One area where I've been very lucky as a parent is having kids who are good eaters. Not only do they have solid appetites but they are also willing to try different foods with little fighting or cajoling from us. I fully acknowledge that this is partly due to luck. However, I'm also really big on my entire family eating the same meals and going to the same restaurants. If I want Korean food – we all go get Korean food. If The Boy wants Mexican food – we taco (or enchilada or menudo) up. Sure, my kids don't want to eat or even try everything but they generally will eat different dishes and are used to varying levels of spiciness. Hoping your kids will be good eaters like mine are? Here's a few of my tips on ways to develop adventurous eaters (plus, a starter recipe for fried rice and steamed dumplings).
Exposure to Different Foods: If you cook it… they will come. Ha! But really, if you just continually visit restaurants with different foods and prepare them at home, it will lose it's “weirdness” and become normal. And normal leads to eating it without fights.
Embrace Spice: Unless your children have a medical condition or sensory disorder that prevents them from eating herbs and spices – add them to their food as soon as possible! I started adding herbs and spices into Melanie and Finn's pureed vegetables at eight months. Now, my kids eat salsa, flavorful marinaras, and pho.
Plan Easy to Cook Meals: When cooking at home and introducing new cuisines, keep it simple. It's so frustrating to cook a whole meal just to have your kids turn up their noses. So, stick to preparing easy to make foods like the Ling Ling Fried Rice line. They have five unique dishes based on pure and authentic Asian inspired recipes from Japan, China, Korea and Thailand and I was blown away by the taste! It did not taste like microwaved food at all. Instead, thanks to their Infusion Cooking Method, it had deep and layered flavors that everyone loved.
Keep Trying: Don't give up after the first try! It takes humans roughly 3-5 times of seeing something to accept it and giving it a try. Just keep offering them bites of this and that and visiting your favorite sushi place with them in tow.
Do Kid-Friendly: First time for your kids at a Korean restaurant? Don't push them too hard. Skip the kim chi and try the yuki mandu or bulgogi. Find something on the menu that's similar to a favorite food (like noodles or fried stuff) and encourage them to try that. Baby steps, y'all.
Y'all, if you're looking to broaden your kids palates but lack the funds for eating out or the patience – go with the easy option and grab some frozen fried rice from Walmart. There's five different flavors to choose from (Yakitori Chicken, Yakiniku Beef, Thai-Style Chicken, Chinese-Style Vegetable, and my personal favorite – Bibimbap Beef) and any of them can be made in the microwave in under 5 minutes. This Asian fried rice pairs beautifully with an Asian entree but is also tasty enough to stand alone. Honestly, with Ling Ling Fried Rice – staying in tastes just like going out. Right now, just click here to get $2 off a box of Ling Ling Fried Rice at any retailer where the products are sold! Pair it with the steamed dumplings below for a flavorful dish everyone will love!
A recipe from a former neighbor of mine, Mia. I love serving them as a main dish.
- 50 3.5" square wonton wrappers
- 1.25 lbs ground pork
- .5 tbsp minced fresh ginger root
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp green onion thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1.5 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 egg beaten
- 2.5 cups Chinese cabbage finely shredded
Combine pork, ginger, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, egg and cabbage. Stir with hands until well mixed.
In each wonton skin, put 1 heaping teaspoon of pork filling. Moisten the edges with water and fold to form a loose triangle shape. Then, roll the edges slightly to seal in filling. Set dumplings aside on a lightly floured surface until you are ready to cook them.
Steam the dumplings in a covered bamboo or metal steamer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.