Instead of buying a "kid's meal" for Andrew when we go out to eat, we've been road-testing sharing our meals with him. We just ask for another plate, and divy up the choicest goodies from our plates for him.
The upside to this is threefold - we're saving money, introducing him to different tastes, and providing healthier fare for his (rapidly) growing body. Think about this - you go out to your local diner. Under kid's meals, they have what? Hot dog/hamburger/the ubiquitous chicken nugget/spaghetti or tacos if you're in an ethnic restaurant. And you're likely paying $3 to $4 a pop for something that's overprocessed and probably fried (because they all come with fries, right?).
When we split our meal with Andrew, he's being exposed to different types of food. While visiting PA this past week, my parents, Andrew, and I went to a small diner. My mom, ever the maverick of the group, ordered liver and onions. She asked Andrew if he'd like a bite. He tried it, even swallowed it, before refusing seconds. I held my tongue through this whole minidrama so he wouldn't be swayed by my gagging noises. Gotta say I was pretty proud of him!
The downside? Andrew's five now. The age of independence. He's getting harder to compromise with when it comes to menu selection. While at another restaurant this past week, he was adamant that he wanted a hot dog. We asked the price of *just a hot dog*, and the answer was $3.50. Gulp! He was most unhappy about it, but was required to share my turkey and gravy. He also got the pick of everyone else's plates. I know I looked like the mean mommy to my family and friends, but his healthy eating is very important to me. And our financial future is, too.
Oh, and we're teaching him about drinking water at restaurants. I half-jokingly told my sister I was going to start carrying those individual drink mix packets for just this situation, especially after seeing the bill and realizing that we paid almost $2 for each kid's drink!
What do you do to tame the bill while eating out with kids? And, do you think carrying those drink mixes is ethical?