Foodie Friday: Eating out with twins

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Categories Feeding, Feeding Older Children, Foodie Fridays, Preschoolers, ToddlersTags

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The topic  of this week’s Foodie Friday post is eating out with your twin babies or toddlers. I feel a bit disinguenuous writing this, since my response to “How do you eat out with your 15 month old twins?” is “I don’t”. However, that is a post for another day. Just because I’m too tired intimidated to do it, doesn’t mean you should be! I asked the moms at HDYDI and many of them both eat out with their twin kiddos and had many great tips on how to do this successfully.

Prep your table
Your kids are, well, kids. Don’t provide them with temptations they won’t be able to handle. Clear the table of salt and pepper shakers or they may go nuts shaking salt and pepper everywhere….and then nuts again when you take them away.

Bring supplies
Make sure to remember kid sized spoons and forks, if your kids still need these to eat. Bring wipes. Lots of wipes. They are good both for entertainment pre-meal (cleaning the table is fun!) and a good clean-up post meal. Bring sippy cups as well. Do you know how much of a mess toddlers can make with cups and straws? Believe us, when we say you don’t want to find out mid-meal. It’s impressive.

Time it right
Go early. It’s less busy, and your kids will probably be less tired. Know how long you have in a restaurant. One HDYDI mom of two year olds says that they have an hour. Another mom of 14 month olds says it’s more like 45 minutes for her kids. Plan accordingly. Ask for the check early. Can you call in your order before you get there? Even better! This works especially well for pizza, if you tell them not to keep it in the warmer. That way, it’s not too hot to be eaten when it arrives at your table. Be ready to make a quick exit if necessary. Do you have a second adult with you? You can leave him/her to pay the check and box up food while you and the kiddos make a run for it.

Choose your own meal wisely
As a smart HDYDI mom pointed out, it’s important to keep your hands clean and available and get food that can be eaten quickly. A huge, messy, delicious club sandwich—not a good choice. A neat, easily eaten chopped salad? Perfect!

Be relaxed
Don’t fight over the kids eating their veggies when you’re out. If they eat chips for dinner, so be it. Can you eat outside so that your kids can run around while they wait for food to arrive? Great! Wait until another day to teach about sitting still and waiting. That’s hard stuff to learn!

Get excited
Talk up the adventure to your little ones. Get them excited about it! If they know it’s a treat, they may be better behaved. Order two kids meals so that they can have a selection of yummy foods. Or order treats like chocolate milk that they don’t get at home. Another option is to bring along special toys to keep them busy.

Snack before hand?
The HDYDI moms were torn as to whether this was the right answer or not. One mom said that she alwayspicks places that have food on the table when you get there (Bertucci’s has rolls and most Mexican places have chips and salsa). If they go to a place without immediate snacks, she brings her own, usually treats that are not usually offered at home. Another HDYDI mom says they do no food before hand, and get all the meals at the same time, so that the kids do eat something and are busy eating so that the adults can eat too. Try out a couple different methods and see what works best for your kids, at their age.

Tip big
Let’s be honest. No matter how much you try to clean up after your messy lovely kiddos, you are probably not the server’s easiest or neatest customers of the night. Tip big! One HDYDI mom aims for 25% and feels that this might make up for the minor (or major) chaos that can accompany their meal out.

Choose a different type of place
And here is advice after my own heart! One HDYDI mom says that they go out to delis and bagel shops where you can order and pay at the counter. All the better for a quick escape. And, I have to say that while I have avoided dinner outs, except as an adults-only adventure, we have taken the kids out to a local breakfast place. Big, friendly, full of kids—somehow it seesm easier to do breakfast than dinner. They’re more cheerful, we have more energy and no one is trying to have a nice, romantic breakfast out. I don’t think. Is there a local place with a toddler play area? Even better! You can eat while they play.

Check out what the moms of HDYDI say about eating out, in their own words. Krissy wrote about it here. Goddess in Progress wrote a review of local lunch places, from the point of view of eating there with 11 month olds. Check that post out here. Other recommendations for kid friendly places, straight from your favorite moms here at HDYDI—Red Robin, Bertucci’sor a Mexican place like our local Border Cafe. Some of these are local places, but if you have one around, check it out!

Do you have tricks up your sleeve for eating out successfully? What do you do? Share your ideas with the rest of us!

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5 thoughts on “Foodie Friday: Eating out with twins”

  1. I am so jealous, I totally miss Borders from my college days.

    These are great suggestions! We avoided restaurants from about 8 months (when they were no longer in carrier car seats) until about 18 months (when they became a bit better at eating lots of things and interested in looking around). Now it’s (mostly) easier.

    One thing I think is that eating out is not a solution to a bad day. If the kids are super fussy, eating out is not going to turn them around. Order a pizza and call it a night.

    I like to bring books so we can read while we wait. We also do bring known favorite foods (bagels, yogurt) so if they really won’t eat the restaurant food, we have definites that we can feed them while we eat.

    We always bring disposable bibs and table toppers so that our mess is better contained. And we get the kiddos involved in choosing what they want to eat and telling the waiter/waitress so they feel excited about their food.

    Sometimes at the end of the meal we do wonder, was it worth it? but often, the grown ups need a change of scene for the sake of sanity.

  2. GREAT POST! We have this cool website in Houston
    this site has everything and anything you’ll need for kidos in houston. Fun places to play, places where kids eat free and the days they can eat free, etc. I think more cities should have a website like this. All my MOM friends use this website to find new places. Also, everyone that finds a new fun and or free place emails the owner/webmaster to add that to her list.

    I also wanted to add that i think the more you take your kids out the earlier they’ll learn how to behave in a restaurant(but only after a year or so). We go out once a week and only miss if someone is sick or having a bad day.

    I’ve also learned this is the same with taking your children out by yourself to playgroups, etc. I was soo scared forever and after i finally got out with them i found it wasn’t as scary and bad as i thought. Granted some days i get in the car after play group and have to take a deep breath, but i truly feel day by day it gets easier to take them out.

  3. Buffets! They’re the only way to go in our book. Totally fast food, and lots of choice. We take our 2 year olds to our favorite Indian buffet and it works every time!

  4. I can’t imagine not eating out. We have gone out to eat every week since the babies were 3 months old. I think that is why they do so well. We usually go in the evening right after the babies have eaten their baby food for the night (around 5:30 or 6) When we do get to the restaurant we play until our food arrives then give them a bottle while we are eating. They are still in their infant carriers so that helps alot. We have gone out for lunch and just fed them their food (in high chairs) while we wait for ours and it works out very well.

  5. Thanks for the great tips! My husband and I love eating out, but are both a little too tired and intimidated to do it much.

    I have a gross “Ask the Moms” / “Foodie” question, which may have been covered before, or may be TMI. I’ve just started my 6-month old girls on solid foods. We started with cereal, and added pureed apples and now sweet potatos. It’s going pretty well except that one twin, Belle, who seems to eat, swallow and enjoy food has had some wicked constipation issues. Izzy, who hasn’t mastered swallowing, isn’t having a problem.

    Belle is cranky and sleeping badly, as therefore are the rest of us too. She went from sleeping 9+ blessed hours a night to waking 2 or three times. As of last night I think she’s working through the whole digesting solid foods challenge, but it hasn’t been easy. And soon I guess I’ll go through it again with her sister.

    Anyone else have this problem? Heard of it? Am I imagining there’s an explanation for cranky, poor sleeping babes?

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