Are you a parent on the go? Balancing work, school, and extracurricular activities can be challenging, and sometimes, the idea of dining out at a family restaurant Rotorua feels like a much-needed break. But when it comes to choosing kids’ meals, how do you make the right choice? With so many options on the menu, it’s essential to consider your child’s taste buds and nutritional needs. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore what you should look for when choosing kids’ meals at family restaurants.

Balance Taste and Nutrition

When dining out at a family restaurant Rotorua, it’s easy to focus on what will delight your child’s palate. After all, a happy child is a happy mealtime companion. However, it’s crucial to strike a balance between taste and nutrition. Opt for meals that incorporate wholesome ingredients while still appealing to your child’s taste buds.

While some dishes may look enticing, they might not provide the necessary nutrients your child needs. Look for menu options that include fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Many family restaurants now offer healthier alternatives to the standard children’s menu fare. For example, instead of fried chicken tenders, you might find grilled chicken strips with a side of carrot sticks. These options provide the flavours kids love while delivering essential nutrients.

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Portion Sizes Matter

Children have smaller appetites than adults, so paying attention to portion sizes is essential. Many family restaurants offer kids’ meals in portions that are suitable for children, but it’s always a good idea to check. Oversized meals can lead to food waste and overeating, while too-small portions may leave your child hungry and dissatisfied.

When in doubt, ask the server about portion sizes. They can guide you toward the right choice for your child’s age and appetite. Additionally, some family restaurants offer the option to order half portions of regular menu items, allowing you to customise the meal to your child’s needs.

Avoid Excessive Sugary Drinks

It’s no secret that kids are drawn to sugary drinks like bees to honey. While it’s okay to indulge occasionally, sugary beverages can add unnecessary calories and sugar to your child’s meal. Instead of automatically ordering a soda, consider healthier alternatives like milk, 100% fruit juice, or simply water.

Many family restaurants have recognised the importance of offering healthier drink choices for kids. Some provide low-fat milk or even small bottles of water as part of the meal deal. This not only helps keep sugar intake in check but also encourages healthier drinking habits from a young age.

Look for Whole Food Ingredients

Whole foods are nutrient-dense and offer a wide range of health benefits. When choosing a kids’ meal at a family restaurant, keep an eye out for menu items that incorporate whole food ingredients. These might include dishes with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and foods prepared with minimal processing.

Consider meals that feature salads, stir-fries, or sandwiches made with whole-grain bread. These choices not only provide essential vitamins and minerals but also promote a balanced diet for your child.

Allergies and Dietary Restrictions

Every child is unique, and some may have allergies or dietary restrictions. When dining at a family restaurant, it’s essential to communicate your child’s specific needs to the server. Most establishments are well-prepared to accommodate such requests.

In recent years, many family restaurants have become more conscious of allergen concerns and dietary preferences. They often provide allergy-friendly menus or can modify dishes to suit your child’s requirements. When choosing a kids’ meal, make sure to inform the server of any allergies or dietary restrictions to ensure a safe and enjoyable dining experience.

Engage Your Child in the Decision-Making Process

Involving your child in the meal selection process not only empowers them but also ensures that they’ll be more likely to enjoy their food. When you visit a family restaurant, let your child explore the menu and make choices within the parameters you’ve set.

Encourage them to choose dishes that include their favourite foods while still being nutritious. This can be a fun and educational experience that helps your child understand the importance of balanced eating.


In conclusion, dining out at a family restaurant can be an enjoyable and stress-free experience when you know what to look for when choosing kids’ meals. 

Balancing taste and nutrition, considering portion sizes, avoiding excessive sugary drinks, seeking whole food ingredients, accommodating allergies and dietary restrictions, and involving your child in the decision-making process are all key factors to keep in mind. With these tips in your arsenal, you can make dining out with your little ones a memorable and healthful experience. 

So, go ahead and explore your local family restaurant Rotorua, and let your children savour a meal that’s not only delicious but also nourishing.