Getting Kids to Make Healthier Food Choices Isn’t Easy

Most of us see lots of kids come into our establishments to eat with their parents. It’s even possible that your particular establishment caters specifically to kids if you run a neighborhood pizza shop or burger joint.

However, there are also times when those of us running a more upscale restaurant grit our teeth and wonder how we can keep our other guests happy while not alienating families who may have children who just don’t want to eat a healthy meal.

Worried About the “Kid Conflict”?  You’re Not Alone.

If you’ve ever faced that problem, you’ll be glad to know you’re not alone. In fact, the USDA is so concerned about trying to get kids to eat healthy that they recently announced a new $2 million dollar campaign to try to change kids’ attitudes about school lunches.

The idea is to try and get kids to want to eat a healthy diet rather than the junk food that is often served in school cafeterias and on many of our own kids’ menus.

An Organization for Healthier Kids

The idea is to create a brand think tank called the Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs. The new organization will be based at Cornell University in New York State and will fund a number of studies in other states as well. The question they’ll be asking is: How can we get kids to want to eat healthier foods?

This is a question that we as restaurateurs, at least in more upscale restaurants need to be asking ourselves as well. Depending on the kind of place you run, you may have a tough time when the 10 year old comes in with her parents and they insist that she eat the foie gras.

How to Get Kids to Eat Healthily

One suggestion, which we frankly wonder about since it’s heavy handed and not likely to succeed (not to mention it doesn’t help us with ideas in our own industry) is to issue meal cards that can only be used to purchase healthy foods.

What are some ways that you use to get kids in your restaurant to quiet down and eat with their families? We’d love to hear about it. If you want to read more about the initiative, just visit their web site.

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