Salvadorean here, my kids will never turn down fried plantains and refried beans. Fast, simple and so tasty! It was my favorite growing up too!
Meatballs with gravy and smashed potatoes. You can think Ikea meatballs but home made from better ingredients. Salmon and potatoes. Pasta bolognese. Fish sticks. Strawberries and other berries. Porridge with milk or berrysoup. Usually kids eat what they parents eat but in the school lunch or kinder garten lunch or at your grandmas the former meals are beloved.
Mexican, and my favorite lazy food is migas. Get five tortillas per person, cut them in half and then slice them into strips, fry them, and pour two to three beaten eggs on top. Let that cook for a minute or two, just enough for the egg to slightly set, and then stir it around a bit so it’s not one giant mass. Serve and top with sour cream and salsa Valentina.
Another Norwegian here. Basically all kids like liver paté. Another surprising thing kids tend to like here is caviar. Not like the Russian kind, but this smoked cod roe product that we have here.
Egypt: a dish called Chicken Pané, a filet of chicken breast breaded and fried.
To trick your kids into eating veggies, you’d make them Zucchini Béchamel: imagine a lasagna but substitute the lasagna sheets for grilled long slices of zucchini. Tastes delicious actually, I loved it as a kid.
Potato meatballs, mashed potatoes with herb butter mixed with cooked minced meat. This concoction is then formed into a flattened ball (oval?) breaded and fried.
As a desert, Om Ali, torn up pieces of puff pastry or bread soaked in sweet hot milk, shredded coconut, crushed nuts & baked with a layer of sweet whipped cream on top. Not the healthiest but children and adults love it.
From Korea, I highly recommend gimbap! It looks similar to a Japanese sushi roll but no raw fish. Typically what goes in is rice, seasoned and sautéed veggies, fried egg, and meat of your choice. Lately, there has been a lot of American influence so I’ve also seen fusion gimbap like “hamburger gimbap” or ham and cheese. This may not be an everyday meal since it is work prepping all the ingredients you want to include, but it’s way easier than it looks! You don’t even need the sushi rolling mat. It’s also fun to get the kids involved asking them what foods they want to include and help constructing and rolling them up 🙂 kind of like pizza night- just with gimbap. It’s also a fun, easy, and delicious way to add more veggies into their diet.
When I lived in Ecuador as a kid pretty much all I ate was salchipapas. It’s French fries with cut up hot dogs in it. Soooo good
Belgian here. Our kids love stoofvlees, which is essentially a meat and beer stew. They eat it with french fries and apple sauce.
In Argentina as a kid I would always eat milanesas with mashed potatoes. It’s breaded thin meat (can be made with beef or chicken) and you either shallow fry it or bake it. I think most kids love milanesas, and if you bake them it can be a healthy meal. Spaghetti with tomato sauce was another frequent meal.
In Korea, kids usually eat kimchi fried rice, kimchi soup with rice and spicy stir-fried Korean rice cake(tteokbokki).
I’m for India and the only thing I’ve persistently loved since childhood is Rajma Chawal. It’s basically black kidney beans and rice. Try looking for an authentic recipe online. You can adjust the seasoning but oh god it’s lip smacking. Another thing was amritsari kulcha. A weird way to describe it would be saying it’s similar to stuffed naan. But waayyyy better. We eat it with chhole (chick peas) you should try that too!
Arroz con huevo frito. Cuban comfort dish – just white rice, fried egg on top, good squirt of ketchup on all of it. It’s what I make when I don’t really feel like cooking but I’m willing to wait 20 minutes for rice.
In Israel, ptitim (Israeli couscous) is usually seen as a classic kids food. It’s said kids are grown up when they start to prefer tahina over ketchup with their food.
China. My niece (2 years old) usually eat noodles with egg soup. The most common meals on China family table is “fried meals”, “fried in Chinese way”, aka “炒”. So kids eat 炒food with rice or Mantou(Chinese bread). Sometimes we just have dumplings.
Norway, daughter (4) has a glass of full milk in the morning, then 3 slices of bread with liverpâté and two small boxes of cucumber and bell peppers for the kindergarten (they don’t cook anymore during covid). Sometimes cubes of cheese, some fruit or a yogurt.
For dinner she doesn’t eat much, but she likes garlic bread, plain pasta/rice, loves broccoli and corn. We have chicken 3+ times a week that she likes, but wants all ingredients separate/deconstructed dishes.
