Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Parental "No" Files - Forget About Breakfast Out

That picture up there is the kids' menu "Hansel and Gretel" breakfast from the Tutti Frutti restaurant here in Ottawa.

I guess it's appropriately named because it would certainly feed both Hansel and Gretel and perhaps even the mean witch.

My wife took the picture while on a "special date" with my 5 year old.

It's not surprising either.

A study conducted by the Center for Science in the Public interest a few years ago revealed that 93% of kids' meals contained more calories than a kids meal ought.

And those were primarily from the fast food places.

Fast casual things are probably even worse (as you can see up above).

Now my wife and I can count on our fingertips the number of times we've taken our 8, 5 and 3 year olds out to restaurants when we weren't travelling so I wasn't particularly concerned about the meal - yet many families practice regular meals out....

But I'm posting this for another reason as well. Take a peek at the portion up above as compared with the photo of the portion from Tutti Frutti's website.

I'd say the portion served to my daughter was nearly double the size of the advertised portion, and while Tutti Frutti doesn't post calorie counts on their menu, had they done so we'd have been duped as the portion served was markedly larger than the optimized portion used for photos and presumably also used for caloric analysis.

Gotta say - as far as parental "Nos" go - this is one I wholeheartedly think is on us as parents. The world isn't built for kids (or adults for that matter) to eat out regularly and come out the other end unscathed.

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  1. Anonymous1:32 pm

    My son goes to school in a pretty low-income school district. They offer free breakfast to all gradeschool kids. He drools over what he sees the kids eating for their free breakfasts: PopTarts, cinnamon rolls, sugary cereal, fluffy muffins. I'm constantly appalled by this, and he's constantly asking why he can't eat breakfast at school. Ugh. I won't let him eat the free breakfast and only occasionally will let him buy his lunch at school. A local organic farm offers free produce once a week at the school. It's usually leftovers from their CSAs. A couple of weeks ago there were piles of organic Chard on the free table and they were practically begging people to take it home. Most of the parents just walked right by, but my son (makes a mama proud) grabbed three bundles and said we'd take them home for our morning green smooties. That's the kind of "free food" that's worth it.

  2. The entire kid's menu needs a re-do. It is a missed opportunity under "kids menu" when we reduce kids to cheese pizza, chicken nuggets + fries, hamburgers and hotdogs.

  3. I'm not one to defend kid's menus (I tend to agree with kristynhall above) nor Tutti Frutti restaurant (which I've never heard of before this post). But #1, those two pictures aren't comparable. Different angle and what looks like different sized/shaped plates. and #2, I see 4-5 different fruits there. Sure kids could do without the whip cream and chocolate chips, but that's what makes a meal "out" special. There's plenty wrong with kids menus, Yoni, why pick on one that's doing it at least mostly right?

    1. Sonya6:15 pm

      He does point out that since he rarely takes the kids out to restaurants, it wasn't a huge concern for him PERSONALLY. But for families that regularly eat out, this is something to watch for.

      As for the fruit, I don't think that is sufficient evidence to say they are "mostly doing it right." A few measly chunks of fruit doesn't magically compensate for the fat/sugar/calorie bomb that surely is the the pancake, chocolate chips, and whipped cream.

  4. Unfortunately, this is the norm, not the exception. I mean, you weren't expecting quality control wrt portion sizes, were you? Personally, rather than set rigid rules about what foods were ok and which weren't, we'd make it the norm on the weekends to make homemade french toast, pancakes and the like--in appropriate portions, and yes, with real maple syrup and whipped cream along with the fruit.