The dining room at home can often turn into a battlefield when your little ones are--gasp!--picky eaters. To help moms combat every major mealtime battle and get kids to eat what they cook, here is a list of pantry must-haves to win over their toughest little food critics!
1. Chicken Broth
Substitute water with chicken broth when cooking rice and vegetables. Your dishes will come out more flavorful without adding many calories, and your preschoolers will enjoy and appreciate the new flavor.
*For rice: Use 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth for every cup of rice.
2. Frozen Puff Pastry
We all know that veggies are good for us but our little ones often disagree. To ensure they get proper nutrition from the greens without putting up a fight, try wrapping them in puff pastry. Make it a do-together activity in the kitchen. Chances are, kids often get excited about sampling their own culinary creations.
3. Ranch Dressing
Another sure-fire way to get your little ones to finish leafy greens on command is to serve up vegetables with a moderate helping of ranch dressing. Get creative! Let your preschoolers play with food by garnishing the greens, such as making smiley faces out of ranch dressing.
4. Chicken Nuggets
Nothing spells k-i-d f-r-i-e-n-d-l-y more than adding crispy and juicy chicken nuggets to the dinner menu. Try an all-natural brand with no artificial ingredients, preservatives, or fillers. Both you and your kids will love them because they are oh-so-delicious!
5. Barbecue Sauce
Yum... need we say more? Whether homemade or store-bought, this sweet and tangy sauce is both adult- and kid-approved, making chicken, ribs, burgers, and patties taste all the more finger-licking good!
6. Seasoned Breadcrumbs
Kids saying "yikes!" to seafood? Fresh seafood is an excellent source of nutrients for growing kids. Dip seafood in beaten eggs and coat it in breadcrumbs. You can either bake it in the oven or fry it in a skillet. Then pair it with ketchup, honey mustard, or sweet barbecue sauce to keep their little protests at bay.
7. Fresh & Frozen Fruit
There are so many fun ways to eating delicious fruits, such as dipping them in low-fat yogurt or making fresh-fruit smoothies. They even taste like ice cream when frozen, such as bananas and strawberries. You can also make fruit-eating a fun learning process by teaching them different colors.
8. A Good Mealtime Experience
And most important of all, enjoy mealtime conversation with your kids before the cleanup begins. When you involve your preschoolers in the menu planning and preparation process, not only are you creating fond memories for both you and your kids, you may very well turn them into clean-plate kids without much power struggle!