Five Thanksgiving Foods Your Kids Will Talk About in Therapy

Ah, Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving.

That wonderful time of year when we gather ’round the table with family and friends to count our blessings and work for 12+ hours preparing a meal that will take 20 minutes tops to consume and whose leftovers will haunt us until Easter. I’m on the record talking dirt about all the Thanksgiving foods I’m not a fan of, but in the grand tradition of being the change we want to see in the world, I’m going into this Thanksgiving with a more open-minded attitude about turkey and its twenty billion side dishes. I’m hoping that if I get excited about stuffing, maybe C will, too.

I’m naive, aren’t I?

Eat a roll

Simon Holland gets it.

The truth is that every meal can be a battle if you have small children, and Thanksgiving doesn’t make that any easier. Thanksgiving presents the rare opportunity for your child to show off to your entire extended family a., her reluctance to eat anything besides Goldfish, and b., your complete lack of parental influence on her choices. Here in the South, if you make it through the Thanksgiving meal without all of your aunts saying “Bless her heart” at least four times each, go ahead and nominate yourself for parent of the year.

Here are the top five foods that will likely be included on your Thanksgiving table. Incidentally, they are also the top five foods that make your child throw up in her mouth a little.

Photo Credit: David D on Flickr

Photo Credit: David D on Flickr

1) Turkey

Any other day of the year, C will give her left arm for a turkey sandwich. She worships at the altar of processed deli meat and nearly passes out in sheer ecstasy whenever her grandmother surprises her with a Lunchable.

But when you bring out meat of any kind and it looks like, y’know, meat? You better have some Hot Pockets on hand or else she might demand your soul as penance.

This year, we’re going to add some bacon to the turkey in the hopes that she’ll actually eat it. Bacon is proving to be her kryptonite and hopefully it won’t fail us on this, the most important of the eating holidays. Fingers crossed.

What she’ll eat instead: a stick of pepperoni. And not the BS turkey kind.

2) Sweet Potatoes

Anyone who has ever questioned the benevolence of God needs only to be shown the wonder that is the sweet potato. As it is written in Jeremiah 5:38*,“I shall unite the starchy glory of the potato and the savory succulence of the pumpkin to create a new vegetable that shall delight and bring comfort to all who partakes of it.”

On paper, the sweet potato sounds like it was created for the sole consumption of a toddler. ON PAPER. But of course, she’d rather eat her shoe.

*It totally doesn’t say that. I have already been smited.

What she’ll eat instead: a bag of chips

3) Cranberry Sauce

Whenever I see my daughter scarfing down SweeTarts at Halloween, I am filled with this adorable optimism that harkens back to my pre-parenthood days. Maybe, just maybe, her love for painful candy will translate into a love for cranberry sauce.

Then I remember that everything about parenthood defies logic and that since effort was actually exerted to create our family’s cranberry relish, my daughter will most definitely not eat it.

What she’ll eat instead: pickles and sugar cubes

4) Green Bean Casserole

The American Bar Association cites compulsory vegetable consumption as the #1 complaint of minors claiming emancipation from their parents. So unless you want your three-year-old to drag you to court, don’t make her eat the green bean casserole.

What she’ll eat instead: nothing. She’ll go on a hunger strike until you promise to never again sully her plate with anything green.

5) Stuffing

When I polled my Facebook friends on the dishes their kids are least likely to eat at Thanksgiving*, stuffing was far and away the most reviled dish. And can you blame the youth of today for hating it? It’s hard enough getting a child to eat plain cornbread, so the idea of crumbling it up and adding carrots, celery, and mushrooms to it is on par with just mixing in poop.

*I strive to bring you accurate information here on my blog and this is just another testament of the rigorous research I do in preparation of each post.

What she’ll eat instead: hair. Seriously. She’d rather eat hair than actual food.

What foods do you have trouble getting your kids to eat each Thanksgiving? What are the crowdpleasers? Tell me in the comments.

