While as adults we may already be aware of, or endeavouring to understand, appropriate portion sizes and the corresponding nutritional content of the food we consume, this becomes more difficult when it comes to children. Requirements and portion sizes vary with age. Frequently in restaurants, the children’s menu is composed of traditional ‘kid friendly’ foods such as sausages, chicken nuggets and chips. Although easily manageable by children, these meals are generally not nutritionally complete – and nutrition is particularly important for growing children. In Ireland, we have seen an alarming increase in childhood obesity rates in recent years, with the overconsumption of high calorie, high fat, and sugary foods in tandem with under consumption of fruits and vegetables. Children’s eating habits are largely influenced by their environment and although parents bear the greatest responsibility for their child’s dietary intake, others can help to create healthy eating patterns – including restaurants.
So, as a restaurant owner, how can you do this? Instead of the traditional ‘kids’ menu’, why not offer a ‘kids portion’ of meals offered to adults from your main menu? For example, if you are serving lasagne as one of your main dishes, serve it for children too just in an appropriate serving size. The importance of meal size to your customers is indicated by market research which shows that 98% of parents in Ireland want to see the introduction of child friendly portions of main menu meals in restaurants and 88% chose this as their preferred option for kids’ options when dining out (Do You Have A Kids Menu? Safefood 2013).
Now you know that the demand exists, how do you decide what portion size is nutritionally adequate for a child? This is where healthpro can help. We will work with you to nutritionally analyse your entire menu, providing comprehensive information about the calories, macronutrient content (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) as well as fibre, sugar and salt contents and several micronutrients. Using this information our qualified dietitians and nutritionists will provide you with the information that you need to develop your new kids’ menu.
Check out www.healthpro.ie/menumentoring for more information, or contact us at email@example.com and we will answer any questions!
Published on 5 July 2017 | Back to July Articles