WFMW: Eating out as a family

We get it. Even when we have an empty fridge, the idea of eating out often just feels wrong. We hate that our kids are eating "fast food", and we hate the toll on the budget. Fret no more. We have a couple of options that will work for you when you need to get the family out for dinner.

Chick-fil-A is one of our favorite options for fast food, and the food and price are both guilt-free. Chick-fil-A's chicken is fried in 100% fully refined peanut oil, which is both cholesterol and trans fat free. They also offers grilled sandwiches, wheat buns, and salads as well. Their Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich has only 260 calories and 3 grams of fat.

But the best bonus: Chick-fil-a restaraunts offer a Kids Night where kids eat free. That’s right. Most stores offer a promotion of a free Kids meal (meal option depends on location) with the purchase of an adult meal. With the adult meals ranging from $6.00-$9.00, you can all eat out for a reasonable price. Most Chick-fil-A’s also put on special events and activities during Kids' Nights, making it not only a budget saving dinner, but a fun activity for your whole family. Our own local Chick-fil-A, for example, is putting on a Prince and Princess Night for Kids on Tuesday, September 29, 2009 from 5:00-7:00 pm, with special guest Snow White.

If you are looking for a splurge and want a bit of ambience with your meal, check out PF Chang's. This has always been a favorite of ours, because the food is amazing and the decor always puts a smile on my face. They just launched a new kid's menu, and every item is under $5! We went with our kids recently, and they loved it. I was excited because it felt like we were having a nicer meal without breaking the bank. My kids loved the honey dipping sauce that came with their chicken, and the restaurant seemed bustling enough that I didn't feel awkward when they got a little excited.

What restaurants do you enjoy with the whole family in tow?


  1. We like Panera.. my kids all love their soups for some reason, especially the soup in a bread bowl.

    And Chipotle.. IF you order online first.. otherwise it is TOO STRESSFUL to try to drag 5 kids through the line at breakneck speed trying to figure out who wants what at what hotness etc. Much to our dismay, we are not within 100 miles of a Chipotle at the moment.


  2. We do go to Chick-Fil-a, Panera, Chipotle, Qdoba & a sister restaurant of PF Chang: Pei Wei. Oh, and Five Guys. We load the burgers up with veggies, of course, but still not health food :).

  3. We haven't taken the kids to PF Chang's for a while, as they aren't as prolific in the Midwest. But after reading your review, we'll have to plan a trip.

    Our favorite chain restaurant for healthy eating is Outback. They offer all kinds of healthy sides -- green beans, fresh broccoli, etc. -- and they don't have the typical deep-fried offerings (except for the ubiquitous chicken fingers). And their kids mac-n-cheese is homemade, with a creamy sauce and penne pasta. My husband wishes they had it on the regular menu. He always finishes whatever my daughter doesn't eat.

  4. Another place that is very kid friendly and noisy enough that no one will care if the kids go a little crazy? And the food is great--pizza, salads, sandwiches plus adult beverages? BJ's--we just went the other night with Tanner and Peyton--great place!! (I didn't see the check--I know it's not cheap)


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