Feeding Your Friends’ Kids
I had a plan for dinner tonight in my head, knowing that my friends were coming over and bringing their 4-year old son (who’s allergic to shell fish, nuts, dairy, and soy) and their 14-year old daughter (who doesn’t like vegetables). I thought my plan would be full-proof and the kids would love it. Damn, was I right.
I was nervous cooking for other people’s kids since I don’t know their likes/dislikes. So I decided to bite the bullet and just make my basic food with love that I know most people like. I hoped those kids fell into the category of “most people.”
Simplicity is key. I like to think of meals that are pretty universal and most people enjoy. Meals such as pasta, Thanksgiving dinner, pizza, tacos (caution with the spice). Thinking of the basics can ensure that most people will like and eat these types of foods.
For tonight’s dinner, I decided to focus on a version of Thanksgiving dinner. Great timing considering the big feast is next week! Here was my menu:
- Roasted chicken (@ 375 Bake) and stuffed with amazing flavors such as sliced lemons, oranges, garlic, onions, crushed rosemary, salt, and pepper. I rubbed all those flavorings over the chicken, too.
- Vegan mashed potatoes using vegetable broth, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and brewer’s yeast powder (which gives a cheesy feel without the dairy) since I had allergies to think of.
- Steamed broccoli. Dressing on the side of balsamic vinegar, dill, lemon pepper, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in case the kids didn’t want it. I also had butter/margarine for the kids to put on their broccoli. Adding a little bit of fat to those veggies can help make them so palatable for the young ones.
- Tossed mixed green salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded carrots, red onions, and marinated artichoke hearts using the same balsamic dressing as the broccoli.
The kids ate and ate some more. They were excited about the broccoli because they were able to put a topping on it and they had a choice of 2 different toppings to choose from. The parents were happy the kids had a balanced meal. The 4-year old didn’t want any salad. No problem. He got some green in there from the broccoli.
Moral of the story? Try to think of the basics when cooking meals and see how you can tweak those staple meal ideas and provide variety without compromising the desire to eat the food. Having food options familiar to the kids will help with the kids eat the food.
By Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN
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