For incentive trips, conferences and other corporate events that include family members, it's important for event planners to give careful consideration to children's menus. Simply serving the same gourmet dishes that the adults are eating will result in waste if they are not pleasing to a child's palette. The key is to opt for child sized portions and a menu that is familiar, fun, and kid-friendly.
- Select an accessible venue with restroom facilities nearby.
- Stick with old favourites. That's one way to guarantee that there won't be a lot of left-overs. This does not mean that event planners can't offer a few new dishes.
- For formal events, amp up the presentation but keep the menu selections kid-friendly.
- Ensure that the menu is balanced, incorporating fresh fruit and vegetables served in a creative way.
- Keep the dishes fun and interactive.
- Serve juice rather than soda pop. Add club soda if this will make the drinks more appealing to the children in your group.
- If dinner is going to be late, be sure to either provide a snack for the children or give parents the option of an earlier dining time for children about an hour before the formal dinner begins.
- If there are a lot of children under 12, it might be fun to seat them together and provide special decor and entertainment.
- Keep extra linen close at hand for quick changes in case of spills.
- Design the children's menu in a format that is fun and select names for dishes that are appealing. (The name of a dish can create interest or turn children off.)
Here are some menu selections that are guaranteed to please most children.
- Fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
- Orange segments and apple wedges.
- Fruit Smoothies in Milkshake Glasses.
- Hot Chocolate
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Pizza (When he was younger, my son used to say that it's impossible to have pizza too often.)
- Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers (Let the children select their own toppings)
- Hot Dogs
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Grilled Cheese.
- Chicken or Fish Fingers
- Fish and Chips
- Sloppy Joes
- Tuna Melt
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Jamaican Beef Patties (mild not spicy)
- French Fries (Baked rather than fried for a healthy options)
- Dessert: Chocolate Pudding, Fruit Pies, Ice Cream, Banana Splits
- Beverages: Milkshakes, Lemonade, Lime Squash, Ice cream floats with low sodium soda water rather than pop.
- Mini-Meat Pies
- Chicken or Fish Nuggets
- Pigs in a Blanket
- Sausage Rolls
- Jamaican Cocktail Patties
- California or Cucumber Rolls (Sushi)
- Thin Crust Pizza
- Spaghetti and Meat Balls
- Chicken a la King
- Roast or BBQ Chicken
- Shepherd's Pie
- Chicken Bake
- Turkey with stuffing
- Mashed Potatoes
- Chocolate or Strawberry Parfaits
- Assorted Fruit Tarts
- Gourmet S'mores
- Chocolate Pudding or Mousse Served in Parfait Dishes
- Ice Cream Sundaes (Provide a variety of toppings and let the children decorate them.)
- Molten Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Cake
- Strawberry Shortcake
- Ice Cream Floats in Cocktail Glasses
- Shirley Temple or Other Mocktails
- Cranberry Juice and Low Sodium Soda Water
- Sparkling Punch - Orange Juice, Pink Lemonade, Low Sodium Soda Water