Restaurants – obesity and poor nutrition

Has it ever occurred to you that cafes, restaurants and fast food outlets may have a role in contributing to obesity and poor nutrition in children? Most places I take my daughter to eat unfortunately consist of a menu featuring the same generic choices; deep fried fish and chips, nuggets and chips, schnitzel and chips, deep fried calamari and chips, and on occasion, spaghetti bolognese (the closest thing resembling healthy).

It is for this reason alone that I order an adult meal (such as grilled fish and salad) for my child so at least when eating out she can eat something healthy.

But what about something for the vegetarians? The gluten intolerant?

I once went to an RSL in Brisbane and ordered the deep fried fish and chips from the children’s menu, asking for the fish to be grilled instead. I was told they don’t do that (the fish arrives frozen and pre-battered), so I was forced to order an adult’s meal for twice the cost.

The media places an emphasis on the reasons behind bad nutrition for children, citing the school canteens, poor education on behalf of the parents, fast food outlets (the toy with McDonalds Happy Meals – A US state has banned the sale of toys with kids meals if those meals are over 800 calories), and TV advertising (fruit loops during morning TV). I think they have overlooked an important factor – the cafes/restaurants perpetuates the cycle by offering a nice menu for adults but an unhealthy and unvaried short menu for children.

Since I have started taking notice, 3 out of 4 restaurants feature a kids menu that I would call “junk”, or “crap”.  Those that do offer a wider variety of healthier more nutritious meals should be applauded.

Some of these restaurant owners have children of their own. I wonder what they get fed when they eat at home or go out to a restaurant.

Food for thought…

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