I love cooking for my children and try to do it as often as possible despite my buys schedule. However, it’s not always possible to offer my kids a home cooked meal. There are days that both my husband and I work late, and we also go on several vacations or road trips each year, particularly in the summer when the kids don’t have school.
If that happens, we sometimes resort to fast food – luckily I’ve discovered some free meal nights for kids at various restaurants that can be found all around the world:
IHOP – I know what you’re thinking – it’s a potential disaster bringing young kids into an IHOP and hoping they’ll eat healthy. Let’s be honest – about 90% of the breakfast menu is basically just hidden dessert. However, there are a few things you should know about the kids menu at The International House of Pancakes.
Kids eat free every night – from 4 PM – 10 PM you don’t have to pay a penny to have them eat, so it’s a great way to save some money. While they do have a lot of unhealthy items, the portion size isn’t too big. I usually order the Silver 5, which comes with 5 small pancakes, eggs, and a choice of meet (bacon or sausage). While it’s not ideal, I feel pretty good about giving them pancakes if they finish their eggs.
Texas Roadhouse – The Texas Roadhouse Kids & Rangers Meals are a great way to get your kids to eat healthy food that’s still really delicious. The grilled chicken, steak bites, or Andy’s steak are all excellent options that are full of protein without too much grease or fat. They all come with sides which are pretty healthy – a house salad, apple sauce, green beans, mushrooms, sweet potato, or onions are all good choices (my kids love their sweet potato side).
Buffalo Wild Wings – The children’s menu at BWW (Buffalo Wild Wings) is one of my favorites. My kids actually love eating there, so it’s a painless experience for my husband and I. While the wings are delicious and not too unhealthy, my son and daughter both absolutely love the Naked Tenders Kids Meal. Grilled chicken tenders with their choice of sauce (although they usually choose ketchup). This place is a no-brainer if you’re travelling and in a jam.
As you can see from some of the restaurant items listed above, it is possible to find healthy kids meals at a chain restaurant without the help of a psychic, although it definitely helps to have a plan before you walk through the door. Using this strategy, I feel a lot less guilt when travelling with my kids, or when I’m too tired to make them a home cooked meal.