Back to School: Healthy Kids Menu Options & Ideas

1937442Our nation’s children head back to school in droves this month. As many of us hold gold memberships in the ‘busy parents club,’ we know just how especially hectic this time of year can be.

And as food & beverage consultants, we also know that as errands and carpools are run, families can often find solace in gathering and enjoying a casual meal together at a local restaurant.

So, each year we remain mindful that a healthy body promotes a healthy mind and aim to post a back to school piece: celebrating our nation’s kids, our support of programs we’re passionate about such as Kids LiveWell + No Kid Hungry, and offering fresh, healthy kids meal options & ideas. Here are some of our team’s selections for this back to school season.

Remove Soda & Fries From Your Kids Menu. It’s ok!

Case in point: VSAG client, Silver Diner, has successfully removed soda & fries from their kids’ menu. Yup, by offering these items by request only and replacing them with healthy entrée side/beverage options such as fruits/vegetables and milk/juice has resulted in huge industry, parent, and (yes!) even kids’ accolades.

Fun Kids Meal Options & Ideas.

  • Apple slices have been a popular healthy kids add-on for some time. Time for a facelift: chop and add to shredded chicken/cheese or turkey/cheese wraps and crepes; mix-in with shredded pickled cabbage, creating a tasty-tart apple slaw; dried apples are a sweet, alternative treat; replace ginger ale with organic apple cider for a new twist on a classic Shirley Temple.
  • Get creative: serve spaghetti squash over traditional white pastas, zucchini-based muffins, mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes, add pumpkin puree into meat sauce, and the like.
  • Presentation is everything: think fun skewers, interestingly carved fruit/veggies, vibrant
    arrays that jump off the plate, colorful smoothies they’ll want for dessert packed with freshly made ice cream + spinach, bananas, berries, even kale!

Promote Your Restaurant AND Healthy Eating to Kids & Their Families.

In all this culinary creativity, don’t put your restaurant business plan on the backburner. Aim to devise and implement marketing-giveback programs to shine light upon not only the importance of kids and healthy eating, but also your establishment. For example, share your chef’s know-how by volunteering demos at school lunchtimes, community-based charity functions and/or local religious fairs.