After stumbling across Babble’s 50 Best Recipes for Kids, I figured it was time to let Eating The Week, Jr., take a crack at a week’s worth of recipes. Not the cooking – no 5-yo has the patience for 12-hour chicken soup – but the menu selection and taste-testing were all up to him.
As background: Miles is right in the middle of the picky-to-adventurous eater spectrum. He loves kale smoothies, but won’t touch broccoli with a ten-foot pole. He snarfs down plenty of fruit every day, but getting protein from sources other than cheese can be a challenge. In general, he’s interested in trying new foods, so it didn’t take too much encouragement to get Miles to pick 7 interesting choices from the Babble recipe list.
Want to see what he picked, and how they scored on the 10-point Jr. and Mom scales? Head past the jump
Nut-free granola bars (recipe here):
- Jr.’s score: 8/10. Miles: “Why is there chocolate in these?” Me: “Did you just question chocolate? Have you been body-snatched?”
- Mom’s score: These certainly tasted good… as cereal, after all but three bars collapsed after cutting. This may not be the recipe’s fault, since I have a history of shaped-food fails.
Angry Birds pizza (recipe here):
- Jr.’s score: 7/10. “The pepperoni was too spicy.” He did like the pizza’s overall design, and almost tried the yellow bell pepper beak and black olive eye brows (but balked at the last minute).
- Mom’s score: 8/10. Even though it didn’t translate into actual vegetable consumption, the kid-friendly design did make Miles more willing to consider eating things he’d normally scream at. I’d employ this method again to see if we can get follow-through.
Peanut butter apple sandwiches (recipe here):
- Jr.’s score: 10/10. Miles ate the entire thing and would have licked his plate clean if Meany McManners hadn’t made him stop.
- Mom’s score: 5/10. Granted, it’s got fruit and nut butter (yay nutrition!), but I don’t see the need for chocolate chips (boo junk!). Take those out, though, and I’ll give this an 8 or 9 with a few points docked for messiness.
Pinto bean dip (recipe here)
- Jr.’s score: 8/10. I question Miles’s rating on this, since he only ate a couple scoops. But I’ll just report the facts here since he’s rapidly learning to read and is kind of a stickler for accuracy (wonder where he got that from?).
- Mom’s score: 6/10. I think this might need a few more seasonings, because it’s pretty bland. But the green color seemed to entice Miles to try some, so it’s got that going for it.
Asian fish cakes (recipe here)
- Jr.’s score: 10/10. These were a big hit; Miles and Tim both snarfed theirs down. Miles didn’t use the Thai dipping sauce, though, as it would be too spicy for him.
- Mom’s score: 7/10. I’m going solely on ease of preparation (simple, although “chumming” fish in a food processor is… an experience) and nutrition (decent; would like to see a baked version). I don’t eat fish, so we’ll have to take Jr.’s word for it.
Broccoli cheese nuggets (recipe here)
- Jr.’s score: 1/10. “These are zombie barf!”
- Mom’s score: 9/10. I didn’t see any resemblance to the undead – these are quick to make and tasty with some ketchup for dipping.
Chicken and stars soup (recipe here)
- Jr.’s score: 9/10. “My favorite part is the liquid.”
- Mom’s score: 9/10. Like the fish cakes, I didn’t actually eat this. But it’s a relatively easy recipe (don’t let the 12-hour thing scare you; it’s mostly non-active cooking time) with way fewer objectionable things than salty canned prepared soups.
Overall this was a pretty successful experiment – it got Miles interested in planning his own menu, which I think contributed to his willingness to try new foods. If there’s another iteration of this list, I’d love to see fewer desserts (who’s actually concerned about getting a picky eater to eat more ice cream?), more vegetable-packed dishes, and a little less cheese and frying. But it’s still a good place to start, with lots of ideas for kid-friendly home-cooked fare.
Now, if only there was a “50 Best Ways to Get Your Kid to Do the Dishes” list…