We’re in Romania, and my kids eat what we eat, are not fussy, but when they were little, I had some go-to recipes such as omelette (simple, or with mushrooms, bacon, cheese etc.) with fresh tomatoes/cucumber/pepper, marinated meatballs, chicken in tomato sauce & potato puree, sauteed mushrooms, chicken rice, lentil soup, baked potato wedges & ketchup, carrot muffins. Our house rule is to always eat protein, vegetables, and fruit every day. If your kids don’t like cooked vegetables – no problem, they can eat fresh carrots and cucumbers and peppers as a snack.
I’m French, and I was sooo picky when I was a kid. I didn’t like any kind of cheese which was hard growing up in France ! I remember eating a lot of pasta with tomato sauce, rice, mashed potatoes, chicken, ham and fish sticks. My mom made us lots of soup in the winter too (I only liked it if it was a certain color though, no matter what was in it). The typical French dishes that I ate a lot were croque monsieur (two slices of bread with ham and cheese in it, but my mom made it without cheese for me lol), gratin dauphinois (sliced potatoes with lots of cream in it and oven baked), quiche lorraine (a kind of pie with lardons in it), quenelles (don’t really know how to explain this one but look it up it’s delicious), hachis parmentier (shepherds pie but without the vegetable), crepes, duck confit, ratatouille… I’m pretty sure I ate all of these even if I was very picky so these can be trusted ! I ate a ton of sweet stuff too like cakes and desserts because my mom is a great baker.
I’m in Australia – favourites in our house are lasagne (with hidden veg!), spaghetti bolognese, tacos, sushi rolls with tuna & avocado, shepherds pie, tuna pasta bake. My daughter also likes the Jamie Oliver hidden veg pizza sauce, I use it for pizza (obvs) but also pasta or anything that needs a tomato based sauce to boost the veg. I’m all about hiding the veg! I hide a head of cauliflower in Mac and cheese.
My Irish dad used to always make me potato cakes out of leftover mash potatoes and some flour. He then fries them and we’d have them with eggs and bacon. Not the healthiest but I used to really love it
Grew up in the US but in an Armenian household. Every once in a while we got McDonald’s but that was rare. Armenian kids tend to gravitate towards carbs and meats. Things like rice and potatoes or kebabs or the meat picked out of whatever dish mom made (like eating the meat from dolma but not the grape leaves or veggies it was stuffed in). Also soups. Chicken soup, meatball soup with a tomato base etc. soup was the way to get veggies in. Ketchup seems to be huge. My cousins kids alll drown their food in ketchup.
I am in USA but we are from India. My 3 year old eats – rice, daal, chicken kebabs, Indian veggie and meat dishes, parathas and rotis, chilla, dosa, Indian yogurt, (unflavoured) payesh (rice and milk dessert) fish coated with rava and baked/fried, baked fish, baked veggies. All these are cooked from scratch. Khinchdi is very easy and often made. He has boiled eggs, egg curries. He eats everything we eat like normal rice, curries but homemade curries are actually not spicy and quite healthy nothing like the restaurant curry.
I grew up in America but with immigrant parents and I generally ate what my parents ate minus some of the more spicy stuff:
White rice mixed with egg, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Fried rice with lots of colorful veggies. Omurice (basically fried rice with ketchup and covered with a thin omelette). Kimbap, which is like a sushi roll but no raw fish, just seasoned veggies and meat. Ssam, which is grilled meat with maybe a spoonful of rice and sauce, all wrapped up in lettuce. Miso soup and other mild, brothy soups. Small bits of grilled fish with rice. Salad and other raw veggies like carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes. Curry rice, like someone else mentioned. Lots of cut up fruit. Dumplings/potstickers. Kimchi rinsed in water so it’s not spicy but still has the fermented probiotics.
Molasses pancakes – goes well with gingerbread seasonings added – you can use whole wheat flour for these since the molasses has a strong enough flavor to “cover” the whole wheat. You can use the apple butter in place of maple or other syrup as the topping too. I grew up in semi-rural Appalachia (Virginia) which was my dad’s hometown, and of course have a fondness for regional comfort food.
Pork Tocino (a type of cured meat with a sweet savory flavor) with eggs and fried rice are a breakfast staple in the Philippines. We call it tosilog (tocino, sinangag which is Filipino for fried rice, and itlog which means egg).
Silog meals are highly popular in the Philippines in general. You can substitute the tocino for hotdogs (hotsilog), beef tapa (another type of cured meat), or boneless bangus (a fish that’s delicious but contains a ton of fish bones). Any type of fried protein, really.
I grew up in Vietnam and as soon as I could chew properly, I just ate all the same food as the adults in my family. Congee is a popular food for Viet kids but adults eat congee too, so there’s really no concept of “kids’ food” except for liquid baby food.
