3 Ways to Get Picky Eaters to Pick Turkey

3 Ways to Get Picky Eaters to Pick Turkey

Anyone who regularly serves kids knows that pleasing them at mealtime can be challenging. Children’s limited palates make them more likely to want familiar foods rather than trying something new. But it’s important for their developing minds and bodies to get enough fruits, vegetables and especially protein. Here are three ways to encourage kids to give turkey a chance:

  1. Start with Micro Portions

Big portions can be overwhelming for children. K-12 operators may need to provide specific serving sizes at mealtime, but restaurant operators should explore scaling down portions for their kids’ menu options. If an adult meal includes four slices of turkey, make it one or two for the kids’ menu version. Consider offering samplers that feature small amounts of a few different foods or multiple preparations of one food to give young diners a manageable way to try something new.

  1. Use Simple Descriptors

Food descriptions are powerful. But while adults may enjoy detailed ingredient descriptions on menus, kids respond better to simpler language to describe dishes on school and restaurant menus. Prepare them for the food they’re about to eat by using appetizing but age-appropriate terms like “juicy,” “crispy” or “cheesy.” When adapting a regular adult menu item to a smaller, kids’ menu version, remember to simplify the language; for example, change “tender” to “soft” and “savory” to “salty.”

  1. Vary Preparation

If child reject a food in one form, they may be more likely to try it a different way. To introduce young kids to turkey, offer it in a variety of formats like ground turkey, turkey bacon, turkey burgers, turkey sausage and sliced turkey. Here are some delicious recipes featuring different preparations of turkey to help kids warm to it:

  • This Tuscan Turkey Pasta combines familiar penne pasta with diced tomatoes, green spinach, zucchini and tender turkey medallions.
  • Instead of beef or chicken, serve Turkey Quesadillas with the usual melted cheese, pico de gallo and warm tortillas kids already know and love.
  • Bring the flavors of a backyard barbecue to the cafeteria with this sweet and savory BBQ-Glazed Thigh Roast Sandwich, featuring shredded turkey thigh.
  • Kids already love burgers, so why not show them how delicious turkey patties can be with a variety of flavors like those in this Teriyaki Burger, Pizza Burger or Gyro Burger?


With these tips, you can help kids incorporate more lean protein into their diets. How do you introduce new foods to picky eaters? Share your thoughts on our Facebook or LinkedIn pages, and visit our Resource Center for more tips and trends.




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