Kid-Friendly Holiday Feasts

I know what you’re thinking…what about the holidays isn’t kid friendly? Or possibly, what about the holidays is at all adult friendly? I mean, while we run about in chaos, our kids simply get to celebrate all month long with cookies and juice at ballet class and tree-shaped pancakes in Pre-k.

Zucchini boats are a great kid-friendly recipe.
Zucchini Boats / Ned Raggett / CC BY 2.0

Here’s the thing: we run around planning and shopping for just one day, or just one party, or just one (dare I say elegant?) meal. So how do we get the kids to play along with the mood we are trying to set at these special events? Translation: how do we occupy them and feed them well so they (er…we) can enjoy the event?

Engage them in the menu planning.

Seeking their opinions and getting them excited about picking their own options will get them excited to eat. (Take this a step further by having them write the menu on a board or paper as part of your decorations.) Depending on the age of your child, you can use this as an opportunity to teach about the goals of the menu, which include aiming for color, balance of nutrients and different textures. Visiting our recipe collection is a great place to start your search for the perfect menu.

Play “I ate my whole dinner bingo.”

We know that the dessert is likely to be gobbled up, but what about the beautiful green beans you steamed just right or butternut squash you roasted to perfection? Simply create a game board that includes a section for each offering of your holiday meal and allow kids to fill in the squares as they eat. At the end of the meal, offer a prize for a full board! Or consider providing a color wheel to each child (cut a piece of paper into a circle, divide into wedges and assign a color to each wedge). As they eat the colorful offerings on your holiday table they can write it in the wheel. With games like these your kids won’t even realize that they at a balanced meal before they head for (attack?) the dessert table!

I’ve given you ideas about how to engage the kids in the meal, but without kid-friendly recipes we are not going to see a full bingo card or a bit of peace during dinner. Don’t worry–I wouldn’t leave you without some terrific recipes that are sure to make your holiday feast a success.

2 Guiding Stars

Squash Risotto

This creamy dish, which offers the antioxidant power of winter squash (or pumpkin as a substitute) is sure to please kids and nourish them too. (2 Guiding Stars)

1 Guiding Star

Zucchini Boats

These “boats” can be filled with the toppings of your choice. Consider letting kids “build” their boat. (1 Guiding Star)

2 Guiding Stars

Chicken Sausage with Lentils

This protein packed dish will be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. (2 Guiding Stars)

1 Guiding Star

Roasted Beet Salad

This colorful salad will have your kids completing their color wheel in no time. (1 Guiding Star)