Your baby is now part of family mealtime, but he’s definitely not ready to order off the restaurant’s kids’ menu! In fact, kids’ meals are sometimes the worst foods on the menu, and he doesn’t need a “big-kid” portion.
To make the restaurant experience healthier and more enjoyable for everyone, try these tips for eating out.
Hungry babies don’t like to wait! Put some easy food in your diaper bag or handbag so you can feed him at the restaurant if he’s hungry before the meal arrives.
Food ideas for babies:
- Ripe banana
- Unsweetened applesauce cup or other fruit cups (packed in 100 percent juice or water, not syrup)
- Dry cereal or crackers
- Jar of stage 3 baby food
Tip: Look for jars that are combos of veggies/meat or beans/grains and are not sweetened with fruit.
Other things to bring:
- Disposable bibs and placemats for easier cleanup
- Baby spoon and bottle or small cup
- Little toys or books (that are easily wiped down) to keep him busy while he’s waiting or when he’s done eating
Skip the junky “toddler snacks.” These are products that look like regular junk foods—cheese puffs, cereal bars, yogurt drops, etc. Many toddler snacks are full of sugar and offer very little nutrition, making them unhealthy for your child.
Nix the pouches. They’re just drinkable stage 1 baby food. Even the pouches that sound healthy (with ingredients like kale, beets, quinoa) are almost always sweetened with fruit. That means baby isn’t really learning to like the flavors of vegetables and could become pickier down the road.
Stick to bringing real foods or get something at the restaurant.
These wholesome foods for baby might not be on the menu, but many restaurants will be happy to serve them anyway:
- Sliced avocado
- Steamed veggies
- Diced tomatoes
- Plain baked potato or sweet potato
- Tortillas, plain toast or other soft breads
- Plain beans or lentils
- Pulled meats
- Plain rice or pasta
- Scrambled eggs
Your baby may even be able to share some of your meal, depending on what you order. Look for a healthy option; keep it as simple as you can for baby, and separate his share before adding anything extra, like ketchup, hot sauce, salt, syrup, etc.