Introducing kids to new foods can be hard, even if your child isn’t a picky eater. And, it can be difficult to consistently provide them with a meal that is well-balanced, enjoyable, and a little out of their comfort zone. If you have more than one child, the thought of having to cook and satisfy different appetites can lead to cooking the same old, same old every night because it beats arguing. Of course, fast food is an easy option, but once you go down that route routinely, it's hard to find your way back.
While you'll never fully satisfy everyone, there is some middle ground to be found. Chef Dan, our resident wing whisperer and master chef, offers up tips and tricks for experimenting with different flavors, spices, and foods, so you can keep your meals interesting yet familiar enough that your child will still try them.
Spice is not always nice
Does little Jimmy always want to try everything you eat, but you worry about him burning his mouth on your bowl of Atomic Garlic-Q wings? Chef Dan says the trick to getting kids accustomed to spicy foods is to not go too hot too fast and to work their way up in heat level a little bit at a time. To beat the heat entirely, Chef Dan suggests ordering sauces such as BBQ, Garlic Parmesan, or Buffalo Mild on boneless wings. That way, your kids can enjoy eating wings without the heat and with the added bonus of not having to deal with bones.
A side of sauce can go a long way
If your kids aren’t fully sold on a saucy wing, order them plain with sauce on the side. A side sauce allows aforementioned Jimmy to add on (or dip in) as much or as little as he likes and gives him the opportunity to try something new without wasting an order of wings sauced with flavors he doesn't enjoy. Plus you'll be exposing him to a new food. "New foods should be put in front of [kids] so they learn to eat things outside of their comfort zone," Chef Dan says. "The more they are exposed to it, the more likely they are to try new things."
Don’t sweat the spills
At Buffalo Wings & Rings, we praise the inevitable sauce spillage for not just adults, but kids too. When the a la carte sauce turns into a la shirt sauce, we suggest using our hand wipes as the first line of defense. They can help stop stains from setting before you can get home to use a stain remover. You could also run the affected area under cold water in the restroom and gently massage the sauce out. If all else fails, remind yourself that getting messy is a staple of wing eating. Let them chow down on good food and try new things and worry about the mess later.
How many wings is too many wings?
In addition to spice levels, sauces, and spills, there is another quandary facing you at the table: How many wings is enough? Chef Dan suggests ordering three to four wings for kids under ten and ten wings for teens. But, keep in mind how much your child typically eats and what their eating habits are. If it’s a swing and a miss or you overestimated the amount, you can always bring the leftovers home and reheat them.
Healthy options make for happy stomachs
While Chef Dan taught us a lot about how to get kids to enjoy chicken wings, his best advice was about enjoying healthy foods. According to Chef Dan, chicken wings are a healthy protein option for kids. "It's important that [kids] know the difference between a real chicken wing and boneless wings and a chicken nugget," Chef Dan says. "What we serve is real, and what they've been eating most of their life is not. Buffalo Wings & Rings is all-natural.”
If you’re in the market for something healthier than whole-meat wings, you can also order grilled chicken and cauliflower wings and sides of broccoli, applesauce, or celery sticks.
Diversifying your kids' diet can be daunting at first, but not impossible. With the help of Chef Dan, your children will be loving their chicken wings and veggies in no time. Find your closest Buffalo Wings & Rings and give ‘em a try.