London restaurants urged to offer healthier kids meals

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Restaurant, Food, Fruit

Family Friendly: Restaurants have been urged to do more to offer healthy menu alternatives for kids
Family Friendly: Restaurants have been urged to do more to offer healthy menu alternatives for kids
The Manor Arms pub in Streatham has been voted the best of the capital's eateries for healthy kids meals but other operators in the capital have been urged to do more to improve their children's menus.

The call came from catering network Ethical Eats who this week named the Streatham pub as the winner of a contest to find the best provider of kids meals in London.

The competition, which ran from mid-October to mid-November last year, saw nearly 30 restaurants in the capital shortlisted by a panel of judges before the top ten were voted on by members of the public.

Fall behind

With a menu featuring lots of fruit and vegetables, seasonal ingredients from local suppliers, less salt and homemade bread, The Manor Arms impressed the panel.

However Ben Reynolds, editor of Jellied Eel, the Ethical Eats magazine, said other operators now needed to follow suit.

"We’ve found some worthy winners, but we still feel London’s restaurants could be doing more to make fruit and veg, and healthier options more prominent on kids menus," said Reynolds. "Chain restaurants are starting to improve labelling under the government’s Responsibility Deal, so our independent eateries shouldn’t fall behind," he added.

The Manor Arms

Mains on the kids menu on offer at The Manor Arms include cheese and tomato toasted pitta and soft-poached egg with 'dippy soldiers'. All the mains cost £6.50 which includes a soft meal and a pudding.

"We’re thrilled to have received this accolade and recognition as offering the best kids meals in the capital," said Richard Coltart, owner of the award-winning Streatham pub.

"We believe that every pub should aim to be a real hub for all those who live and work around it, including children, who are so often overlooked in our industry. I have children myself, so know what’s needed to make eating out a great experience, but we are always trying to be better. 

"Participating in the competition has made us think even harder about what we are offering," he added.

Also recognised in the competition was the Rainforest Café in Piccadilly Circus which was commended for offering a well-communicated menu featuring organic and vegetarian options as well as healthier dessert options such as fruit salad as opposed to ice cream.

Raymond Blanc's chain Brasserie Blanc was also celebrated for a three-part kids menu with different options for babies, under eight-year-olds and those over eight who are encouraged to pick half-adult portions.

Improving kids' menus

Malcolm Clarke from the Children’s Food Campaign gave hospitality operators his top tips for creating healthier kids menus:

  • Include side portions of vegetables as standard.
  • Ensure that fruit-based desserts and natural, no-sugar-added drinks are clearly-labelled options.
  • Minimise the fried products on offer.
  • Put nutritious meals at the heart of your business and think of innovative ideas to make healthier choices fun.

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