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Oct 26, 201202:01 PMMommy-logues

Exploring ways to be better (and more stylish!) parents

Talkin’ Turkey

Talkin’ Turkey

Can we all agree that Thanksgiving is the greatest food holiday of the year? From start to finish, this day is a celebration of all things delicious and divine, from the planning and prepping to the noshing and napping.

OK, it’s not all about food; it’s also about giving thanks and sharing with others. In addition to all of its edible bounty, Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity to teach little ones some important life lessons and instill in them the spirit of gratitude and generosity — and what better place to do this than in the kitchen or around the table?

There’s plenty for the young ones to do in the kitchen, and their ability to assist in the preparation of the holiday feast depends on their age and ability and your comfort level. Toddlers can stir, sprinkle and knead, while older kids can peel, pour and chop. Kids who help prepare the food are more likely to gobble it up, and it’s a great way to reconnect before the rest of the day gets too crazy.

Get kids in the spirit in the days leading up to Turkey Day with themed lunches. The blog Meet the Dubiens has a cute idea for a Tom Turkey lunch. Cut a sandwich into a circle, and add carrots in the shape of a beak and feet, balls of icing or round candies for eyes, and an apple peel for the wattle. Fan out slices of red, yellow and green apples around it for the feathers.

Kids (and grown-ups!) will love the fruit gobbler so much, they won’t even realize they’re eating healthy snacks. Alternate red grapes and yellow cheese cubes on wooden skewers (these will be the feathers), and stick them into the end of a honeydew melon. Add an upside-down pear to the front for the head and use raisins, more grapes, an apple slice or other fruit for the turkey’s features.

Make dessert at the kids’ table more festive with some specialty treats, which children can help assemble. Our Best Bites has ideas for treats that double as dessert and place settings: chocolate-covered marshmallow pilgrim hats and Oreo cookie turkeys. (Save that leftover candy corn for the feathers!)

Head to Bakerella, the website by the creator of the original Cake Pop, for a recipe for Turkey Pops that are almost too cute to eat. Almost.

As always, Martha Stewart’s website is chock-full of stylish and creative ideas to make the holiday more kid-friendly. Children will love “carving” a paper-bag turkey filled with — surprise! — popcorn. Antsy kids will be glued to their seats playing Turkey Trivia or with felt finger puppets affixed to candy sticks.

If kids won’t touch their veggies, sneak them into something they will eat: cupcakes. Try out a recipe for sweet-potato cupcakes, like this one from How Sweet It Is or these vegan ones from The Diva Dish.

Parenting magazine’s website has a gallery of great ideas for kid-friendly Thanksgiving dishes. Try mashed potato “ice cream,” apple stuffing muffins and turkey nuggets — a take on the beloved chicken version that handily deals with all that leftover turkey in the days following the feast.

Happy holidays, and happy eating!