She Makes Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches for Her Kid’s Dinner in a Restaurant. Is She Cheap?

Karlie Smith, a 21-year-old mother from Ohio, found herself at the center of a social media storm after sharing her approach to dining out with her two-year-old son on TikTok. 

Home-Cooked to Go!

In a video that quickly went viral with over 573k views, Smith, who goes by the handle @unbreakablemomma, explained why she packs a meal for her child when visiting restaurants.

Smith began the TikTok by addressing potential criticism, stating, “Call me cheap, call me whatever, but if we’re going out to a restaurant, I’m packing my kid a meal.”

She expressed her reluctance to pay exorbitant prices for a meal that her son might only consume partially or end up throwing on the floor. 

She also argued that, “whatever I pack is probably going to be healthier than the restaurant has anyways.”

Neatly Arranged in a Container

Displaying the contents of her toddler’s packed meal, Smith showcased a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, sliced bananas, mild cheddar cheese cubes, and a chocolate Lara bar, all neatly arranged in a plastic container. 

“You want me to spend $6.99 on chicken nuggets and my son is going to throw half of it on the floor? You’re crazy,” she added. 

She emphasized that her son appreciates being able to eat immediately upon arrival at the restaurant, without having to wait for anyone to take his order.

Smith also mentioned that her son is not opinionated about his food and simply enjoys eating. 

Restaurant Deprivation?

Smith clarified that if her son expresses a desire for restaurant food, she will gladly order it for him. She noted that she usually adds a special treat, such as chocolate milk, to make the dining experience enjoyable.

Additionally, once her son finishes his meal, he often samples items from her plate.

While Smith’s approach may work well for her family, her TikTok video sparked intense backlash from viewers who believed that packing a pre-made meal for her toddler was depriving him of the restaurant experience.

Some commenters went so far as to label it as a form of abuse.


“My brother in law’s step father used to do this to him as abuse,” on viewer recalled. 

“OMG I would never do that to my kids,” another added.

Responding to the criticism, Smith defended her position, stating that she never intended to continue this practice indefinitely.

She clarified that if her son desires something from the restaurant menu, she would gladly accommodate his wishes and share her own meal with him. 

It Should Be a Special Occasion

Smith dismissed the accusations of abuse, reminding commenters that young children often do not differentiate between restaurant food and home-cooked meals.

Several TikTok users shared their own perspectives, with some suggesting that dining out should be a special occasion for the entire family, including young children. 

Others emphasized that in their households, either everyone eats out or no one does, as it was an opportunity for shared experiences and enjoyment.

“I could never the guilt would eat at me also if we can’t all eat out then none of us do,” one viewer commented.

Ignore the Negative Comments!

Despite the backlash, many viewers praised Smith’s strategy and advised her to ignore the negative comments. Some expressed gratitude for the idea, particularly those with picky eaters, who often pay for uneaten meals.

Others, including parents of children with special needs, commended Smith for her approach, noting that waiting for food to arrive at a restaurant can be challenging for their kids.

In a follow-up video, Smith playfully responded to the criticism she received.

She posted a separate TikTok video parodying some exaggerated scenarios people assumed she engaged in, such as feeding her child a can of green beans or a raw onion. 

She Replied with a Witty Response

Her fans applauded her witty response and encouraged her to continue standing up to her critics.

In the end, the debate surrounding Smith’s decision to pack her toddler’s meal reflects the diversity of parenting styles and the different approaches individuals take when dining out with young children.

What do you think? Is dining out for everyone or only for those old enough to appreciate it?

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Source: TikTok