Kids. When they’re not begging for chicken nuggets or some other gnarly thing, they’re begging to be excused from the table because they’re stuffed to the gills after eating what appears to be a single molecule of lunch. I’ve often wondered just what is in the air that is keeping my daughter alive since it’s not the three grapes she had for breakfast.
I’m generally lucky in that the aforementioned daughter tends to crave foods from the healthier side of the supermarket aisle, like raw fruit and veggies and cheese. Before you roll your eyes, I’ll also say that she loves candy and would probably eat chocolate chip cookies to the exclusion of all else if you let her.
Anyway, I know from experience that most kids are ridiculously picky when it comes to food – even if their parents won’t admit it. And that’s okay. When P. eats nothing but raw fruit and peanut butter from a spoon along with a bite of a bread, I remind myself that there must be some evolutionary advantage to this. And hey, at least she’s not one of those ‘only eats white foods’ kids! But if she was, we’d deal with it.
Introduce another child or three into the mix, and things get more complicated. For instance, you’re planning a playdate for your kids. It’s going to overlap with snack time. What do you do? WHAT? DO? YOU? DO?! What, pray tell, will appeal to five kids who are five different ages and be easy enough for you to throw together that morning?
Fruit kabobs: Food on a stick? You know it. Skewer healthy fruits like grapes, pineapple, strawberry, and melon and serve by itself or mix it up with skewers of cheese and ham. For little kids, cut the points off the skewers. For a fancy dessert-y snack, add a cup of chocolate sauce for dipping.
Kid-friendly crudités: Fruits and veg get fancy when you serve them with individual cups of dips like peanut butter or ranch. Why individual cups? Because kids are notorious double dippers.
DIY yogurt parfaits: Let kids dish out their own Greek yogurt (coconut milk yogurt works, too), granola, fresh berries, honey, ground flax seed, and nuts. There’s something about DIY that gets even the pickiest kids enthused about eating.
The classic English muffin pizza: This staple kid food is as appealing today as it was when we were little. Toppings are optional, but may just get your group to eat their veggies.
Make a rainbow: This isn’t so much about what you’re serving but how you serve it. Pick healthy foods that are every color of the rainbow and then let the kids create their own artful plated masterpieces. Do we sense a few future food stylists?
Play tea party: Tiny cucumber sandwiches served with juice in wee tea cups (with saucers, of course) along with fresh fruit tarts can make eating good food fun. Pro Tip: Plenty of boys dig tea parties, too.