Thanksgiving is a unforgettable feast where parents forget they had just started a diet Monday, and opt for a “got to try a little of everything” approach.
For kids the culinary experience can be very different, with all the big entrees their little palates haven’t yet adjusted too.
But not to worry, there are delicious and nutritious options that stray away from canned cranberry, but still hold the essence of the traditional delights.
Choose one, or several, of these delectable recipes to have your child’s plate filled with more than just pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin Patch Pudding Cups
This first recipe is still on the dessert spectrum, but adds a new flare by making it a little more fun for the kids to help prepare.
Arts and Crackers tells you everything you will need to get the cooking party started:
- Clear plastic cups
- Chocolate pudding
- Chocolate cream cookies
- Green sugar crystal sprinkles
- Mellowcreme pumpkins
- Fall leaf sprinkles (optional)
- Paper straw
- Craft sticks (5 each)
- Hot glue
- Paint or paint pen
Fill the plastic cups with pudding about ¾ of the way full, then sprinkle cookie crumbs on top.
Have the kids smash the cookies in bags with spoons to give them a fun task. Then sprinkle green sugar crystals on top before decorating with the leaves and pumpkins.
Use the craft sticks to glue on the paper straw, and then write pumpkin patch on it for decoration.
Healthy Pumpkin Pie
If the kids are going to have pumpkin pie either way, you might as well make it as healthy as you can.
Make a crust out of 2 cups pitted dates, 2 cups raw walnuts, ¼ oats, and ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice in the food processor.
Spread mixture in a pie pan until it is evenly distributed.
The best part about this crust is you don’t even have to bake it! Just put it aside until the filling is ready.
Instead of the sugar-laden filling we are used to, try a pure pumpkin based one. Using these ingredients from Sugar Spice And Sparkles:
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 3 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/3 cup sugar – coconut sugar or white
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 2/3 cup almond or dairy milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM
- 1-13.5 oz can full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
- 2-4 Tbsp icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Cook the purée in the oven until it bubbles, then cool it. Put the filling in the crust and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Then serve! The kiddos won’t even know the difference.
Turkey Cheese Ball
Everybody gets hungry waiting for the Thanksgiving meal to be set out. You don’t want your children binging on grandma’s cookies while they wait, so offer something fun and delicious for all.
Start with a pre-made cheese ball and pretzel sticks crossed on each end to look like the tail feathers of a turkey.
Use one pretzel stick on the other end as the neck and then use a little bit of the cheese to fasten a candy corn beak and candy eyes to the top.
Lay crackers around the cheese ball and you will have one fun looking appetizer that will make the kids laugh.
Sweet Potatoes With Candied Pecans
A classic dish on thanksgiving is the sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, but this side dish is usually full of sugar.
Add a little hidden veggie to your kid’s meal by cooking a sweet potato dish that you will have to repeat throughout the year after they try it.
Start by slicing the peeled sweet potato in ¼” discs. Then layer them into a casserole dish.
Pour 2 cans of coconut milk, or 3 and ¾ cup of your milk of choice, in a saucepan with a vegetable of choice, and bring it to a boil.
Use whatever you have on hand, but some good options are leeks, carrots, or broccoli.
Pour boiling milk over sweet potatoes and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Cook pecans while this is baking for 5 minutes, just until they are brown.
Take sweet potatoes out of oven, sprinkle with the pecans. Let the dish cool off a bit before giving it to the kids, and then enjoy.
It is fun to get in the Thanksgiving mood early on. So while you are prepping the turkey, the kids can be eating a warm plate of pumpkin pancakes.
Begin with your favorite pancake recipe, and just add pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.
Pumpkin can replace oil in a recipe or you may have to add a little flour to compensate for the texture.
Crockpot Apple and Cinnamon Rice Pudding
Rice pudding is delicious and easily adaptable to make healthier than most desserts.
Adding apples really gives this recipe a kid-friendly twist, making it more like a hearty applesauce.
Rainy Day Mum has a great recipe that she uses with her kids to keep warm during the autumn days.
Her ingredients are as follows:
- 1 cup pudding rice (or risotto rice will work as well)
- 3 and a 1/2 cups semi-skimmed milk
- 1/2 cup of soft brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of sultanas
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 knob of unsalted butter
- 1 large cooking apple
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grease the crockpot before adding everything but the apples and vanilla extract.
After an hour and a half on high in the crockpot, add the diced and peeled apples and extract.
Cook on high another hour and then it is ready to enjoy!
Hummus is all the rage these days, and for good reason. It has protein, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals.
No wonder it is favored by moms and children alike!
Make hummus with a Thanksgiving twist by adding a savory pumpkin flavor to it.
Here are the ingredients posted by Sugar Spice and Glitter:
- 1 ½ tsp minced garlic
- 1 can chickpeas (15 oz)
- 1 ½ C pumpkin puree
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and that’s it! Cut up some raw vegetables to dip in it, or use pretzel sticks.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Muffins
Muffins are a great snack because they are convenient and kids won’t complain about eating them.
Try making these gluten-free muffins to keep the pumpkin flavor alive, as well as reducing allergens for your sensitive nephew coming to visit.
Soccer Mom Blog has a great recipe that will having you ask yourself if you’re sure they are gluten-free:
- 3/4 cup rice flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Baking times varie depending on how large you make the muffins, but mini muffins are a great option for little hands which would only require 15 minutes on 350 degrees.
Putting a menu together early for Thanksgiving will help alleviate some of the stress of preparing a big meal for a large crowd.
You may never be able to appease your judgmental aunt but at least you won’t have to contend with fussy kids while you hear about your bad choice in furniture.
Please let us know in the comments section if you have tried any of these recipes, or if you have a go-to favorite for your children.
(h/t Mommy Underground)