Looking for kid friendly recipes + New ideas to try

Imsotiredofnuggets

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Hello!

I have never been that great of a cook but kids have really stunted me. The only thing they eat is tacos, spaghetti, hamburger helper, cheesburgers and deep fired chicken nonesense (As my name suggests, I hate nuggets). Anytime I try something new like a chicken adobe, lasagna, or shepards pie they just turn up their noses. I would love to become a better chef and feed them at the same time instead of having a restaurant of cooking multiple people different things. So I'm here to learn! Be prepared for all manner of silly questions from me as I am truly an amateur but ready to learn.
 

flyinglentris

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PabloLerntKochen

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Kids aren't easy and because I don't have any kids I can't give you great tipps, but I can tell you what made it easy for me to eat enough greens when I was a kid. It was always the sauce, that made veggies attractive to me, in a greeks salad I only accepted yoghurt or mayonnaise dressing, I loved broccoli with sauce hollandaise/lemon butter sauce. I have to say, in terms of veggies I never had a big issue eating them as I found out some years ago, my biggest problem were the calories, between the age 4-8 I did eat almost everything with a big splash of ketchup on it.
There are companies who try to make brainwash/motivate kids eating there vitamins with veggie superheroes, maybe that's the way.
 

Imsotiredofnuggets

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Kids aren't easy and because I don't have any kids I can't give you great tipps, but I can tell you what made it easy for me to eat enough greens when I was a kid. It was always the sauce, that made veggies attractive to me, in a greeks salad I only accepted yoghurt or mayonnaise dressing, I loved broccoli with sauce hollandaise/lemon butter sauce. I have to say, in terms of veggies I never had a big issue eating them as I found out some years ago, my biggest problem were the calories, between the age 4-8 I did eat almost everything with a big splash of ketchup on it.
There are companies who try to make brainwash/motivate kids eating there vitamins with veggie superheroes, maybe that's the way.
Sauces. Great idea. I will dabble. Thank you!
 

Imsotiredofnuggets

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Kids aren't easy and because I don't have any kids I can't give you great tipps, but I can tell you what made it easy for me to eat enough greens when I was a kid. It was always the sauce, that made veggies attractive to me, in a greeks salad I only accepted yoghurt or mayonnaise dressing, I loved broccoli with sauce hollandaise/lemon butter sauce. I have to say, in terms of veggies I never had a big issue eating them as I found out some years ago, my biggest problem were the calories, between the age 4-8 I did eat almost everything with a big splash of ketchup on it.
There are companies who try to make brainwash/motivate kids eating there vitamins with veggie superheroes, maybe that's the way.
Sauces. Great idea. I will dabble. Thank you
Welcome from California. Sometimes, kids should start with prepared recipes like hamburger helper, etc. But alternatively, identify their favorite food and help them achieve that.


:D
:laugh:
I can see a lot more cucumbers being thrown to the dogs haha
 

flyinglentris

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I can see a lot more cucumbers being thrown to the dogs haha

I may have misinterpreted. You may not have meant letting kids cook, but what food to cook for kids.

If you are thinking about what food to cook for kids, think about the habits you want them to develop. That's your guide. Kids are in that learning phase of life.
 

TastyReuben

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I'm a big believer in the chef setting the menu. We don't have kids, so maybe it's easy for me to say that, but I do do 100% of the cooking, and I decide what we're having and what I'm willing to cook.

That doesn't mean my wife can't ask for or suggest stuff, but if I'm the one making it, I don't feel any issue with exercising my prerogative. I normally would refuse to make two meals for us, with the exception being that if my wife isn't feeling well, I might make her some kind of comfort food.

When we were kids, we'd sometimes have those moments where we'd say, "I'm not eating that," and Mom would simply say, "Ok, but that's what I made, so suit yourself," and that was that. If we went to bed hungry, it was on us, and a few times of that, we got over it really quickly. :laugh:

Maybe a good middle ground is to think of some things that are generally kid-appealing, then tweaking them a little to make them a bit more...well-rounded. Something like sloppy joes, for example, which can be considered kid-friendly, can be made a little more complete by adding some shredded/minced carrot, or made with a mix of ground beef and lentils, or ground beef and ground turkey, that kind of thing. I would definitely say that in no way would I let a kid direct the menu, or you'll be eating chicken nuggets and hot dogs for the foreseeable future. :wink:
 

JAS_OH1

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Kids aren't easy and because I don't have any kids I can't give you great tipps, but I can tell you what made it easy for me to eat enough greens when I was a kid. It was always the sauce, that made veggies attractive to me, in a greeks salad I only accepted yoghurt or mayonnaise dressing, I loved broccoli with sauce hollandaise/lemon butter sauce. I have to say, in terms of veggies I never had a big issue eating them as I found out some years ago, my biggest problem were the calories, between the age 4-8 I did eat almost everything with a big splash of ketchup on it.
There are companies who try to make brainwash/motivate kids eating there vitamins with veggie superheroes, maybe that's the way.
Excellent post!

Imsotiredofnuggets, I raised 4 stepchildren. They were 5,7,9, and 11 when I came into their lives. Being a short order cook is stressful, I can relate!

Pablo is on the right track about the veggies. It's just hard sometimes for them to get motivated to eat them. I would buy baby carrots and veggies that wouldn't get touched in the refrigerator crisper drawer. I found that if I made a veggie platter with carrots, cut up broccoli, and sliced cucumber with a bowl of ranch dressing and put it on the counter when they got home from school, it would be gone in an hour or 2 and they would still have an appetite at dinner. Sometimes I would add a different veggie like radishes and sweet peppers or put olives and sliced cheese and wheat crackers out too. It made me feel better knowing they weren't filling up on chips, plus I got to find out their individual preferences and watch their tastes develop.

