While I still do feel a little guilty when taking the kids out to eat, I’ve found a few chain restaurants with locations all over the country that actually serve tasty and healthy kids meals. While most of the restaurants stick to fried dishes like chicken cutlets, fried fish, French fries, or hamburgers, I’ve discovered a few gems – healthy meals that my kids actually eat at reasonably priced chain restaurants.
Red Lobster – Red Lobster is a little pricier than most of the restaurants we take our kids to. However, sometimes it’s nice to change it up and treat them (and ourselves). The Garlic Grilled Shrimp is a favorite of the whole family, and is a perfect kid’s item. Another great option is the grilled chicken.
What I especially like about the menu for children at Red Lobster is that the side item is usually pretty healthy. Most restaurants give a side of French fries or something else deep fried, but Red Lobster frequently provides a health vegetable, like broccoli, which is great. It’s much easier to get my kids to eat broccoli when there’s no other temptation on the table!
Chick-fil-A – Chick-fil-A is one of my favorite places to take my kids. They have hundreds of locations all over the country, and the various types of chicken are all delicious and most of them are healthy. The Chick-fil-A kids meal options match an entree, a side, and a drink. I like to get the grilled nuggets and fruit cup, and apple juice for my kids. Prices are very reasonable and my kids absolutely devour their food.
Applebees – At Applebees kids eat free every Tuesday night, as long as they are accompanied by an adult who orders at least one entree (minimum $8.00). They offer Chicken Grillers, Chicken Tenders, and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, along with the choice of a side item for kids – baby carrots, applesauce, steamed broccoli, and the house salad are the healthiest choices.
Hooter’s – While Hooters is not usually thought of as a kid friendly restaurant, they actually have activities for the kids such as line dancing and hula hooping with the girls. In addition, the Hooter’s kids menu items includes favorites such as boneless wings, chicken strips, and grilled cheese. While it’s not one of the healthiest options for kids, the activities and fun vibe definitely go a long way towards giving parents some much needed rest.
As you can see, there are a lot of inexpensive ways to get your kids fed that still keep them healthy and save you time. While going out with your kids all the time isn’t ideal, sometimes it’s a great fix and just having the option can ease my mind and reduce the stress of constant meal planning.