I’m in South Africa but I give my 3 year old meals from a variety of cuisines. Mild chickpea, Butterbean or cauliflower curries with coconut milk. Chilli con carne, spaghetti bolognese, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken breast or crumbed fish with salad. She basically just eats what we eat, which makes life a lot easier haha
From Quebec, we have “pâté chinois” (we do have a lot of “Chinese” thing”) that is also popular with kids. It’s a layer of ground beef, under a layer of corn, under a layer of mashed potatoes. You can hide other veggies in the potatoes if you want it healthier…
Uk kids food is pretty similar to US kids food, but one thing I was, and am still obsessed with, is gravy on everything. I was a super picky eater as a child, but always loved a roast dinner (British Sunday classic!) smothered in gravy
Also anything on toast is pretty popular kid food in the UK – baked beans on toast, cheese on toast, mushrooms on toast
And a final favourite from a former picky eater- baked potatoes, aka jacket potatoes! I recently revived this dish as an adult and made them topped with roasted broccoli and cheese, yum
Here in Spain my two top picks would be, ‘Arroz a la cubana’ and ‘croquetas’.
The first is simply white rice with tomato sauce and a fried egg sunny side up. With a side of a half of a pan fried (in oil) banana, if you are feeling fancy.
The second one is a leftover wonder: take any leftover meat and mix it with a béchamel until it gets thick, make a “football” shape, batter it and leave it in the fridge/freezer. When you want to eat them, fry them in very hot oil for 3-5min (olive oil is better, but it’s not compulsory). Remove from the oil when its golden brown all around. They are great and I’ve never met a kid that didn’t love them. Vegetable options are great, but meat ones are a must.
I’m from Northern Italy so I make a lot of risotto, my daughter loves those too. She’ll eat any veg if it’s in a risotto. She loves it with fennel, or zucchini, or celery root, or peas. I occasionally also make it with pear and blue cheese – so good.
As a former fuzzy eater from Sweden the one meal from my childhood that’s ingrained into my brain is meatballs & pasta with ketchup, to this day it’s my secret favourite comfort meal!
Other than that these were some of the classics served both at school and at home:
Swedish blood pudding (different from the classic British one)
Pyttipanna (literal translation: Things in a pan, mix of ham, potatoes, and onions cut into very very small cubes)
Potato cakes basically like hashbrowns
Soft or hard bread with Swedish kaviar (comes on a tube) and cucumber/cheese/ham
Blueberry or Raspberry soup
Bread/cereals for breakfast. Lunch and dinners are typically a carb (rice or noodles), veggies and protein.
Noodles could be stir-fried, or eaten with a braised meat gravy. My son also loves fishball soup (anchovy soup stock, noodles, fishballs and cabbage).
We do steamed white rice or mixed grains. Stir fry veg, steamed fish or braised meat. My son loves soup but our soups are usually like a stock (clear soups) in american equivalent. For example, his favourite soup is abc soup (carrot, onion, corn, pork ribs or chicken bones boiled over the stove for 2-3hours). Super easy and full of nutrients.
Canadian kid (I’m in high school) with Italian-Scottish grandparents. They basically raised my until I was 5 so I ate a lot of pasta, stracatella? soup, beef sausage, chicken parmigiana and pastina soup. Also had lots of fresh bread, homemade tomato sauce, homemade pizza. My Scottish grandmother made mincemeat pies, chicken pot pie, Shepard’s pie, beef stew with dumplings, along with various pastries and apple pie.
Also had stuff like Kraft Dinner quite often, hot dogs and hamburgers, peameal bacon for breakfast.
Central Europe here. I would say that here it’s schnitzel with fries or potato mash (everything potato based should be good!). You can also make schnitzel/strips and even the fries in the oven as a healthier variation 🙂 Another dishes are pasta with tomato sauce and cheese, chicken soup with noodles, crepes with ham and cheese, fried cheese with potatoes.
My wife’s family is viet/chinese. They feed babies “jook” or “cook” (depending on who you ask).
It’s a rice slurry with tiny bits of meat and veg in it. At first it’s very thin and all the bits are so tiny it has no texture whatsoever (blended). Eventually the chunks get bigger, the jook gets thicker and the kids have to chew it. It’s a very adaptable dish that has everything you need in it. Right now it has carrots, chicken, barley, buckwheat, rice, broccoli, garlic and chicken marrow. My MIL also juices several green vegetables and adds that. She keeps adjusting it as our daughter gets older and as long as we feed her that, I have no worries about the rest of her diet.
I usually pound down the leftovers instead of taking vitamins.
American, but I had Polish inlaws feeding my kiddo. She ate a lot of soft/fatty sausages, perogies, potatos babka, and SOUPS.
