The “Kid’s Menu” Items from the past that would never fly today

Around 100 years ago, the concept of specific diet for children emerged. Malnutrition, poor food storage, and poverty were gradually found to be harmful to children’s health. The children’s menu evolved over decades and has undoubtedly changed through time. The initial meals, which bore little resemblance to modern children’s menus, would almost certainly be denied by most youngsters today.

At the time, children’s nutrition was regarded to be different from that of adults, with bland dishes serving as an antidote to pampering them with tasty delights. These recipes were supposed to stick to the ribs and frequently lacked flavor as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Prohibition aided in the establishment of the children’s menu in many restaurants, as companies sought to compensate for the money lost when they could no longer offer alcohol.

Before Prohibition, many pubs and taverns that provided food would not even allow women or children to enter!Hotels and restaurants saw a potential for expansion and began to provide children’s menus, and parents grew accustomed to the lower prices of the tiny meals. Marshall Fields in 1916 and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1921 were two early pioneers, each presenting carefully selected menu items for youngsters.

Masks, coloring sheets, and animal-themed products kept children entertained, and a new menu genre became ingrained in American culture. Most eateries seemed to have some form of gimmick or game to improve their attraction to children. From characters to crayons to puzzles, even established dining establishments began offering kid-friendly menus and souvenirs.

The popularity of chicken nuggets, tater tots, hot dogs, french fries, and fish sticks as children’s foods could only have occurred when the massive popularity of diner and fast food franchises swept the country. Previously, children ordering at a restaurant were more likely to receive creamed chicken on toast rather than chicken fingers!

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