Making meals less serious and more of a fun, special event is a sure-fire way to get kids to try new foods. One way to do this is to plan a children’s tea party to introduce new foods in a fun and playful way.
Have your kids make some cute invitations for their friends and/or siblings and have all the kids dress up for a fancy tea party. Dolls, teddy bears and other special guests are invited too.
A Hands-On Menu with More
Serve finger foods, tea sandwiches and appetizers. The kids can then vote for their favorites. This is also an opportunity to reinforce proper table manners and etiquette. The key is to have a non-food incentive for well-behaved attendees that also try a new food.
“You’ll be surprised at how the kids will embrace new foods in a party setting.”
Here are some of our favorite tea party treats:
Tea sandwiches: Use cookie cutters to cut small shapes from whole-grain bread, then assemble bite-sized sandwiches. Some favorite combinations are cucumber and cream cheese, strawberries and ricotta, lean ham and provolone, or roasted red pepper and pesto.
Build-your-own:Smoothies and mini-pizzas are perfect, build-your-own tea party snacks that get the kids more involved in the moment. For smoothies, lay out plenty of fruits, greens, yogurt, and juices and let the kids pick their own combinations.
For pizzas, give each child a mini-pita, and let them top it with pizza sauce and cheese, plus their choice of pre-sliced vegetable pizza toppings. Place them all on a baking sheet and cook for just 10 minutes in the oven until golden and bubbly. Here are some simple recipes for homemade pizzas and a fun handout for adding a kid theme to the mix.
Mini kebabs: Cut the sharp ends off of skewers and make mini kebabs. Skewer your favorite combinations of things like artichoke hearts, olives, turkey or lean ham, cheese, fruits, and vegetables. You can also try fruit kabobs with your favorite bite size fruit! Check out another kebab idea here.
Spinach wraps: Layer 2-3 baby spinach leaves and fill with a small cube of cheese and a slice of roasted red pepper. Roll up and skewer with a toothpick. Check out some more wrap ideas here.
Upgraded grilled cheese: Upgrade from the usual grilled cheese by adding tomato, avocado, or using fancier cheeses such as Havarti, mozzarella, or pepper jack. Serve with mini-bowls of tomato soup. This is a great time to practice manners.
Cucumber sandwiches: Slice cucumbers into rounds. Spread one round with hummus and top with another round. It’s a cute twist on a tea sandwich!
Dippers: Fill small Dixie cups with dip and dippers! Our favorite combinations are hummus and sliced veggies or vanilla yogurt with fresh fruit.
Mini parfaits: Use small juice glasses or clear shot glasses to create dainty and beautiful parfaits. Create layers with low-fat Greek yogurt and small fruits like blueberries and juicy pomegranate seeds.
Salsa cups: Make a simple salsa with diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, black beans, salt and pepper. Serve in small cups or small ramekins with multi-grain tortilla chips.
Showcase exotic fruit: See if you can add uncommon and beautiful fruits from the grocery store. Star fruit and dragon fruit is sure to please. Star fruit is simple to slice and the slices look like glamorous stars. Dragon fruit has a bright pink outside, with a white and spotted inside. Kids will love the bright colors and new shapes, so they’ll be excited to try them!
Creative veggies: Top veggies with tasty treats! Spread peanut butter inside of a celery rib and top it with raisins or chocolate chips. Hollow out thick cucumber slices and fill them with hummus, pesto, tuna salad or Greek yogurt seasoned with minced fresh dill.
Fruit tea: Serve hot tea that is flavored with fruit like raspberry. Its slight sweetness will be received better than plain tea. If it’s a hot day, serve iced tea with fresh or frozen fruit mixed in the pitcher. Not only will it look beautiful, it will impart a subtle fruit flavor. Try sliced oranges, lemons, raspberries, blueberries or even pears.
Hosting a tea party is just one way to make the meal fun and special. You’ll be surprised at how the kids will embrace new foods in a party setting.