All my kids love lasagna, I hope yours learn to do the same because it's easier when they are all on the same page!

Pizza night is fun. If you can find small individual crusts it's easy, but Naan flatbreads work well. If you have time to make dough even better but not everyone has time. Just get sauce, cheese, pepperoni, etc. and let them make their own pizzas!

My kids liked to mix macaroni and cheese with tunafish together, lol. Sometimes we would have breakfast for dinner, always very popular.

For my finicky eaters I would encourage them to try a bite of something new but told them that I was not going to force them to eat things they don't like. I was also adamant to not take more than they could eat, but if they put it on the plate they were expected to finish it. If they weren't sure, i said to take a smaller amount and go back for seconds if they wanted. This taught them portion control and how to gauge their hunger.

Good luck!
 

JAS_OH1

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Hello!

I have never been that great of a cook but kids have really stunted me. The only thing they eat is tacos, spaghetti, hamburger helper, cheesburgers and deep fired chicken nonesense (As my name suggests, I hate nuggets). Anytime I try something new like a chicken adobe, lasagna, or shepards pie they just turn up their noses. I would love to become a better chef and feed them at the same time instead of having a restaurant of cooking multiple people different things. So I'm here to learn! Be prepared for all manner of silly questions from me as I am truly an amateur but ready to learn.
I meant to ask, how many children do you have and what are their ages? Their tastes are going to change pretty regularly, and sometimes they will tell you they don't like something but then two days later they do. That usually means, "I am not in the mood," LOL. Just go with the flow somewhat, but definitely don't cater to whims too often! You do have to pick and choose your battles or you will become exhausted.

If you are concerned about calories from frying, have you thought about getting an air fryer? I love my air fryer. Just don't make the mistake of getting one that's too small or you will end up buying a bigger one. It's so easy, you just spritz some oil on the outside of the food item and air fry it, comes out crisp and delicious.

Also, if they like spaghetti and will eat that regularly, you can make sauce (I make mine in the crockpot) in large amounts and then freeze it into batches. Just because they are eating it doesn't mean you have to, but if it's one less thing for you to cook, you can focus more on yourself. And also that might make them curious about what you are eating and they might want to try a bite...and they might like it!

With the lasagna, did you try telling them it's just spaghetti with a different kind of noodle and some extra cheese? Are you making it from scratch or buying store premade? My kids liked Stouffer's or similar just fine, so after making it a few times and getting a "there's too much cheese" or similar complaint, I quit making it for a long time, until they were in their late teens and could appreciate it more. Throwing a frozen lasagna in the oven and making some garlic bread and salad is so much easier.
 

Morning Glory

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I'm a big believer in the chef setting the menu. We don't have kids, so maybe it's easy for me to say that, but I do do 100% of the cooking, and I decide what we're having and what I'm willing to cook.

I couldn't agree more and my kids also ate what they were given. The only concessions I made was when daughter went vegetarian. But that was no issue for me as I cooked vegetarian a lot anyway.

The trouble is, if you have let the kids eat 'chicken nugget' rubbish food then changing their habits is very, very difficult. Also, as they get older then 'peer pressure' influences them. Getting them involved in cooking might help.
 

TastyReuben

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Also, is it possible to make "good" homemade versions of things they like, then use that as a gateway food to even better choices?

Chicken chunks are dead simple to do, even deep-fried, and after making a batch or two of those, and they learn that homemade can be better than store-bought, graduate them up to a chicken stir fry or something.
 

Mountain Cat

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How old are your kids? Sometimes that makes a difference. I understand I was terribly picky from age two to about 4. While hard to do when kids are that age, as they get older, we had a rule: You have to try everything at least ONCE. (And if it was a household staple, you ate it anyway.) Of course, I'm old enough that chicken nuggets and McD's wasn't a thing. (I have never ever eaten a chicken nugget.)

Dinners we ate what Mom and Dad cooked, or we didn't eat. There were things I refused to eat.... I was told and vaguely remember that I wouldn't eat fish - because I was scared of the bones going down my throat. Until the day age about 6 that Dad took me fishing. I caught a tiny perch or something, smaller than a cell phone, and I insisted I get to eat it. After that time, no holding me back on seafood. I eventaully got around to eating most everything, although I hated and barely took in a small serving of: lima beans, brussels sprouts, or carrots. (Found out as an adult that ROASTING those sprouts makes all the difference in the world!) Still not fond of carrots, which most children get to like earlier than many other veggies (aside from potatoes).

My nieces wouldn't eat vegetables, if they were cooked. (Unless they were well-disguised into something like a sauce). But they'd eat veggie platters like no tomorrow - so kids will differ. And this at least was healthy! Neither of them would or still will eat fish - my brother was, "fine, saves us money". And they'd save fish for special nights for his wife and himself.

Try different methods of cooking or preparing veggies - your kids may want them mushy with certain sauces (tomato, white sauces, brown gravies???) Or they might actually love a few of them raw, with dips. (What do they like dipping those nuggets into?) Bury vegetables in meat loaf.

Regards chicken - prepare chicken breasts (or boneless thighs) in breading, cutting them up into small pieces. Gradually modify the recipes to be more wholesome, adding in more flavor and seasonings you'd like them to explore. Try making chicken salads, and add in more veggies over time.

Hope some of this helps!!
 
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