HOW TO EAT FREE WITH KIDS EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK
Just when dining out may be nixed from a tightened family budget, I have some tasty solutions that won’t deprive you of the pleasure of sitting down and having your meal served to you.
Did you know that if you spent an hour on the internet today, you could uncover a week’s worth of free meals at community restaurants for your kids? Do a Google search for “family restaurants” and “kids meals” in your area. Then, go to their website and find the dates they offer their “Kids Eat Free” night. Many restaurants offer free kids meals one and sometimes several nights a week.
Every restaurant purposely develops experiences for their target customers, and family restaurants do everything they can to attract more families. That goes for everything from putting items on a menu that are most loved by moms, dads and kids, décor that engenders a family atmosphere and activities for the kids that allow Mom and Dad to have a few moments to share over a meal. “Kids Eat Free” promotions help restaurants create loyal consumers and for you, it’s one night you don’t have to mess up the kitchen.
These free meals are not just macaroni and cheese, mind you. I got my reputation as the “Family Value Chef” because I have a knack for finding the highest quality foods at the best price, and pairing them into multi-course meals that don’t break the budget. I carefully balance proteins, fats and carbs so that the optimal nutrients can be had in one sitting. This takes quite a bit of ingenuity, food training and trial and error, but because restaurants buy in bulk, we often get provisions for much less than what you can buy in a grocery store. So, oddly enough, eating out can be cheaper and more nutritious than making food at home. For a restaurant, the benefit of having a customer in the dining room offsets what a free kids meal costs. It’s a fair trade, right?
Most restaurants offer free kids meals for every one paying adult. There are a few websites that will either list restaurants where you can find these free meals or where you can download coupons for great discounts. The ones I like are: Valpak, Restaurant, and Money Saving Expert. If you have a Coco’s or Carrows in your area, we offer free kids meals on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Wednesdays and Thursdays after 4 p.m., respectively. So, load up your calendar and get ready for many stress free evenings ahead.
To Your Family Health,
Heather Gardea, known as the ‘Family Value Chef,’ is the Culinary Institute-trained Executive Chef for Coco’s and Carrows Restaurants. She lives in sunny Laguna Beach and is a passionate advocate of farm fresh foods, seasonal selections and “real food” choices over packaged options. These days, cooking for a family isn’t so much about kitchen prowess, but an orchestration of good planning and understanding what kinds of foods nourish and sustain the body and spirit. Chef Gardea brings her nourishing approach to the menus of more than 180 restaurants and now her family meal planning skinny will be available to Hot Mom Club members on a regular basis.