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Oct 30, 2013 09:01 AM

Thanksgiving meal for kids ages 3 to 6?

Seeking Thanksgiving meal ideas to be enjoyed by young children. Something different from the adults meal but still turkey-focused, and that they will actually like eating. Would be nice to include all the trimmings, and sides as well. Not looking for soup ideas, or foreign preparations. Good old traditional but for kids. TIA.

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  1. I can't think of a meal that's more likely to be liked by small children than the oh-so-typical Thanksgiving one. Turkey, dressing, gravy, etc. What's wrong with this please?

    7 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      Agree with C Oliver.

      But if something different is strongly desired, then maybe small turkey pot pies, using phyllo as shells, in smaller ramekins ?

      1. re: LotusRapper

        That's about the cutest thing ever!

        1. re: c oliver

          And easier than having to make pie pastry, unless there's already some made for use for homemade pumpkin/sweet potato pies :-)

          1. re: c oliver

            That *is* adorable. I'd make it using leftovers. I saw another mini pot pie idea using canned biscuits as the top which is even easier it not quite as whimsical.

        2. re: c oliver

          The only concession I made for the preschool guests on Thanksgiving back in the day when family members were that age was to be sure to have plenty of rolls on hand for the pickier eaters among them.

          Other than that, just bear in mind that kids that age may not be that fond of strongly flavored root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, squash, beets. So add some mashed white potatoes to the menu if they are not usually included.

          1. re: masha

            Yes, we had 8 kids between 3 - 6 at one point, and they all ate the regular meal, or lots of dinner rolls. There was one of the kids who only ate a slice of baked ham and a dinner roll for years, but as his mom pointed out, if it wasn't chicken nuggets or pizza, he wasn't a big fan. He grew out of that stage after a couple of years. We did not cater to that.

          2. re: c oliver

            I agree, I've been gobbling up traditional Thanksgiving foods since I could chew, probably before and enjoying them.

          3. Only in America is there such a thing as children's food. Children around the world enjoy virtually the same foods their parents eat. This perception that children must eat special food can damage their palates, and by extension, their health.

            4 Replies
            1. re: chiba

              The ironic thing is that, back in the day when I was a child eating off the "children's menu," my parents used to take us to "nice" restaurants where a turkey dinner with the trimmings was one of the standard items on the kids menu.

              1. re: masha

                I remember that! So nowadays turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing are "adult food"?

              2. re: chiba

                I see absolutely nothing wrong with the OP's question. Kids can, and are, sometimes be more finicky than adults. I don't expect my son when he was between 3-6 to eat brussel sprouts or greenbean casserole and the likes. Even turkey, if a bit dry, could turn off kids. I'd rather children eat *something* at holiday dinners that are adult-oriented, even if I have to do some tweaks on the side, than to see them simply stuff themselves with buttered buns/rolls or mashed potatoes (which we all know they invariably will).

                I see your point, though, is that sometimes N. American culture can try too hard to make foods appealing to children, which can result in unintended "picky-ness" by them. I think the OP is simply trying to make part of the TG meal a bit more appealing to the kids w/o resorting to making separate mac & cheese, hot dogs and other things that kids typically prefer.

                1. re: chiba

                  Yes Americans have cornered the market on making a holiday special and trying to make special meals for everyone.

                2. Asked by a person with no kids... why can't they eat what you're eating? My parents never made us anything different than what they were having.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                      Eat, find your own food or go hungry.

                    2. Our theory about Thanksgiving when kids were little was that there was enough variety that every kid liked at least two things, not counting dessert, whether it was turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, broccoli, etc. So we didn't do anything special. Until kids banded together to demand Caesar salad get added to the menu. That is now a regular offering on Turkey day.

                      Unless you are planning a special, kids only Thanksgiving meal, what about a couple of sides they like? Favorite veggies? Roasted potato chunks? Turkey-fried rice?

                      1. I should have stated that It's for a paid catering gig.

                        4 Replies
                          1. re: letsindulge

                            In that case, ask. Children all eat different things and you don't want to presume their children only eat mac and cheese. Ask, not just about children, but food preferences in general.

                            1. re: letsindulge

                              Oh well then it's the caterer's problem ! ;-)

                              Like Chowser said, ask all your guests in advance what their preferences are and relay to the caterer. And also ask the caterer for their own experience and ideas in terms of 'catering' to children's palates. They may have some really cool and fun ideas, like phyllo turkey pot pies ;-)

                              1. re: LotusRapper

                                I think the OP is probably the Caterer in this case. I never planned any meal for a client without going into great detail about what they wanted to serve/eat. If they want a kids menu, I'd be asking why, and what they want that's different from what the adults will be eating.