Just because your kid won’t enjoy Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Here are some awesome recipes that are sure to please:

Butter Pecan Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Green Bean Casserole

Cranberry Sauce

Italian Sausage and Bread Stuffing


  1. Oh, yeah, Thanksgiving and Christmas meals: the time when your parents’ disapproval of your child’s diet shames you into feeling 4 years old again. *sigh* I remember those days well! Now I’M the one with weird food limitations. ;)

    1. As long as pumpkin pie is on your menu, feel no shame!

      1. Alas, no. :'( Not unless it has a GF crust!

        1. That’s doable!

  2. Hahahahaha this CRACKED ME UP. My favorite thing to eat when I was little was celery with cream cheese. I think my mom just started doing it so I’d have something to do (3-4 year olds filling celery with cream cheese lead to hilarious results, by the way).

    1. My daughter actually really liked that too! I chalk it up to all the cream cheese I ate when I was pregnant with her. It was pretty much the only thing I craved 😍

  3. Crazy… I’ll have to ask my folks what I was like….. I don’t remember not-eating anything except mackerel and eggs….

    1. The mackerel was a good call on your part.

  4. And do you have sage and onion stuffing too? I used to eat it raw, before it got anywhere near the bird (in our case usually chicken)…

    1. I’ve never had that, but I have an illogical aversion to sage…

  5. Sweet potatoes are nasty, so I’m with C on that one. Chips sounds great by comparison!! May lose the cranberry sauce as well, but we’re good with the rest!! Lol. Have a great Thanksgiving!

    1. Yeah, me too, Don. Unless they’re made into French fries, then yum!

    2. I know, right? Even better? Cheetos.

  6. You are so funny – luckily in my family, you have the choice of all that PLUS an entire other meal including Ravioli, Meatballs, Sausages, Chicken Cutlet Parmigiana and Antipasto. Of which, my son will eat… plain spaghetti with sauce and a little parm (because, well, it smells like wet & dirty socks – of which, I have to agree). Also he’ll consume his weight in meatballs. And bread. I’ve never met a kid that doesn’t like Ravioli or Baked Ziti – he doesn’t like the cheese…. I’m not sure he’s actually related to me… I’m having DNA testing done for an Xmas ‘gift’.

    Joking aside – my son will actually try most anything even if he decides he doesn’t like it. He’s a great eater and my Italian family always says “Bless his heart, he’s a good eater, that one” – then later on, during dessert, they’ll pounce on him for eating too much…because it’s not a family holiday if you don’t actually give someone the seeds of an eating disorder to sprout.

    He’ll be joining C in group therapy in later years.

    Happy Thanksgiving!!

    1. Hahahaha! Can I crash your family Thanksgiving? I need more meatballs in my life!

      1. Hee hee – If you miss Thanksgiving, there’s always Christmas – but add a ham and/or roast beef instead of turkey.

        I’d love to have you in my Thanksgiving memories!

        1. Booking tickets now…

          1. If you ever come to Tucson – you must visit me for reals :)

  7. My kids will not eat any of these items separately. But I make thanksgiving shepherd’s pie with the leftovers.. just basically layer everything together in the casserole dish, and that disappears. So maybe just make a Thanksgiving smoothie?

    1. I don’t know if I will ever get the image of a Thanksgiving smoothie out of my head.

    2. That’s so funny, Rollergiraffe, my family is opposite – they would never eat something savory in pie formation – and 90% of ‘fruit’ -using it loosely -variety, for that matter. They’d starve in the UK. I wish they’d eat some of it b/c some of it looks interesting to try. Especially Shepard’s Pie.

  8. Lol this is funny. Thanks for this, it was a great read!

    1. Thanks for reading!

  9. I’m about to walk out the door to go to my kids’ Thanksgiving Feast at school. In my purse is a roll, a cheese stick and two yogurt tubes. That is what my kids will be feasting on. Oh, and the desserts, of course.

