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Not just burgers and fries: Where to find local healthy kids meals

Kid meals are no longer just burgers and fries for some restaurants
Kid meals are no longer just burgers and fries for some restaurants
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Have you ever looked at the “kids meal” while dining out and said to yourself “I wouldn’t eat most of the things on this menu, let alone give them to my toddler!” There a good chance you have.

The standard fare on many restaurants kids menus seem to be grilled “cheese” on thick white bread, fried chicken tenders with sugar laden dipping sauces ,beef burgers and pizza all served with a side of French fries. Kids need their vegetables right? Seeing a toddler in a high chair with a fry clutched in their hand can be enough to induce a panic attack in some mothers!

Although improvements have been made, healthier food options on kid’s menus can be limited. However, there is a local restaurant in the DMV area that has revolutionized the typical kids menu creating healthy, innovative, kid friendly and parent pleasing foods. The Silver Diner is a locally owned and operated restaurant serving our community since 1999.

The Silver Diner recently was celebrated as the 2013 National winners for Healthful Innovations by Menu Masters who recognize visionary and creative food service professionals in Research & Development and Culinary & Menu development.

Besides being delicious (judging by my 3 year-olds clean plate at the end of every meal) the food on the menu are 50% healthier consisting of food options that are under 600 calories, gluten-free, vegetarian friendly, low in fat and with hormone and antibiotic free meats. All entrees are served with a fruit or vegetable or a choice of milk or 100 % juice!

Take a look at the menu. No your eyes are not deceiving you, although available the menu does not list soda, home fries or French fries on the menu. Out of sight out of mind! There is no shortage of fresh vegetables here. The menu itself even reinforces healthy eating habits by providing a graphic of the My Plate dietary guidelines along with fun activities centered on nutrition and healthy eating.

As if that was not enough all menu items are taste tested and approved by kids and meet the criteria for the Kids LiveWell initiative, a voluntary program that consists of a group of restaurants committed to providing families with healthy kid’s menus.

Although healthier menu option exist they are useless if parents do not have or do not adopt healthy eating habits. It is important that parents lead by example. Why would a child ever want to eat a side order of steamed edamame when mom or dad is digging into a mound of chili cheese fries?

When eating out it is refreshing to know that there are restaurants out there that are an extension of your dinner table reinforcing healthy eating habits in children that many parents work so hard to maintain. To find other restaurants that are committed to the health our children visit before you set off on your next dining experience.

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