When it comes to hosting families, it can be a challenge to find options that are appealing to adult and child alike. Although all kids are unique, it’s hard to deny that they can be generally pickier than adults when it comes to food preferences — and that can be stressful for a hostess! Before Shannon became a mom (and even sometimes still!), she’d call Jenna before hosting their families and ask, “What should I have on hand for the kids?!” Over the years, though, we’ve come up with several go-to kid-friendly food options that satisfy kids of all ages!
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Serving up tasty food to little ones might cause you stress, but we’ve got you covered with our top 5 Kid-Friendly Food Ideas that we’re sharing below. Then, you’ll want to keep scrolling because we’re talking about two rules of thumb for foods to avoid, and a curated list of our favorite kid-friendly food items at the bottom of this post!
5 Kid-Friendly Food Ideas
When Hosting Families
1. Charcuterie Boards
If you’re looking for a food option that satisfies guests of all ages, you can’t go wrong with a charcuterie or snack board! Traditionally made with meats and cheeses, these boards are sure-fire crowd-pleasers. Consider mixing it up with dried or fresh fruit, along with kid-friendly favorites, such as salami, pepperoni, and American or cheddar cheese.
Does styling a charcuterie board sound intimidating?
Check out our How to Make a Charcuterie Board in 5 Minutes tutorial!
2. Chips & Dip
One of our favorite things about going to our grandmothers’ houses was when the chips and dips were put out before dinner! We have so many favorite combinations, but you can’t go wrong with an array of salsas, sour cream dips and queso, paired with tortilla and potato chips. You’ll be shocked at how quickly those chips and dips disappear!
(Looking for something quick and easy? Check out our Mimi’s Chip Dip for easy kid-friendly entertaining!)
3. Frozen Protein
If you sometimes have unexpected company, it’s a great idea to keep frozen protein, such a chicken nuggets or corn dogs, in your freezer. These items heat up easily in approximately 20 minutes and are gobbled up by kids of all ages! Tip: if you’re looking for a healthier spin on traditional chicken nuggets, we love Perdue Chicken Plus Vegetable Dino Chicken Nuggets to sneak some veggies into a meal.
#HostfulHack: Go halfway homemade with a chicken nugget platter when expecting families in your home. Many local grocery stores and fast food restaurants offer large spreads of family favorites that just need to be popped in the oven to be reheated! Quick, easy & crowd-pleasing.
Want something fresh to sweeten up your kid-friendly food offerings? Fruit is the perfect solution! In general, we love to serve strawberries, watermelon, and grapes (just be sure to cut grapes in half for the little ones due to choking hazard!) and serve freshly rinsed and chilled.
5. Pantry Staples
Having non-perishables on hand in your pantry is the easiest way to have kid-friendly food items without much prep. We love to keep basic staples in our pantries, including potato chips, pretzels, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Cheddar Crackers and Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Straws. If you want to quickly prepare pretzels for the party, you may use a Gluten Free Soft Pretzel Baking Mix.
Tip: Choose the Single-Serve Bags for a hassle-free snack during birthday parties and other kid-friendly gatherings!
Kid-Friendly Food Ideas: What to Avoid
We have a friend who we often jokingly say “eats like a kid.” What does that mean? She eats everything very plain. No herbs on pizza. No lettuce on a sub. No specialty sauces that have “green things” in them. (Scallions.) And no mayo or mustard on sandwiches. Everything needs to be plain.
Well, as much as we (good-heartedly) tease her about her plain preferences, “keeping it plain” is an important thing to keep in mind when preparing for kid-friendly foods when hosting in your home. Go plain, and you can always add on herbs and other seasonings for adults or adventurous kids. Choose crackers with no sesame seeds and salami without the zesty pepper coating. It might be delicious, but most kids will stare at these offerings suspiciously. Go plain, but offer options.
Finally, it’s also important to keep spice in mind. Salsa can be a kid-friendly favorite for chips and dip, but if you choose a spice over mild, you might find that kids aren’t into it. Always go light on spice, and then offer options for ones who prefer the heat.
#HostfulHack: Label which condiments (salsas, dips, etc.) aren’t spicy so that guests can easily decide which offerings suit their preferences. For kid-friendly signs, go for a smiley face for mild foods.