How to Make Food Fun for Kids

In the National Restaurant Association® annual “What’s Hot” culinary forecast, more than 1,300 professional chefs were surveyed to predict the hottest restaurant menu trends for 2017. Chefs were asked to rank 169 culinary crazes as “hot,” “yesterday’s news” or a “perennial favorite.” Coming in as one the top 10 hottest food trends is healthful kids’ meals.

Healthful kids’ meals that are both balanced and fun are a win for parents and kids. We’ve developed ideas for restaurants, healthcare facilities and other food service organizations wondering how to make food fun for kids, while still offering healthy options.

Fun and Healthful Kids’ Meal Ideas

While chicken tenders and fries are still popular items on the kids’ menu, we’re seeing an increase in healthful kids’ meal items such as salads, fruit, whole grains and lean proteins. Many chefs are paying close attention to these and other of the hottest food trends for kids in an effort to please the next generation of customers (and their parents). If you’re looking for ideas on how to make food fun for kids while still being healthy, we’ve got you covered:

· Smoothies: Breakfast smoothies can be a great way to pack fiber, protein and a slew of fruits and veggies into one meal. Did we mention they taste great, too? Throw in kid-favorite fruits, yogurt or milk, some whole grain oats or wheat germ, and maybe even a green or two. Give it a silly name and toss in a bright, patterned drinking straw. This healthy start to the day is sure to please even the most selective eater.

· Healthful Grains: A variety of whole grain and gluten-free foods are making a star appearance on kids’ menus—think pizza crust, pancakes, breads and side dishes including rice, noodles and quinoa.

· Fruits and Veggies: Many food service operations are offering alternatives to the typical side of fries. Veggie sticks, skewered tomatoes with mozzarella, berry cups or apple slices are kid-approved favorites. Serve in one of our many Simply Baked® cups—they come in a variety of sizes, colors and patterns. And don’t forget the dipping sauce! Plate up these nutritious sides with an equally nutritious dipping sauce like Greek yogurt or hummus.

· Ethnic Foods: A Datassential study referenced by Nestle® revealed two in three parents say their kids enjoy mainstream ethnic foods including Mexican and Chinese; five in 10 say their kids will venture into more daring cuisine including Indian, Vietnamese and Moroccan. Baked egg rolls, whole grain quesadillas or chicken satay can be both fun and nutritious for kids. Simply Baked® by Hoffmaster® petite cups come in a variety of kid-approved colors and patterns and make perfect vessels for dipping sauces and au jus. And our line of party picks come in vibrant colors and are perfect for satay, kebobs and other types of skewered meat.

· Non-Fried Items: Kids can savor all the flavor while avoiding unhealthy fat when menu choices are baked—not fried. Baked chicken, sweet potato fries and house-made chips are both healthy and loved by kiddos.

These food options are sure to be a hit—in fact, your kid-diners will hardly be able to stand the wait. Keep them entertained while food is prepped with a Color Me® Placemat Combo or Poly Packaged Triangular Crayons and paper—a crowd pleaser for both youngsters and their parents.

We hope we’ve helped demystify how to make food fun for kids and nutritious. Try any of these kid-friendly and parent-approved healthful kids’ meal options in your establishment. Smiling diners with happy bellies await!

Check out these kid-approved culinary accompaniments

· Simply Baked® by Hoffmaster® petite cups

· Simply Baked® by Hoffmaster® large cups

· Simply Baked® by Hoffmaster® party picks

· Simply Baked® by Hoffmaster® drinking straws

The kiddos won’t mind the wait with these fun activities

· Color Me® Placemat Combo

· Poly Packaged Triangular Crayons