It’s important to expose kids to a variety of foods early on to increase their comfort with a variety of cuisines, and as Americans it’s also helpful to be familiar with cultural foods. A few cuisines that have become popular in my house are that of Latin, Japanese, and Mediterranean origins.
Mangu Breakfast Bowl
Plantains are a staple in Central American cooking, and since they look like bananas, can be an easy food to introduce to your kids. Mangu – a mashed plantain dish – is super palatable for kids of any age. A breakfast mangu bowl is made by boiling green plantains before mashing them with a little butter and salt. Top the mashed plantains with eggs cooked in your child’s preferred style as well as some sliced or cubed avocado.
Japanese Noodle Bowl
My son is always excited when I make soba noodle stir fry with tofu, so it’s an easy dish to introduce new vegetables with. Typical vegetables in Japanese cuisine that kids may not often be exposed to are bok choy and cabbage, so you can rotate those in with more familiar ones such as snap peas and carrots.
Moroccan Couscous Bowl
Mediterranean food is more mainstream in the US, and since Morocco is in Africa, but borders the Mediterranean, these dishes can help make kids more comfortable with African foods, too. Make a Moroccan bowl with couscous, vegetables and a protein they love. Cook the couscous with chicken or vegetable broth and add small amounts of cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon. Mix with sauteed garlic, bell pepper, carrots, onion and chickpeas. You can then fold in raisins for a new application and fresh mint, which many kids may not eat in other dishes. Hold back on some ingredients to start if you have a selective eater, and add new ones each time you make the dish.