Eats & Sweets


Since the day KJ took his first bite of real food, he hasn’t stopped eating. It feels as if we have been in a constant growth-spurt for the better half of six months with no end in sight. I always joke that when KJ is older I am going to need a second job to be able to keep food in the house. However, I am not complaining because KJ is far from a picky eater — unlike his daddy. 

If you are like me, your summer schedule is jam-packed with events, birthday dinners and vacations. With so much to do and so little time, it can be difficult to squeeze in balanced meals for your little ones. However, Jones County restaurants have so much to offer for even the littlest one in your family.  

One of KJ’s favorite places to eat (and mine) is Mi Casita, which offers multiple kid-options on its menu. Although we eat there at least once per week, we’ve yet to venture from option “P,” chicken quesadilla with rice and beans. I know there isn’t that much nutritional value in this meal, but I justify it with the chicken and cheese being proteins and the refried beans being a good source of fiber and iron. If you are wanting to feel a little better about your child’s meal, you can always add the super food: avocado. 

If you are wanting to enjoy a nice dinner in Laurel, you can’t go wrong with The Loft in Downtown. We visit The Loft a few times per month and never experience any difficulty  having KJ with us. Although the kids’ menu options are not listed on the menu, they offer chicken strips, cheese pizza, pasta and more. The wait staff is very helpful in answering any and all questions. However, KJ apparently has expensive taste and his favorites can be found on the regular menu. His current go-to is either crab claws or the grilled redfish. The Loft’s portions are large, so we are always able to take his leftovers home for another day.

When we are short on time or experiencing a “hangry” moment, Chick-fil-A is our go-to meal. Chick-fil-A has a few different kid menu choices with healthy options, such as grilled nuggets, fruit cups and apple sauce squeeze pouches. Many people say Chick-fil-A is the “Lord’s food,” so it has to be good for KJ, right?

Now it’s time to get down to KJ’s absolute favorite: sweets. I tried so hard to keep sugar from him, but with our family there was no hope. If you’re wanting to let your little one indulge, Laurel will be happy to help.  


When it comes to KJ and ice cream, the messier, the better!

If dairy is not an issue, you cannot go wrong with ice cream. KJ loves any and all types of ice cream; however, the messier he gets the better it tastes to him. Luckily, ice cream can be purchased almost anywhere in Jones County and can be as cheap as $1. With the hot summer we are experiencing, you can’t go wrong with a scoop of ice cream! 

The fun doesn’t have to stop with ice cream since Jones County is home to several bakeries. When I take KJ to the bakery, it doesn’t take long to realize I have made a disastrous mistake. After watching him point to every little thing and hearing him say “wook, wook” for the thousandth time, we are finally able to sit and enjoy our sweet treat. Lucky for me, KJ has zero preference on what I buy, as long as it is full of sugar. If your little one is anything like mine, you may want to pack an extra set of clothes.

I know that life can be busy with a toddler and working a full-time job doesn’t always lead to a home-cooked meal. However, I know this county is home to some really great eateries that are willing to go the extra mile to provide for the whole family.  

If you are needing any meal ideas for your toddler, please feel free to email me for some of KJ’s favorites at

Lakyn Prince is office manager of the Leader-Call and mother to the Royal Office Baby. She lives in Ellisville. Email her at

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