Drink water! Your kids really don’t need a glass of soda. They end up drinking more than they eat the food. Soda is either filled with high fructose corn syrup, or Aspartame. Kids don’t need either of those!
Go in with a plan– Most restaurants have an online menu. Decide before you go what choices you will give your kids. It may not always be the “Kids Meal”, could be an appetizer that is a better option. One resource I found is,Healthy Dining Finder,
Substitute– I learned this lesson too late in life. Most restaurants that serve sandwiches or burgers will have whole wheat buns, even if it’s not listed on the menu! Ask for a whole wheat bun. That small difference will add a little extra nutrition to your child’s meal. Alliance for a Healthier Generation has a pdf with some substitution ideas.
Let your kids share a meal. Certainly each child does not need their own kids meal. Generally, kids don’t finish their meal in a restaurant anyway, so why waste money on their uneaten food?
Look for any fruits and veggies on the menu. It’s easy to eat meat and bread at a restaurant, but then everyone ends up feeling stuffed and crabby. Do they have small side salads? Side of veggies? Apple bites? Applesauce? Cup of peaches?
Leave the fatty condiments off. Ketchup without the mayo doesn’t taste THAT different, does it?
Do they have soup? The sooner your kids can fall in love with this food, the more options will open up to you in choosing healthier fare.