In the main, restaurants aren't set up for mums and bubs. Lizzie Catt brings us the disorganised mum’s cheat sheet for eating out...
As if eating out with kids wasn’t enough of a, er, treat, most restaurants’ children’s menus are completely unsuitable for little ones from weaning ‘til three; too large, too expensive, heavy on the choke-hazard shaped foods and always featuring baked beans and or tomato sauce – the toddler doomsday scenario.
While the majority of places will let you bring your own food, forgetting to pack any can put the kibosh on an impromptu meal out, and let’s face it, making a diddy packed lunch as well as mustering all the kit needed to survive a few hours outside the house can mean you won’t get out ‘til after lunch anyway.
Besides, not everyone is a super-organised mega mama who can rustle up a tasty travel lunch in minutes. Here’s how to freestyle it.
1. Adapt and survive
You may have forgotten the bib, the baby food and the little spoon, but don’t let that stop you; everything you need is already in the restaurant. Napkins and teaspoons are perfectly serviceable stand-ins, and you can even ask staff to cut down a straw if you’ve left the sippy cup at home.
2. DIY puree
This will probably have other diners blinking in astonished disgust, but you’re out of the house, who cares? Take one empty water glass. Order something that you think might tickle your little one’s tastebuds and pop a few bits in the glass. Tip in a little water. Cut it into tiny pieces, squash it with your fork and serve with a teaspoon. Ta-dah!
3. Sunday lunch
Don’t miss out on the joys of a roast just because you’re too busy looking after a teeny tiny to faff about with stuffing. Pub roasts are brilliant for sharing with babies – lots of lovely, fluffy vegetables, a smidge of gravy and some chopped up chicken, beef or nut roast on a side plate will go down a treat. Obviously they can be very salty so it’s an occasional treat and go easy on the gravy.
4. Everybody loves chips
As long as you’re keeping an eye on them and they’re already experienced with eating solid food, older weaners love gumming a good chip. Wipe off any excess salt, wait for them to cool down and let them get stuck in.
5. Parli Italiano?
Lots of cheese and carbs with a great line in coffee, – Italian restaurants are the ideal lunch spot for mums and babies. Buon appetito!