Above, watch Alexander Weiss, winner of MasterChef Junior, show how to make a scone. (Video: Better TV)
Thanks to the slow food movement, food activists such as chef Alice Waters and author Michael Pollan, and better taste in general, the way we eat has transformed radically in recent years. But look at the kids’ menu at most restaurants, and the offerings read like something from the 1970s: fish fingers, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, fries. As the mother of a 22-month-old who loves to snack on broccoli (which she fondly calls “broco-lee-lee”), I find myself dismayed by the lack of healthy, pintsize options and usually just share my food with my daughter.
A pintsize Westin cooking class (Photo: Westin Hotels & Resorts)
According to a Westin Hotels & Resorts survey conducted earlier this year, more than half of respondents expressed concern about the limited access to healthy food options while traveling and 41 percent of parents were worried about gaining weight while on the road.
So it comes as welcome news that there’s a healthy movement afoot in the hospitality world. A handful of smart hoteliers are developing thoughtful kids’ menus, so that you can take even the most finicky of eaters on vacation and not feel guilty about what they’re being served.
Cooking with the kids at Westin (Photo: Westin Hotels & Resorts)
"At Westin, our goal is for all of our guests to leave feeling better than when they arrived, including our junior guests," says Brian Povinelli, global brand leader at Westin Hotels & Resorts, which has been trailblazing in the wellness arena as of late. The company paired up with SuperChefs — a coalition of doctors, dentists, dietitians, and chefs — and excised old standards such as french fries and mac and cheese from its menus. Kids road-tested the offerings, and what did they dream up? Build-your-own salmon niçoise salad and fruit crepes and dishes like Thai chicken and apple curry with jasmine rice.
MasterChef Junior winner Alexander Weiss (Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)