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Creative ways to get your kids to eat turkey (and more!) on Thanksgiving Day

Molly Cerreta Smith loves writing about all things mommy, parenting, food, health and travel. When she's not staring into the face of her Mac, she loves to hike, read, do messy crafts with her kids and compete in BBQ competitions with he...

Get your kids to gobble up their turkey

Here's the scene: You're sitting down to a lovely Thanksgiving dinner and giving thanks for everything you have in your life. Next thing you know, you are hollering at your children to eat their green beans. Soooo not the point of Thanksgiving! Instead of fighting the never-ending "eat your dinner" battle this holiday, try some creative new ways to present turkey dinner to your pickiest eaters.


That's a wrap

You know what they say — you eat first with your eyes. And that holds true for kids, too. So instead of slicing a slab of turkey onto your child's plate, present a fun new way for him to try turkey —  like a wrap.

The Fresh Diet's chief culinary officer, chef Yos Schwartz, suggests turning a Turkey Day meal into a fun and healthy wrap that's less than 300 calories, yet packed with 23 grams of protein.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped cooked turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup diced Granny Smith apple
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons of non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup leftover cranberry sauce
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 cups baby spinach

Directions:

  1. Combine first nine ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly, set aside.
  2. To assemble a wrap, lay tortillas out.
  3. Place 1/2 cup of spinach on the bottom edge of each tortilla and top each with a quarter of the turkey mixture.
  4. Fold bottom of tortilla over most of the filling, fold over sides and roll up.
  5. Repeat with remaining tortillas, slice in half and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Check out more sensational sandwiches your kids will love >>

Let kids play with their food

Joan Martin Fee of Make Healthy Fun suggests cutting up turkey and other Thanksgiving accouterments such as vegetables and fruit and helping your children turn the components of their Thanksgiving meal into a Totem Pole Dinner. Check out her site for complete directions on how to construct your own Thanksgiving-themed Totem Pole Dinner.

Take baby steps

Deanna Cole, PsyD, MBA, licensed psychologist and mom of two turkey eaters in Maryland, notes that a little compliment goes a long way at the dinner table. She says, "The best way to get kids eating is to encourage even small effort. Throw in some praise and they'll gobble it up. Some kids respond well to my personal favorite way to eat turkey — add a bit of Jell-O salad or cranberry sauce per bite to liven it up."

Once you've conquered turkey, encourage your kids to eat more veggies >>

Give turkey a facelift

Thanksgiving dinner can only be repeated (and reheated!) so many times before it gets tiring for even the most dedicated turkey lover. So nutrition/health expert and certified and licensed professional wellness coach Jackie Keller suggests giving leftover turkey a whole new look! The founding director and executive chef of Los Angeles' healthy food company NutriFit and author of Body After Baby: The Simple 30-Day Plan to Lose Your Baby Weight, suggests the following tips:

  • Incorporate the turkey into a filled pasta dish, like manicotti or shells. Minced and mixed with ricotta cheese, it "disguises" well!
  • Minced and bound in a mixture with egg whites, whole wheat bread crumbs, diced onions and seasonings, it makes a great croquette.
  • Cut into small cubes and mixed with chopped apples, grapes, celery and jicama, and dressed with a reduced fat or fat-free mayonnaise, it makes a great pita pocket sandwich.

More creative ideas for Thanksgiving turkey

Thanksgiving recipes
Tips for better Thanksgiving dishes

Turkey turnovers

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