he tends to order things id rather her not eat....

 

 

post #2 of 41

We have 3 little kids, so we tend to order one adult meal, then they split it.  Our favorite Mexican restaurant has no problem with us ordering flour tortillas and refried beans (which my kids think is the best. thing. ever!), so two side dishes make the meal.  My kids are still really young, though, 1, 3, and 5, so they are still okay with this. 

 

Another favorite is our Mediterranean restaurant, and I order them, again, 2 side dishes, plus they eat some off our plates.  Somehow, it is plenty of food. 

 

My oldest wasn't a big eater for a long time (he eats a lot now, though), so I never got in the habit of ordering a kids' meal, and we've found that it is more cost-effective to order off the regular menu instead.

 

post #3 of 41

We usually get the kids something off the kids menu.   We eat out rarely so I want to eat somethind I don't make at home, which is typically either spicy or creamy.  DS2 is allergic to milk so anything creamy is out and ds1 is just starting to experiment with spicy food so that's out for sharing.

 

Dh and I do share sometimes, but normally we all get our own food and take home the leftovers.

post #4 of 41

DD is 3 and we just get an extra plate and share a bit with her. We've tried ordering her own meal a couple times but she doesn't eat enough for it to be worth it. I prefer for her to eat off our plates anyway because kid menu items are usually plain bland crap and I think it's great to expose kids to new/different flavors.

post #5 of 41

It varies from place to place. My kids are 8, 4, and 2. The oldest often can eat more then a child's meal, and if we order one adult meal, it isn't enough for all of them. Sometimes we do 2 kids meals and an app. Or one adult and 1 kids meal. I can share with the youngest or sometimes he can share with the 4 year depending on how hungry she is, she can also eat quite a bit at times.

post #6 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by yukookoo View Post

We don't eat out much, but i am noticing portions at restaurants drastically smaller now than a few years ago.  This is probably a good thing, but I used to be able to share with my daughter and still have more than enough for myself, maybe i just eat more now who knows, although i haven't gained weight, but I now don't like to share haha or im still hungry

 



I also noticed this.  Another thing I have seen is a split plate charge of $2 or so dollars. 

 

The places we frequent have scaled down versions of the adults menu for kids.  The portion sizes are kid-sized and the prices reflect that so I let DS order what he wants and we do the same.

 

post #7 of 41
We rarely go out to eat, & only to casual places... My favorite is the GF/vegan Indian buffet which doesn't charge for kids!! I have to find more places like that!

Anyway, now that DS is eating more (he's only 2, so still not a ton!) we usually share our meals with him and also order an extra side to all split.

I wouldn't feel comfortable giving him a kid's meal, I don't know that I've ever even seen any kid's menu that listed food I'd be comfortable feeding DS.

I do wonder what we'll do as he gets older...
post #8 of 41

My kids were never interested in "kid menu" food, so we always ordered them their own entrees.  We took the extra home (unless dh or I helped finish it off at the restaurant) and someone had it for lunch the next day. 

post #9 of 41

We go out to a restaurant very rarely - like less than once every 3 months. Its a big treat, so the older 3 kids can order anything they want. The usually go for the kids menu. We only eat adult style food at home, so the kids stuff is a fun treat for them. I don't mind since they eat it so rarely.

 

We do occasionally go to Moes (mexican take out) and the older 3 all order kids meals - usually chicken burritios. Or we will order a pizza now and then.

 

post #10 of 41

we don't eat out anymore due to hubby losing his job. but prior to that on rare ocasion we would order 1 kids meal for my 2 girls to spilt. 3 and 6 yrs and then let my 2 yr old have some off our plates.

post #11 of 41

Ds is 10 so he usually get a regular adult meal at this point. Unless its a rare day and hes not very hungry or there is something great and huge on the kids meal.  (The Elephant Bar has a great kids stir fry he loves)

 

When he was younger I got him a kids meal because that is what he would eat.  Sometimes when we would go eat mexican he would like his tacos unassembled (everything on the side) and he would assemble it like mini fajitas

 

I am also a huge coupon user to almost every time we go out I have a coupon or am taking advantage of some type of special they are running.

post #12 of 41

We don't really eat at chain restaurants, so we don't eat a lot of places that *do* have a kid's menu.  Most of these places also won't give a half-portion and charge less for kids.  (I've asked.)  Those places that do have children's menu are for frankenfoods I wouldn't let dd eat, anyway (hot dogs, for example) so I don't think she's ever even ordered off of a kid's menu.  For the most part, we've always let dd just order what she wants off of the adult menu/standard menu and take home the leftovers. 

