A Top Tip for Eating out with a Toddler
… or tales from a vegetarian restaurant!
True story. Last Saturday I was in a vegetarian cafe having lunch, sitting at a long table shared with other customers. On either side I had a set of parents, each with a toddler about 15 months old.
Toddler #1 – let’s call him Billy – was in the pushchair and having food squeezed into his mouth from a pouch. Easy peasy cheesy pasta with lots of veg, it said. Occasionally one of his parents offered him a forkful of their own food but he refused and gestured for the pouch instead.
Toddler #2 – let’s call him Bobby – was in a highchair next to his parents and had a side plate in front of him, filled with all sorts of random bits and bobs from their plates: vegetarian bake, cucumber, bulgur wheat, tomato, bread, broccoli salad. He was feeding himself with his hands.
Now which toddler do you think is the contender for Future Fussy Eater You Can’t Take To A Restaurant, Billy or Bobby?! Place your bets now!
When you’re eating out with your toddler, the very best approach is to have them up at your level, ask for an extra plate, put different bits of your own food on it and let them help themselves.
If there are two of you, they may end up with some very odd combos – roast potato next to a slice of tomato next to a piece of scampi next to cauliflower cheese?! – but they won’t mind. It gives them a wide variety of tastes and textures to explore and and keeps their palate wide open. It also means that they are ‘joining in’, learning to eat the same food as you, alongside you.
And not that they are a separate species that require separate food!