Healthy Eating for Kids is on the Menu at the Absolute Hotel & Spa

Healthy Eating for Kids is on the Menu at the Absolute Hotel & Spa

07 November 2011

Every now and again, an idea comes along which seems so obvious you wonder why it hasn't been done before. The Absolute Hotel & Spa, Limerick is pleased to announce it has just introduced one such idea - ‘Kids Size Me' is a joint initiative from the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) and the Nutrition and Health Foundation (NHF) which takes a fresh approach to eating out with children and may mean the end of the kids menu as we know it.

At the Absolute, the chicken nuggets and chips combination, so beloved of Irish children, has become a thing of the past in an attempt to tackle childhood obesity.  The idea behind ‘Kids Size Me' is to offer younger diners at the Absolute half-sized portions of meals from the regular adult menu at reduced prices as an alternative to the usual suspects found lurking on kids menus throughout the country - nuggets and chips, mini burgers and chips, pizza and, you guessed it, chips!

‘Kids Size Me' aims to ensure children have access to healthier food options when dining out by making child size portions of adult meals available as an alternative to ordering from the standard children's menu.  With the introduction of the ‘Kids Size Me' concept to the Absolute, children will be able to enjoy a healthy and interesting ‘grown up' meal while mum and dad enjoy also theirs.

Speaking about the introduction of ‘Kids Size Me' to the Absolute, the hotel's General Manager, Donnacha Hurley said:  "It's definitely a step in the right direction, helping to raise awareness of the importance of healthy eating.  For some children (and parents), swapping nuggets and chips for steamed fish and vegetables may be a step too far and, let's face it, we all want the occasional night off from the tea-time battles over broccoli and peas.  With this in mind, rather than replacing our standard kids' menu completely, ‘Kids Size Me' will be an additional choice on our menu."

He added "So, while we may not be mourning the tragic demise of fish fingers just yet, for many parents who visit us, ‘Kids Size Me' offers a real opportunity to encourage their children to enjoy healthy, grown-up food in a grown-up environment."

A recent survey by the Nutrition and Health Foundation (NHF) of 500 parents found 52% of children eat out once a month and 98% of parents want their children to have child-sized portions of adult meals.  It also found that 73% of children chose their own meals, so it's important that the new offering appeal to them. 

Portion size affects energy intake in children from as young as 5 years of age.  The balance between energy in and energy out is just as important for children as for adults, and children simply should not be consuming adult portions at meal times. Given Ireland has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world at 10% of children aged 5-12 years, it is essential to ensure children have access to healthier food options in the appropriate serving size and that this is actively promoted in the Absolute Hotel.

‘Kids Size Me' at the Absolute is designed to enhance the range and portion size of nutritious meals available to families by making child size portions of adult meals available as an alternative to the standard children's menu.  Donnacha added "As well as meeting demand from parents for healthier food, greater choice and sensible pricing for children's meals, we see the provision of child-size portions of adult meals is as an important step forward in tackling Ireland's childhood obesity levels which are among the highest in the world."

Head Chef at the Absolute, Mark Wixted said "At the Absolute, the introduction of ‘Kids Size Me' means children's options are much healthier - we strive to use fresh fish, meats and ingredients at all times rather than processed; as well as using colourful fruit and vegetables to encourage their consumption.  We're offering alternatives such as salads and mashed potatoes which are available on our adult menu.  It's all about a particular mind set and changing attitudes."

The Absolute Hotel & Spa is ideally located at Sir Harry's Mall, just minutes' walk from Limerick City Centre.  Food is served daily from 12.30pm to late at the hotel's Riverbank Restaurant and Bar; with Sunday Lunch available from 1-3pm.  Contact the hotel on (061) 463600 for reservations.