When on vacation, 63% of Americans like to eat out, trying new and interesting food. If you are dining out with little ones though, it can sometimes be a challenge. You may have to speak to the restaurant in advance if they have food intolerances or allergies (or are a little fussy about food choices). You may want to also consider how you are going to keep your children busy if you have to sit down for more than an hour or so – particularly with toddlers who are not keen on being contained. With a little preparation, you can have a lovely meal on your vacation that is memorable for all the right reasons.
Talking about food allergies
It is estimated that roughly 20% of the population have a food intolerance or allergy, some of which can be extremely serious. If you or your children have known issues with certain ingredients, then it is worth checking with the restaurant when booking. If you are in a country where they speak a different language, using a translation app can help you to fully understand the ingredients that are included in a dish. You should also ask where the food is prepared, especially if there is a more serious allergy, like peanuts. Make sure that you take an epi-pen with you on vacation if necessary, as you don’t want to rely on finding a local pharmacy when you are on vacation.
Ordering your meal
Children have less patience than grown ups and are also prone to being grumpy when they are hungry. When you arrive at a restaurant, it is always worth asking for some breadsticks while you look at the menus. If you want to order entrees, ask your server if they could bring the children’s main courses at the same time. Most restaurants are happy to accommodate this request, as they like to keep the younger diners happy, especially in Mediterranean countries, where badly-behaved guests are very much frowned upon.
Entertainment at the table
No one likes to see children at the dining table being babysat by iPads and cellphones. However, sometimes young children need a little entertainment if they have to sit still for a long time. Take a couple of pens and a pad of paper with you when you are dining out. Children will enjoy drawing simple pictures or playing a game of Tic-Tac-Toe with you – it will help focus their attention, so that they are not resorting to poor behavior. Make sure that you put your own phone down too – lead by example.
Dining out with young children when you are on vacation helps them get used to this common social situation. With a little preparation, you can have a calm and enjoyable meal – then you can really appreciate eating some tasty food and spending time with your family.