Between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, fall and winter are definitely the most popular seasons for having company over. Whether you have family members flying in from out of town or you’re hosting a holiday party for friends and neighbors, it’s probably safe to say that you’ll be doing a lot of cooking and good eating this winter.
Cooking for adults during the holidays is overwhelming enough, but it’s cooking for kids that can really be tricky. Kids tend to know what foods they like and are often hesitant to try new things, especially when there are holiday cookies and pies available! To make sure that kids eat balanced, nutritious meals throughout the holiday season, try out the following tips the next time you’re cooking for a crowd:
Keep Foods Familiar
Kids are usually much pickier than adults, so trying to introduce them to new ingredients at holiday dinners may not go over too well. Stick to foods that kids will recognize and won’t be afraid to try, and save the culinary experimentation for food at the adults table. The more kids are familiar with and are willing to try the foods they are served, the more likely they will be to eat a balanced, nutritious meal instead of sticking to one or two foods.
If you know you’ll be feeding picky eaters, you might have to use your imagination to make more kid friendly meals. Giving dishes fun names can make “scary” foods seem more appetizing to younger eaters. You can also try serving things in individual portions or in miniature form, to make eating more fun and less intimidating.
Sneak in Nutrients
With all the good food served during the holiday season, it’s easy for kids and adults alike to overindulge on buttery side dishes and high fat desserts. Kids are especially likely to hang out around the cookie platter instead of the vegetable tray, so it’s important to sneak nutrients into dishes that they may not otherwise choose for themselves. Try sneaking shredded zucchini or carrots into baked goods, for instance, and add pureed vegetables to sauces or mashed potatoes for some extra fiber and vitamins.
Feeding kids can be a challenge, but don’t worry—it’s possible to get them to eat notoriously, even during the holidays. So this holiday season, keep it simple, use familiar foods and put a creative spin on your meals to hopefully get kids to eat more than just desserts this winter!
Meredith K. writes on behalf of Kid Cuisine, which has a wide variety of easy snacks for kids along with lots of meals kids love. To browse through Kid Cuisine’s kid and parent-approved selection of products, visit www.kidcuisine.com.