You know what’s never as good of a time as you want it to be? Dining out with children. Nope, there is nothing fun about eating out with your kids until they’re all at an age where their behavior doesn’t make you break out in hives (or at the very least, anxiety sweat) when you’re all out together. One mom is going viral on TikTok for ditching the kids’ meal options in lieu of bringing food to a restaurant for her picky toddler—and honestly, it makes so much sense.

“Call me cheap, call me whatever, but if we’re going out to a restaurant, I’m packing my kid a meal,” TikTok user Karlie (@unbreakablemomma) begins. “On Friday nights, my family and I get together, and tonight, we’re getting food out. My son is not getting food out.”

She explains that when she and her family dine out at a restaurant, she packs food from home for her two-year-old son to eat while there. She doesn’t allow him to eat from the kid’s menu, which, as she points out, isn’t exactly affordable all the time. Especially for a young child who isn’t going to eat it anyway.

Related: New Jersey restaurant makes the decision to ban kids under 10 from eating there

“For one, you want me to pay $6.99 for chicken tenders and fries that my son is going to throw half of it on the floor? You’re crazy,” she says.

What she packs him is a good, old-fashioned toddler-proof meal: PB & J, cheese cubes, and a Lara bar. She points out that this is “healthier” than most kids’ meal options.

Arguably, the hardest part for most parents when it comes to family dining is waiting for the meal to be served. Young kids aren’t used to sitting around a table with their family, just waiting for the food. At home, you usually don’t bring the kids to the table until there’s something to eat. So when you’re out in public, there’s the overstimulation of just being out in public in addition to being hungry and restless.

When my daughters were young toddlers (approximately one and two years old), I’d pack puffs, Cheerios, and Goldfish if we were actually risking our sanity and heading out to a restaurant. Any parent knows those kids aren’t waiting around for their chicken tenders to be fried, plated, and cool enough to eat without causing some sort of scene. Which Karlie mentions in her video.


Replying to @Kayla2022 the american girl doll is a paid actress

♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

“When we get to a restaurant, my child is not waiting for anyone to take his order. He wants to eat now. I can just hand him this and let him go to town,” she said.

Related: Going out to eat with kids gets easier—even if it doesn’t seem like it right now

Naturally, comments on her TikTok video range from “This is abuse” to “This makes sense”:

I just bring a snack for the wait but I think going out to eat is special for everyone not just the adults. 🤷🏼‍♀️

I work in a restaurant and we don’t allow outside food! So your lucky you haven’t been told anything yet

as a server you have no idea how many times i picked up a kids plate that wasn’t even touched

I tried doing this once and I felt so much mom guilt. Like I was leaving her out or something 😭

I love this. It can be convenient in many ways. Can’t please everyone. This is good for other parents to hear. Some kids can be extremely picky.

At the end of the day, we gotta do what we gotta do so everyone keeps their cool—parents and kids and restaurant staff alike.