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Toddler-Approved Thanksgiving Dishes


It’s elastic waistband time, and I’m only dreaming about the food, I haven’t even started consuming it.  I’m planning out  our Thanksgiving menu, and I just realized how odd it will be to only cook for our family this year.  We won’t have any family or random friends around our table this year.  That means that the ration of adults to children is 1:2.  We are outnumbered with our four little ones.  Lord knows that I am not about to slave away for two days to create the perfect table spread for an audience who will turn their noses up to it all!  I am so not going to spend an hour forcing my kids to eat and try things. 

My perfect Thanksgiving looks like this:

Music playing and mimosas poured as we start baking desserts in the morning.  Family games or outdoor time will be happening so that I can actually cook and clean as I go. Then I’ll tackle the side dishes with ease before tin foiling everything to hang out with the family and watch the turkey fry.  We’ll all laugh and chat, not spilling anything, our way through the meal and all clean up together before diving into desserts and Christmas movies.

You see? No where do I envision bribing, tricking, threatening, or starving my children.

Are you following me here?  That means that I need a really simple, but amazing Thanksgiving menu that is toddler and kid approved.

Anyone else out there feeling this way?

File May 21, 1 50 14 PM

The best way to have kids eat their food is to have them help make it.  They can set the table, help you cook, or aid in plating the food, but studies show that involved kids eat better than uninvolved kids.

Roasted meat with garnish and cowberry pie on festive table

The Best Toddler and Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving Foods

I have tried a few versions of each of these and included the recipe that was the most well-loved by kids in the age range of 8 months to 7 years old!

Deep-Fried Turkey – being juicier and more flavorful will help kids eat more protein!

Crunchy Chickpeas http://www.parenting.com/article/crunchy-chickpeas

Cornbread Stuffing http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/stuffing_dressing_my_favorite_thanksgiving_food/

Homemade Drop Biscuits http://allrecipes.com/recipe/21135/e-z-drop-biscuits/

Honey Butter http://allrecipes.com/recipe/25214/honey-butter/

Gravy  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/25214/honey-butter/

Mashed Potatoes http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/mashed-potatoes-recipe.html

Scalloped Potatoes http://www.food.com/recipe/scalloped-potatoes-85629

Broccoli, Rice, and Cheese Casserole http://www.macaroniandcheesecake.com/2011/10/cheesy-broccoli-rice.html

Baked Mac and Cheese http://www.food.com/recipe/fannie-farmers-classic-baked-macaroni-cheese-135350

Baked Green Bean Fries http://www.food.com/recipe/fannie-farmers-classic-baked-macaroni-cheese-135350

Roasted Carrots  http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014219-roasted-carrots-with-parsley-and-thyme


Even if your toddler eats a roll and a carrot, I’d call that a win. Pour the wine!


I’m pretty sure you can figure out the dessert aspect, but if you are still baffled on sweets that kids will love, I recommend the following:

Traditional Cookies: Chocolate chip or sugar are always a hit.



Ice-Cream Sundaes  - you can figure this one out!

Apple Pie  (Hands-down the BEST recipe) http://allrecipes.com/recipe/12682/apple-pie-by-grandma-ople/

Brownies  http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/10782-katharine-hepburns-brownies

Toddler reaches for a chocolate chip cookie.

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