Kid-Approved Tips for Eating in Italy

When you travel to southern Italy with kids you might have a hard time staying on scheduled meal times. There is little to be found after 3:00 and restaurants rarely open before 7:30 or 8:00 for dinner. Still, you and your kids can enjoy that famous southern Italian cuisine, all it takes is a little preparation and know-how.

Here are three kid-friendly tips to help you keep your kids eating in southern Italy.

1. Pack your Snacks
and by that … I also mean breakfast. As I’ve discussed, the typical southern Italian breakfast is usually sweet, so if you don’t like your kids filling up on cream-filled pastries for breakfast, then stop by a supermarket and buy healthy alternatives, such as cereal, fruit or less-sugary breakfast cookies.

Depending on what your daily itinerary looks like, you should probably pack snacks for when you are out and about. Remember, all restaurants don’t open for lunch in southern Italy and those that do are likely to close early, especially if no one is around.

2. Just Ask
People eat late in Calabria … even the kids and it isn’t strange to see children eating out at 10:00 at night. However, if your kids aren’t used to that, you’ll probably want to go on the early end and arrive at your restaurant around 8:00 PM. Remember, everything is slower in Italy (except the driving, but that’s a post for another day), so just tell your server your kids would prefer to eat quickly. He’ll usually oblige and bring something out immediately for your little ones to snack on while you can still enjoy that slow food experience that has made Italy famous.

3. If it Ain’t Broke
My nephew loved the food in southern Italy and adjusted quickly to these new eating habits. Still, he had his favorites. He quickly fell in love with calzones, margherita pizza and ahem, Cici’s pasta, so we kept him happy by alternating our seafood meals-which he wasn’t crazy about-with some of his favorites. If your kids get hooked on some of southern Italy’s specialties, then take advantage of that and let them fill up when they can.

Have you eaten out in southern Italy with kids? What other tips do you have?

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