Let's be honest, we all had our picky food moments. I did grow up loving broccoli and spinach and many foods that kids would turn up their noses. On the other hand, I would not eat brussel sprouts or tuna noodle casserole. Now that I'm an adult, I am proud to say I will still not eat tuna noodle casserole. But I did embrace the brussel sprouts, as long as they're fresh and roasted - none of this frozen stuff for me. They get squishy... yuck.
Sidenote: if you're still having trouble with brussel sprouts, check out Pitch Pizzeria's roasted brussel sprout appetizer. That was the brussel sprout turning point for me. Brussel sprouts, pancetta, garlic and cheese. Oh goodness, I'm drooling. Anyway moving on...
Part of my appreciation for new foods came from growing up, the other part came from being exposed to new experiences and creating the recipes for myself. Get your kids involved in the cooking process early and maybe they'll eat new things (and brussel sprouts) earlier than I did. I found a few recipes that little ones can help make and experiment with. Some recipes might be new, others will be familiar favorites with a slight twist.
What's your favorite family meal to make together?
Slow Cooker Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a fantastic way to start out a chilly morning. Cooking the oatmeal in a slow cooker means this will be ready for breakfast when you wake up in the morning. There are many variations on oatmeal. Have your kiddos pick out the kind they want and assemble the ingredients the night before. They can also put their own toppings on it in the morning.
You can take this same idea into the summer, by making overnight fridge oatmeal. It's just as delicious and simple enough for kids to create the night before on their own.
Yes, I know, I hear you, chicken nuggets is a staple in many kids diets, but there are many healthy variations on this favorite dish and ways to get the kids involved. There are options using yogurt and cornflakes, Panko breadcumbs, Bisquick; they can be spicy or mild. Have the kids help decide on what to try.
If you decide to make chicken nuggets, use your own judgment as to whether your kids can help cut the raw chicken. (Make sure they wash their hands before and after too!) Chicken tenders are perfect if you don't want to mess with cutting the chicken. The kids can help dredge and coat the chicken and place them on the pan to cook.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
This is a family favorite and healthier version of the everyday french fry. You may need to cut up the sweet potato, but the kiddos can help mix up the ingredients and put them on the baking sheet. These can be as spicy or as sweet as your family chooses to make them. You really can't go wrong with whatever you decide to do.
I'm not a nutritionist, but I think pizza gets a bad rap sometimes. When it's prepared correctly, it can be one of the best meals, and I've not met a kid yet who doesn't like pizza. It's healthiest when you make it at home, when you can decide what goes into it. You and your kids can work together to make home made pizza crust, use a premade crust, tortilla, English muffins, cauliflower crust, biscuits, or anything else you all can dream up.
Pizza is a great food to help kids explore and make their own food decisions. Give them a variety of options from chicken to broccoli or sausage to peppers. Options are endless.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
I couldn't tell you about the infamous brussel sprouts without giving you my variation on the recipe. I made this as a side for Thanksgiving dinner this past year. It has enough variety in the dish that it could serve as a meal. If your kids shouldn't be using a knife or the stove, this might be harder recipe to help with. They could definitely help with grating the cheese and mixing it altogether at the end.
- 1lb brussel sprouts
- 3 strips of bacon
- 2 cloves of garlic
- salt and pepper
- grated parmesean cheese
- Cut the bacon into pieces and cook it in a pan on the stove.
- Slice the garlic.
- Trim the ends of the brussel sprouts and remove the dried outside leaves if needed.
- Remove the bacon and some of the excess grease from the pan and add in the brussel sprouts and garlic to cook.
- Let the brussel sprouts cook until they get a nice browned color on one side. Add the bacon pieces back in to heat up for the last couple of minutes.
- Remove the brussel sprout mixture and grate the parmesean cheese over the top.
- Serve immediately.