When you’re at a loss for holiday inspiration, look to the experts for insight on everything from crafts and recipes to tips for appeasing picky eaters at the holiday table. Laura Fuentes of MOMables, aka The Superglue Mom, specializes in real food for kids—wholesome, nutritious, homemade foods that kids actually want to eat.
As mom to two very picky eaters (and one not-so-picky eater), Fuentes knows a thing or two about compromise. So what’s her secret? Focusing on what the kids will eat, not what they won’t eat. With that in mind, we’ve assembled a list of surefire hints for hosting little ones for Thanksgiving, plus a handful of kid-friendly Thanksgiving recipes, courtesy of Laura Fuentes and the team at MOMables.
Repurpose your ingredient list.
Don’t let picky eaters run the show—the holiday season is no time to play the short-order cook. Allow your grocery list to do double-duty by working ingredients that are already on your list into kid-friendly dishes. For example, Thanksgiving Quesdadillas and Thanksgiving “Cupcakes” (pictured below) feature all the fixins found on a traditional holiday plate, wrapped up in a cute little package. These recipes may be intended for using up leftovers, but why not work them into your turkey day festivities by making them the main attraction at the kids’ table?
Get comfortable with compromise.
Unless you have enough time and enough help to make multiple versions of everything (and kudos to you if that’s the case), don’t be afraid to rethink your idea of traditional. Tweak your go-to Thanksgiving recipes to appeal to a wider range of tastes. For example, this Strawberry Cranberry Sauce features a sweeter, less tart version of a traditional cranberry sauce. The kids will be drawn to the fruity new twist, and the adults will love it too.
And not that dessert is ever the problem, but consider trying a plate of Frosted Pumpkin Cookies instead of creamy (see also: “mushy” or “gooey”) traditional Pumpkin Pie. Do the kids have a favorite veggie? Find a way to work it into dishes that otherwise might not be appealing. When things get hectic, it’s all about finding ways to bridge the gap between the unwilling eaters and the adventurous ones.
Make it miniature.
We eat with our eyes first, and when it comes to the discerning (read: picky) palate of a youngster, presentation is everything. Taking tried-and-true Thanksgiving recipes and miniaturizing them is one way to encourage little hands to pick them up and give them a try. Set aside a portion of spinach for perfectly miniature Spinach Bites (a great way to sneak in a little extra green), and opt for these Mini Apple Pies, another easy way to bridge the gap between different taste levels.
Turn the kids’ table into the best seat in the house.
If your gathering is large enough to warrant a kids’ table, make it one to remember! Try covering the table with butcher paper and creating a DIY Crayon Centerpiece, like this one (pictured below) from Relish.com. From there, get creative with activities to keep the kiddos occupied while the rest of the family finishes their meal. This tutorial for Thanksgiving Pictionary for Kids is nothing short of brilliant, and it’s a project that will get the kids involved and build excitement in the days leading up to the big event.