Eating in restaurants can be a balancing act between taking care of a baby or toddler and giving parents a break. It helps to stick with your child’s eating schedule, as much as possible, or feed him beforehand. When the weather is mild, eating at open-air cafés can be easy for your child to move around. If there are several adults, everyone can take turns holding your baby or walking around with your toddler.
For eating in a restaurant, you can take food you have prepared, or you can order at the restaurant, and use a food mill to puree food, or use food scissors for cutting food. Sharing bites of food from your own plate is an option for toddlers who are eating adult food. Most restaurant food has more salt and seasoning than home-cooked food, or it may contain hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, or MSG. Some restaurants offer steamed vegetables for the weight-watcher’s diet that are lightly steamed without salt, which you can puree in a food mill. In many restaurants you can order fresh fruit, toast, plain noodles, brown or white rice, or oatmeal without seasoning.
Here are some other tips:
- Look for restaurants that are family-friendly and welcome children.
- Make reservations ahead if the restaurant is a busy place so that you will not have to wait to be seated.
- Call ahead to confirm that a high chair or booster seat is available.
- Plan to go at a time that your baby will not be tired or grumpy.
- Take food, spoon, bowl, bib, bottle or sippy cup, snacks, and toys.
- Take your baby’s car seat carrier inside the restaurant so that he can sleep.
- Make sure the table has adequate room for everyone.
- Remove condiments from the table to keep your child from grabbing them.
- Use a disposable or reusable place mat for protection.
- Be mindful of other eaters in the restaurant so that he is not disruptive to their meal.
- Keep your child out of the way of waitstaff to avoid accidents.
- Clean up any mess or food thrown on the floor before leaving.