Dane here. Spicy meatballs with boiled potatoes, cauliflower purée, and roasted fresh green bean/ roasted beets topped with balsamic vinegar (thick glaze if you can find it).
In Costa Rica we do a lot of combinations of legumes with protein. I personally like to use the slow cooker and leave it overnight with one protein (pork, beef or chicken) and one legume (lentils, white beans, chickpeas) and a little seasoning (salt, pepper, maybe a bay leaf, paprika for color). The meat will be tender and the legumes will absorb its flavor. If your kids don’t like soups as it’s common, then use less water and you’ll end up having a saucy dish instead. You can even add diced tomato and oregano if you like.
German here – Cucumber with Maggi, Spätzle baked with cheese, Schnitzel, Potato salad, mashed potato, fish sticks, fried noodle with eggs, baked noodle with egg, ham and tomato sauce and of course Vesper, so basically a good sourdough bread with sausage, cheese and raw veggies
In Romania I remember eating lots of schintzels, puree, fried potatoes, baked chicken in the oven, hotdogs, nuggets and mcdonalds
When I was a kid (in Canada) I loved grill cheese and tomato soup !! And I still do actually lol
I don’t know how it is nowadays, but when I was a kid, every kid ate krentenbollen (currant buns) here in the Netherlands. A (peanut) butter/chocolate (either spread or sprinkles) sandwich was also very common.
Here in Belgium, two dishes I can think about are meatballs in a tomato sauce, and also some kind of chicken stew, called vol-au-vent.
American, but my grandma would make “cowboy chicken” basically cook a chicken breast in a pan and deglaze with apple juice. It was two things a kid could wrap their head around and I loved it.
Norway here.Komler, a kind of boiled potatoball with butter, bacon, lamb meat and kohlrabi puree.
As a Jew lemme tell you about latkes. Basically a potato pancake. My kid loves to dip them in applesauce in the morning, ketchup at night. They’re versatile, filling, easy to make, you hold them in your hand…Perfect kid food.
Los Angeles born, moved to Amsterdam, so naturally he likes poffertjes (mini pancakes).
He won’t eat french fries, only eats ketchup with his finger, so we outlawed that, no chicken nuggets of any kind (or shape).
My daughter loves Loco Moco (Hawaiian comfort food) bowl
The basics: Hamburger patty over white rice with gravy on top of the hamburger patty when an easy fried egg on top.
In the Netherlands, kids just eat what their parents eat, in smaller portions. Made possible by the fact that strong seasonings are virtually non-existent in our cuisine. E. g. Hutspot, a mashed potato dish with vegetables like carrots and onions in it, served with smooth smoked sausage (rookworst)
In Jamaica I ate a lot of patties (meat filled pastry), mackerel in tomato sauce with rice, and canned corned beef cooked in a pan with tomato sauce on rice, or mixed with mayo on hard dough bread. Rice and peas. Loooots of fresh fruit. Bag juice, milk, and champagne cola.
Hungary: various “főzelék” type foods. A főzelék is similar to the French potage: a vegetable soup thickened with flour and tejföl (somewhere between sour cream and creme fraiche). Usually made with legumes or tubers. Squash is a popular ingredient too, but children tend to dislike it. Can be eaten without toppings but it’s more frequently topped with fried eggs, hot dogs, or some meat stew.
Maqloube, think of a casserole, with lamb or beef, plenty of vegetables but notably, cauliflower and/or eggplant with rice, served upside-down. I’m Arab and spent a lot of time growing up in Lebanon.
From Quebec, my parents used to make “chinese macaroni” (macaroni with dark soy sauce and pieces of pork or chicken), bologna, ground beef with brown sauce and onions, lots of ham sandwiches
We are from hispanic background but are accustomed to eating food from different cultures. My picky eaters will never turn down refried pinto beans, Mexican red rice, with quesadillas.
Bulgarian here, we eat a phyllo and cheese dish similar to greek spanakopita without the spinach with a side of non sweetened yogurt, kids also eat it for breakfast and snacks. In general we don’t really have “childish” foods other than pre-packaged snack food, but eggs are usually served to kids bc of how quickly they can be ready. Rice cooked with our “sour” (I think fermented) cabbage, tomato and cucumber salad, bread with butter and summer savory, bread with a red pepper spread, and sandwiches with cheese and tomato and mayo would all be common things you’d serve to children as well
In Honduras, it was usually tortillas, beans, eggs, and cheese even quesadillas or bean soup.
Gf is Serbian and I’m latino, so our 2 year old girl gets burek, stir frys, lots of stews and soups, pancakes and eggs for breakfast as she loves those, and the typical pastas, pizza every now and then, oven baked fish and chicken fingers