Kid’s menus turn children into junk food addicts

All I can say about this latest news is WOW!  

I have been waiting for vindication over my position on this ever since I wrote my first book, Feed Your Kids Well, back in 1998 

I was even ridiculed on national television for even making this suggestion 

And now, after all these years, it looks like the rest of the world may finally be coming around to my way of thinking. 

Because the truth is, we DON’T need a “kid’s menu.”  

Why? All it does is turn our children into junk food addicts.  

Let me explain… 

The truth behind the “kid’s menu”      

The hospitality industry created children’s menus during prohibition, to make up for the loss of revenue from alcohol sales. (Extra emphasis on the word “created.”)   

And today, our country continues to operate under the false impression that children need different types of foods than adults.  

Food manufacturers create food to grab children’s attention—the same way restaurants do with their not-so-fancy “kid’s menu”.  

The result? Heavily processed foods that are high in calories and packed with unhealthy fats, salt, and sugar.  

But here’s what those organizations aren’t telling you: If you learn to love a food at an early age, you’re going to keep loving it as an adult.  

And so, when you condition children to love these salty, fat-laden, sugary foods… their health will only suffer as an adult. 

So that kid’s menu your grandkids so love and adore? Stop ordering from it.  

In fact, the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) recently published a new position paper stating there’s no difference between healthy food for adults and healthy food for children aged two and older.  

In other words, there’s no reason kids can’t eat the same meals as adults. (Minus the obvious adjustments in portion size.) 

Set a healthier example 

Go ahead and call me cynical. But Big Food’s strategies are the same as Big Tobacco’s—get them hooked young, and you will have a client for life. 

Feeding your grandkids garbage can—and will—impact their palate and preferences. It will make them pickier eaters. What’s worse, it will affect their health in the future. 

I’ve written about the dangers of ultra-processed food here on numerous occasions. They are linked to disastrous metabolic changes among kids and teens, and increased death risk among adults. And let’s be honest: Chicken tenders, hot dogs, and French fries remain so popular because adults love them just as much as kids do.   

That’s one reason why I’ve spent the last 25 years trying to convince the public that anyone, of any age, can eat and enjoy healthy food. They laughed at me before. But maybe now, people will finally start to listen.  

So if you haven’t read my books yet, I encourage you to start now. Because children need to learn to have a healthy relationship with food—and at the end of the day, it’s our job to teach them how.  

I also encourage you to watch my Cooking with Dr. Fred segments together on YouTube and Instagram. In my view, it’s never too early to get your grandchildren in the kitchen alongside you—and learn how to cook healthy meals together! 


“Healthful food for children is the same as for adults.” Science Daily, 01/06/2022. (