Developing a love for the traditional tastes of Thanksgiving can begin as early as your baby's first Thanksgiving (assuming she's at least 6 months old). Older children can begin to participate in the preparation of the meal. And because many traditional Thanksgiving dishes are wholesome and veggie packed, this is a great opportunity to let the excitement of a holiday encourage healthy eating. Here's a guide for including your children in great feast.
While there are plenty of jarred baby foods for beginning eaters, why not let your little one experience the thrill of a home cooked meal along with everyone else. Check out Baby's First Thanksgiving Recipes and Thanksgiving Baby Food Recipes for some easy ideas for making baby-friendly dishes right alongside the main meal. And if you must use jarred food, look for the fall favorites line from Earth's Best Organics baby food or Gobble Gobble from Happy Baby (available at Whole Foods).
Also be sure to review the food safety guidelines to ensure baby has a delicious and safe holiday.
Involve your kids in the prep work. The youngest kids can roll out pie crust, wash potatoes, unwrap butter, or arrange vegetables on the crudite platter. They can sir and dump and pour. With a little creativity you can come up with many safe ways to let your child help in the preparation. Letting them do real work in the kitchen gives children a sense of accomplishment and makes them feel like an important part of the holiday.
Older kids can follow simple recipes all on their own. Have them make the deviled eggs (once they've been safely removed from the boiling water of course), or even the pumpkin pie!
By actively seeking to involve even the littlest children in the preparation and feasting, this Thanksgiving can be a fabulous treat for the whole family!