    1. Sounds about right. 😂😂😂

  10. weathervaneandcupola · · Reply

    Oh now having spent a lotta time in the south I’m gonna have to disagree on the beloved sweet potato.. when dressed up right it’s a rather sweet dish! Gotta do the pecan casserole thing with it with the mini marshmallows toasted on top!

    1. Please do! It’s delicious and actually quite healthy.

  11. Funny! And this is why I’m bringing steamer bags of corn to my mother’s house. That’ll be all she eats.

    1. Ha! I believe it.

  12. Solid foods! Bah!
    Thanksgiving turkey is a horror. Do you know what my mother does to it? She empties a whole bottle of sparkling wine on it while it’s cooking. Sacrilege.

    1. Tell her she should buy an extra bottle to empty into her mouth while it’d cooking.

      1. She does actually do that! But she hovers near the oven, so I’m sometimes afraid to go near her… I miss out on a lot of wine that way…

        1. I think that’s a strategic move on her part.

  13. The fact that parents are offering alternatives is pretty great. My family’s rule when I was a kid: you eat what’s for dinner…or go hungry. The only thing I didn’t eat…brussel sprouts. Good luck parents…thank God I am not one of those yet!

    1. Brussels sprouts aren’t half bad! But yeah, my 3 YO wouldn’t eat one if it were the last food on earth.

  14. I hope the bacon works magic for you! Can’t wait to read the follow up post after the celebration is over!!

    1. Bacon *is* pretty magical. I have high hopes.

  15. Now that our kids are adults they’ll eat anything…as long as we have enough bottles of wine to wash it all down with.

    Big kids = big problems.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Miss Emily!

    1. A family that imbibes together spends time together. That’s gotta be written somewhere, right? Happy Thanksgiving, Peg!

  16. Cody and Carter are such boring Thanksgiving diners – eating only their Grandmother’s homemade rolls.

    1. Dang, that sounds good 😛

  17. I’m surprised to see stuffing on the list. There’s isn’t a soul in my family who doesn’t love stuffing.

    1. We’ll give you ours 😇

      1. I’ll take it!

  18. Myn teenage daughter used to request and get a turkey tv dinner on Thanksgiving. She said the regal dinner I cooked was to dry.

    1. Boooo! More for you 😍

  19. LOVE this, LOL — We started our own tradition when Thanksgiving started to resemble more closely Stressgiving, HA! We all go out to a movie theatre that serves dinner :-D And I’m thankful for no dishes, no left overs, no cooking, no grocery shopping because let’s face it – it’s expensive! I’m thankful for no getting up in the middle of the night to check on the bird or time the ham, I’m also thankful for not feeling a tad bit resentful about everyone else having fun while I’m cooking… #Truth… it has happened :-/ HAPPIEST OF THANKSGIVINGS TO YOU!!! Hope yours totally rocks!!!

    1. I love this idea! Also, can I join your family 🤓

      1. Honorary membership granted ;-)

  20. We’re going to have a separate kids table this year so my daughter will be unsupervised. She very well may not eat anything

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised.

  21. It’ll be interesting since this is the first year my kid will eat solid food for Turkey Day. I bet he won’t go for cranberry sauce. Stuffing? He’ll stuff his face. Go carbs.

    1. Team Carbs for the win!

  22. My grandmother served a cold relish tray on the big holidays that included pickles, so that is totes legit in my book.

    My first kid had an exaggerated gag reflex, and for her first five years of life she did not throw up in her mouth a little; she threw up in her plate. Because a tiny piece of crushed pineapple had passed unnoticed in the whipped sweet potatoes, and she literally couldn’t swallow it.

    I put a bit of everything on Squish’s plate for decoration, and then he eats rolls and turkey.

    1. It’s good to practice plate feng shui. I think I have a Pinterest board for that.

  23. Love this one! this is so common on all traditional parties! We need to be creative … and compassionate for te little ones!

  24. Funny! My youngest loves turkey, jellied cranberry sauce and macaroni & cheese! That’s it…don’t even think of adding anything additional to the party:) To keep all our stress levels down, we focus on spending time together as a family and the delicious desserts.

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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