 

However, if there is something that we'll both enjoy we'll split it... for example a half slab or ribs is great for the 2 of us, but neither could finish them on her own.  She's 9 now and for the most part is able to eat a similar amount to what I do.  If we're somewhere that we can't take leftovers home (like on vacation), then my dh will usually finish our portions for us.  Dd doesn't split anything with dh because he *always* finishes whatever he's eating.  For the ribs example, we'll even split a whole 3-ways between dd, my mother, and me if we're all going to order the same thing.  That makes money sense, I think.

 

We eat out once a week, at a nice sit-down restaurant (often ethnic), so our eating-out budget is high, but it's something we really enjoy as entertainment and not just getting sustenance.  We'll sometimes spend 2 or 3 hours at a restaurant and eat multiple courses (especially if they have good, live music), so it's worth getting good food for everyone.  Then again, we have an only (but my mom lives with us, so we're feeding 3 adults, too.  The way my mom eats, it's like having a teenaged boy in the house.  lol)  If we had 3 or 4 kids, this whole thing probably wouldn't make sense fiscally or logistically and eating out would be a whole different experience.

post #13 of 41
We basically go to 4 places and we eat out once a week. A local Mexican place, Chipotle, Panera and Wendy's when we're on a road trip. At the Mexican place they each get a side of rice and beans, at chipotle they get the cheese quesedilla kids meal, at Panera they get grilled cheese kids meals and at Wendy's they get a kids meal burger and oranges.

When we go to a new place I usually ask lots of questions. I want to know how big a normal portion is and how big a kids meal is. Then based on the price I'll decide what the kids will get. Sometimes that's just a side dish and other times it's a kids meal. Most of the time it's me trying to find something that is not too bad but will still make them happy and every place is different.
post #14 of 41

It really depends on the menu and how hungry everybody is when we go in the resturant. The last time we ate out as a family DH, DS1 (he's nine) and I each ordered a regular adult entree.  DS2 (he six definitely eats less than lot of other kids his age) didn't seem very hungry or know what he wanted so we ordered him a trip throught the salad bar.  It ended up being a good way to go.  The salad bar had lots of variety and they only charged him $3. DS2 ended up eating a bit of all three of the other entrees too.  DH and I finished our meals. DS2 had some leftovers.

post #15 of 41

As the kids grew ---

 

First we took some from our plates. 

 

Kids starting eating more so we would get an appitizer and share our plates. 

 

Kids demanded their own food so we ordered off the kids menu. Forgo the appitzer.

 

Now 16 year old so gets his own meal. The girls 10 & 13 get a meal and an appitzer that is shared with everyone.

post #16 of 41

We eat out on most Saturday nights.  We don't do any type of chain restaurants mainly because we're vegetarians (and the options are limited) and there are very few chain-type restaurants where we live (outside the tourist areas).  Nine times out of ten we eat Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern or family-style Italian.  We order several dishes plus a big bowl of rice (or pasta) and share everything.  Rarely do we get individual platters.  I never even knew that kids menus were so common until I came to MDC, mainly because we don't really have that option in most restaurants here.  It is funny, but when our relatives (with young children) visit us from out of town, it is always a challenge on where to eat because of the kids.  I think they are used to kid menus and it always takes us like an hour to order!

 

Like a PP said, eating out for us is a great form of relaxation and it is something we look forward to every week.  Most of the restaurant owners have literally seen DD grow up and always have some special treat for her for desert (usually on the house).  We almost always take home food with us and use if for lunch the next day. 

post #17 of 41

We don't eat out often but we used to just get an extra plate for my ds and share our food with him. Now that he is older he has been ordering a kids meal, and we have been ordering one for my dd (2) too since she would notice he getting one and her not. But we seriously eat out like, 2 times a year max so it's not making or breaking us

post #18 of 41

Going out to eat for us is a pretty big treat.  

 

So we choose our restaurant and decide what we will eat before we go.  One place has free kids meals on Sunday so we go there on Sunday.  We buy two adult meals and two kids meals and everyone splits.  (so dd 1 and 3 share a meal and dd2 and I share a meal.  The kids meals get passed around for everyone.)

 

We go to olive garden and do the same thing.  Its nice because we can fill up on salad and bread sticks..  It is  A LOT of food though.  

 

When we go out to the Ethiopian or Chinese place we get 3 meals and split four ways.  

 

Two adult meals just aren't quite enough.  But my kids are older.  14, 11, and 8.   

post #19 of 41

It depends where we are and what they have.  When they were smaller we would just share, but now we will usually order them a meal to split, sometimes a kids one sometimes an adult one.  Some places they will happily eat whatever I order, other places I know they won't like what I want so it's worth it to get them something else to split.  

post #20 of 41

We never order kid's meals. Usually the food is lousy processed junk.

 

We order an extra adult kid and take home leftovers if needed. Usually the kids will craze off all of the plates.

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