Getting Your Kids to Try New Foods: Family Movie Night
My husband and I both enjoy a wide variety of foods, and we both love to cook. We also believe that meals as a family, with everyone eating the same food (more or less) are important, and we strive for this as much as possible. I wouldn’t say my kids are particularly picky eaters – although they certainly go through waves where they like some foods more than others – but sometimes breaking the hot-dog-grilled-cheese-macaroni-and-cheese cycle can be a challenge.
So, recently I learned a little secret: my kids are more willing to try different foods when animated characters are also eating said foods! And really, I want my kids to grow up with happy memories of food, laughter around the table, and the desire to try to new things as opposed to the occasional table-turned-battlefield scenario that my family growing up experienced at times.
So, even if it’s just once a week or so, we try to incorporate a family movie night – with an accompanying themed dinner. It’s a creative way to introduce new or seldom cooked food, and the bonus is that we get to watch a movie during dinner (something that never happens otherwise). There is only one condition: the movie stays on only as long as everyone is eating their dinner. If not, the movie is paused until folks eat up.
If you’re feeling really ambitious, I’ve included some potential activities to tie in during the day to round out the whole experience. The possibilities with this are endless!
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Veggie soup and (non-poisonous) apple pie for dessert! Feeling ambitious? Have an apple tasting during the day, and have kids determine the crunchiest, sweetest, most sour, and favorite variety. Use the apples for the pie.
Mulan: Homemade stir fry (or Chinese takeout in a pinch!). Don’t forget the chopsticks!
Aladdin: Chicken pita wraps, hummus, olives. Feeling ambitious? Eat dinner on a “flying carpet” in the living room.
Charlotte’s Web: Farmer’s omelet with a side of…yes…bacon. (My kids haven’t caught on to that one yet.) Feeling ambitious? Take a trip to a real farm or petting zoo during the day.
The Polar Express: Breakfast for dinner (pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, and of course, hot, hot, hot chocolate with marshmallows). Feeling ambitious? Check out the book “The Polar Express” from the library and read it before bed. Compare the movie to the book.
Lady and the Tramp: Spaghetti and meatballs. Feeling ambitious? Volunteer at or make a donation to your local ASPCA.
Ratatouille: You guessed it…ratatouille.
Beauty and the Beast: French onion soup, French bread, chocolate mousse (or pudding) and tea for dessert.
Pocahontas: Corn and andouille fritters (my hubby’s personal favorite!). They’re great drizzled with a little syrup. Feeling ambitious? Check out some books about Native Americans from the library; make a Native American craft on the day of the movie. Here is an easy recipe for Indian beads!
The Little Mermaid: Fish tacos, crab cakes, or, if you don’t feel comfortable taking the knife to one of Ariel’s buddies, stuffed shells. Feeling ambitious? Visit the aquarium or go on a family fishing excursion during the day.
The Princess and the Frog: Gumbo or jambalaya and beignets for dessert. Feeling ambitious? (We’re lucky enough to live in New Orleans) Take a street car ride during the day!
Tarzan or The Lion King: Spinach salad with banana smoothies for dessert. Feeling ambitious? Visit the zoo.
Much Mommy love, Mommy Mentor KMom
Have you had any luck getting your kids to try new foods? Let us know below or on our facebook page.
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