Kid-Approved Dishes: Making Meal Time Fun

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It can be difficult to create dishes that kids will eat, and it can be even more difficult to find a meal that parents and children can equally enjoy. Kids can be picky eaters and some can get in the habit of only eating certain foods. The trick to creating a menu that kids and moms will love is to introduce new foods in a fun way. The easiest way to make meal time fun: get the kids involved! The following are recipes that are fun to make and are to sure to be a hit.

Kabobs

Kabobs are an easy way to cater to kids that are picky eaters because a wide variety of ingredients can be used.  Each child, and mom, can put their own kabobs together so everybody will be happy with their individualized meal.  Kids are happy because they are in control of their own meal and are involved in the preparation.  All you need to make kabobs are:
-wooden skewers
-vegetables
-cheese
-meat of your choice
-fruit kabobs can also be made by stacking different fruits on the skewer (excellent dessert after a kabob lunch!)

Prep by cutting the ingredients into small cubes. Then, select desired ingredients and push them onto the skewer. There is no wrong way to create a kabob. Kabobs can be made with pre-cooked meat, or they can be cooked on the stove-top, in the oven, or over the grill. This is a very easy meal to make with an even easier clean up.  Your kids will have a great time making these kabobs and will have even more fun eating them knowing that they made their own creations.

“Octopus on Seaweed” (Spiral macaroni and cheese with hotdogs)

This meal is an absolute hit with kids!  This is a recipe that my aunt and uncle made for my cousins and me when we were kids.  Macaroni and cheese with hotdogs is a well-known kid favorite, but this recipe makes it even more fun.  I also love that this recipe is very inexpensive.  You will need three simple ingredients:
-spiral macaroni and cheese
-hotdogs
-green food coloring.

Cook the macaroni as instructed on the box then add a few drops of green food coloring.  This will be the “seaweed”.  Cook the hotdogs according to the package instructions.  When the hot dogs are cooked, leave about two inches on the top of the hotdog (this will be the head of the octopus) and slice the bottom portion into eight sections (octopus tentacles).  Place the octopus on the bed of seaweed and your meal is complete.  This takes a simple meal and turns it into something new and fun for the kids to enjoy.

One Pan Meals

One pan meals are fantastic because, just as the name suggests, they only require one pan. One pan meals typically include a meat, a variety of vegetables, and a starch. One option for a one pan meal requires:
-thinly sliced kielbasa
-baby carrots
-asparagus
-slice onions
-diced potatoes

Place the meat, vegetables, and potatoes in a large bowl and coat with olive oil. Season the mixture with desired seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic, curry powder, etc). Place the mixture evenly on a baking sheet and cook at 375 degrees F for 30-60 minutes or until meat is thoroughly cooked. This meal can be changed often with different veggies, proteins, starches, and spices. It’s an easy meal that can be altered often.

Getting kids to eat well rounded meals can be a difficult task, but making meals fun and allowing children to help encourages kids to try something new. Changing up a tried and true recipe with a fun twist is another way to make lunch something to look forward to as a bonding experience.

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About Kristin Westergard

Kristin Westergard is a mom and stepmom of two beautiful girls, ages 4 months and 3 years old. She has a Bachelor's of Science in Communication with an emphasis in both Journalism and Intercultural Communication. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family (especially outdoors), researching true crime and cooking/baking.

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