Are you realizing that, when your family goes out to eat, all your kids want are the standard fare items over and over again? Maybe all they want to eat are things like pizza, tacos, hamburgers and French fries? If you're bound and determined to give your children new eating experiences, here are some ideas that might help you to do that while having a lot of fun. From new sides that will accompany familiar main dishes to Chinese food, your children's eating tastes will certainly become more sophisticated.
Start At Home - A good beginning is to offer your children new foods to go along with those that are familiar to them. When you plan your menus for at-home meals, cook things that you have never given to them in the past. A good rule is to ask your kids to take at least three bites of whatever you have prepared.
- When you make tacos, instead of the usual rice and beans that usually accompany them, cook some squash, tomatoes and onions. Add a can of corn and slather the entire combination with cheese that will melt in their mouths. Give them flan for dessert and you'll be a hero!
- At the meal where you're serving pizza, let them choose their own toppings but don't provide the usual cheese or pepperonis. Set out things like veggies, different kinds of cheeses, olives and smoked sausage slices. Again, ask them to try three different toppings. Add to the fun by offering a prize to the person who tries the most toppings.
- Are you planning hamburgers for one of your meals? Skip the regular French fries and offer sweet potato fries.
Away From Home - When your family goes out to eat, head for foreign restaurants that you know will offer a menu that your kids will like.
- You definitely can't go wrong with Italian food. You're kids have probably had spaghetti and meat sauce and they may already love it. However, perhaps they haven't tasted chicken Alfredo or four-cheese lasagna. A sampler plate would also be a great idea.
- Have you ever eaten at a Brazilian restaurant? Join your kids in trying things like roasted beef, chicken with coconut and black bean stew. If it doesn't already come with your meal, ask for Brazilian cheese bread.
- Eat family style at a Chinese restaurant where each of you can order something different and share the dishes. Try Chinese foods like egg drop soup, wonton soup, sweet and sour pork, spicy shrimp, glazed ribs, chicken almond. cashew chicken, and stir-fried vegetables. End the meal by reading your fortune cookies to each other. Dining establishments like the Lilac Blossom Restaurant may be able to meet the needs of your family in this area.
Make a list of restaurants you want to try and let your kids take turns selecting the ones you visit.