By Linda Cameron

Poring through a menu when dining out with children can be more complex than whipping up a homemade meal. Although more Minnesota restaurants are featuring children’s menus, too often the pickings go overboard on starch, sugar, salt and saturated fats. You wouldn’t want your child to develop health problems because of a kids menu. So we’ve put together a few menu picks that are as tasty as they are nutritious.

1583 1st Ave. E.
Shakopee, MN 55379
(952) 445-2245

For $7.99, this kids menu has some pleasing eats: cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, walleye fingers, mac-n-cheese, and linguini with butter, alfredo or marinara sauce. These servings come with a fruit cup or French fries, and dessert and beverage. An extra fruit cup would be a nutritious substitute for a sweet dessert. Or for $2.99, you can treat your child to a crisp house salad for a well-rounded meal.

Current Restaurant                                         
3291 St. Croix Trail S.
Afton, MN 55001
(651) 436-8883

Located inside the historic Afton House Inn, Current Restaurant has a kids breakfast menu for $4.95. On the menu are short stack pancakes, scrambled eggs with hash browns or other sides, vanilla French toast and mac-n-cheese. At no extra charge, kids can supplement a substantial breakfast with fresh fruit or yogurt. On Sunday, children get a free meal if accompanied by a paying adult.

Pannekoeken Huis      
4995 Excelsior Blvd.
St Louis Park, MN 55416
(952) 920-2120

A Twin Cities exurban hotspot for powerhouse breakfast pancakes, Pannekoeken Huis also serves lunch and dinner. Every menu item is made from a traditional Dutch recipe. For breakfast, kids can fill up on waffles and bacon, French toast with bacon, petite cheese omelet, a kid-sized pannekoek (panneket), egg with pancakes, a panneket sandwich, or a signature stack of power pancakes. A brunch or breakfast like this can make any kid’s or adult’s day. But that’s not all. For lunch or dinner, kids can munch on whole grain granola and fruit yogurt parfait. Children with bigger appetites can choose beloved comfort foods, namely pronto puppies, grilled cheese sandwich, burgers, junior fish filet or chicken strips. Non-breakfast meals come with fries or a fruit cup. In addition to its expansive menu, the restaurant has a children’s play area.

Related: Best Omelets In Minnesota

Hell’s Kitchen      
80 S. 9th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(612) 332-4700

Varied and rich, the kids weekend brunch menu is packed with kid comfort foods. Egg and toast or fresh strawberries are $3.95; bacon $1.50 per slice. A cornmeal pancake with berries costs $4.95 and the $5.95 lemon ricotta hotcake is irresistible. Mac-n-cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and burgers round out the kids’ menu. Burgers and sandwiches come with fries, kettle chips or tater tots. No wonder families come to Hell’s Kitchen on weekends. Its menus and free live music make brunch a heavenly morning to midday meal.

Pagoda Dinkytown   
1417 4th St. S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 378-4710

This funky restaurant in Dinkytown’s commercial district has some of the best Pan Asian dishes. Constantly reinventing itself, Pagoda Dinkytown has daily All You Can Eat specials. Children 5-12 years of age receive a 50 percent discount on meal specials. Youngsters up to age 4 eat for free. The lunch specials ($6.95) and dinner specials ($7.95) are an extensive selection of chow mein, vegan, beef, chicken and shrimp entrees. All specials include rice, egg roll, cream cheese puff or soup. These extras can be substituted with fried rice or lo mein noodles. Dining like royalty for rock-bottom prices is a kid’s dream come true for adults.

Related: Best Eats With Kids In The Twin Cities