'Kid-friendly' and 'healthy' go hand-in-hand


Published: Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 1:22 a.m.
The Holy Grail of fast food - at least for my family - is the drive-through PB&J.
I haven't found it yet, but I hope someday it will come to Gainesville. In our house, no other snack quite matches the appeal of the classic peanut butter and jelly.
But when errands drag on and hungry kids threaten to torpedo the mission, we have to find an alternative, and fast.
And in our search for a healthy but speedy alternative to greasy fried stuff, we've discovered some interesting options.
Here are a few of the notable kid-friendly foods we've found. If you've found more, feel free to email with your favorites.
  • Roly Poly's kid-size rolls are just $1; the combo, which includes a drink and a choice of sides (we like the Baked Lays) is just $2.25. Naturally, we go for the PB&J roll (white or wheat), but other choices include the chicken melt or grilled cheese.
  • Fruit and yogurt parfaits are the fast-food chain's attempt at a healthy snack, and they're pretty good: McDonald's Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait has blueberries, strawberries and granola, while Wendy's offers yogurt with granola on its value menu.
  • Check out the revamped kids' menus at casual dining restaurants such as Benningan's, which now offers steamed broccoli, fresh green beans and roasted vegetables as sides to their main dishes.
  • Crispers, (3102 SW 34th St., near the intersection of Archer Road) has some creative menu items for kids, from baked potatoes and soup to the vaunted PB&J, with side dishes that include fresh fruit and veggies.
  • Kids eat free on Tuesday nights at several local restaurants. These family-friendly nights often include entertainment, from clowns and magicians to contests.
    At Gator's Dockside (3842 Newberry Rd.), kids under 12 eat free with paying adults on Tuesday night from 6-8 p.m. The last Tuesday of the month is Super Tuesday, with a prize giveaway.
    Tuesday are also free for kids at Beef O'Brady's (4-8 p.m.) and Bennigan's (4-9 p.m.). At Texas Roadhouse, Andy the Armadillo visits on Tuesdays from 6-8 p.m., and kids eat for 99 cents. (Don't miss the peanut-stomping and mashed-potato eating contests.) At the Newberry Road location of Moe's, kids don't eat free, but they can enjoy a magic show for free.
  • Smoothie shops, which abound in Gainesville, provide a quick, healthy snack and a good way to sneak in fruit.
    Froots, in Butler Plaza, even offers Smucker's Uncrustables sandwiches.
    And, by all means, if you know of a drive-through PB&J in this town, send me an e-mail.
    Reach Alisson Clark at kidfriendly@gvillesun.com
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