'Grown-up' menu a hit with older children
"I think this is a great idea. What annoys me most about the whole nuggets and chips option is that there is rarely any veg included so that makes it even more unhealthy.
"The last place we ate out with the kids was Joels which does a good choice for kids including half portions of the roast of the day. They only had one kids veggie option which isn't much, but loads of places have none. I asked the kids what they thought. Ciaran (almost 11) reckons it's a good idea. He feels the other meals are too babyish for him anyway.
"Grainne (eight) reckons nuggets and chips are okay in a fast-food restaurant but that a proper restaurant should have proper food! Poor Doireann (six) looked confused when we asked what she would eat if nuggets and chips weren't on the menu. 'Well then I'd have to have sausages,'" she announced.
Claire Rudd, Newbridge, Co Kildare
"I'm fed up of going to restaurants and my children being handed a menu that consists of sausages and chips, nuggets and chips or pizza and chips. Some may even extend to a bowl of pasta with a red sauce, but still -- if I wanted them to have fast food, I'd take them to McDonalds!
"I'd love to see a situation where the children could automatically choose from an adult menu. I have four children aged eight to 14 and although they love a wide variety of food, they know that when we go to eat out, they'll probably just have nuggets and chips.
"I asked them about it and the older three were all unanimous in saying that they'd love to be handed the same menu as the adults, even if it meant smaller portions.
"Enya (nine) said she'd love to have the choice of something more tasty but maybe sometimes she'd still order her nuggets and chips. Roisin (13) said she'd love to have the choice of something like an omelette or vegetarian lasagne, with side order of vegetables like adults have. Eoin (14) was in no doubt that he'd prefer to choose off the adult menu.
"Some might say that at 13 and 14 they should be choosing off the adult's menu anyway, but we'd never go out to eat as a family if we had to pay for four adult portions and two children's. Most restaurants will accept them as children and let them choose the cheaper options.
"As for Conor (eight), however, he was initially excited that he could choose off an adult's menu. I asked him what sort of things he'd choose and he said, 'would I be able to get a half portion of nuggets and chips?' I suppose you can't win them all!"
Maria Duffy, Lucan, Co Dublin
Health & Living