Compromise with your kids and make mealtime more than just chicken nuggets.

Are chicken fingers, fish sticks, and mac and cheese getting tiresome at dinnertime? Letting your kids taste buds dictate your menu can certainly put a damper on dinnerbut it doesnt have to be that way. Sure, making meals the entire family loves can be daunting, but keep the following in mind and you will be on your way to a meal both you and your munchkins will enjoy! Start With The Basics [caption id="attachment_241637" align="aligncenter" width="493"] Deborah Harroun[/caption] Putting a full gourmet menu in front of your kids without easing them into new flavors first is like asking your dog to drive you to the grocery storeits not going to end well. Kids have to take baby steps when trying something new. When introducing new flavors, start with something you know they love and build on that. Maybe its adding vegetables to mac and cheese, grilled fish to pasta, or prosciutto to a grilled cheese sandwich. Pizza is a great jumping-off point, especially when kids can make it themselves. Present a variety of toppings for them to choose from and watch them explore. Give this exciting California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Pizza Copycat. The Chefs Hat [caption id="attachment_331481" align="aligncenter" width="493"] Meredith Steele[/caption] Bringing children into the kitchen is not only educational, but exposes them to a variety of flavors and foods they might not traditionally try. Start by making them chefs for one day each week. Let them plan the meal and help in the cooking, but theres a catch: they have to include at least two ingredients theyve never tried before. Deconstruct [caption id="attachment_225763" align="aligncenter" width="493"] Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn[/caption] Lets face itbeef wellington doesnt exactly sound appealing to someone whose meals typically consist of peanut butter and jelly. Right now their brains are still growing and the motto simpler is better will net you a lot of mileage. Take thisRigatoni with Sausage and Kalefor example. Dinner for you is a delicious combo of pasta, savory sausage, and fresh sauted kale; but for the kids, divide up the ingredients and serve as pasta with a side of sausage and kale. This will keep them from being instantly overwhelmed by a big bowl of unfamiliar food. Naturally, theyll likely go for the pasta first, but who knows? The kale might intrigue them, too. Make It A Theme Night [caption id="attachment_209150" align="aligncenter" width="493"] Mark Boughton Photography / styling: Teresa Blackburn[/caption] Bring a little fun to the table through theme nights fashioned after different world cuisines. Youll get to enjoy something other than chicken fingers and the kids will be excited too.This Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauceserved with Jasmine Rice and Cucumber is the perfect introduction to Southeast Asia! Dazzle Them with Color [caption id="attachment_331485" align="aligncenter" width="493"] Meredith Steele[/caption] Youve got your good looks and charming personality, but when it comes to food, your best trick is to tantalize with color! A colorful plate full of fresh fruits and vegetables will always be a winnerespecially if you arrange into a fun, kid-friendly shape. Warning: Mini burgers with colorful shredded veggies (and maybe a touch of creamy brie) could send your approval rating over the top! Match Favorite Flavors With Grown Up Ones [caption id="attachment_331480" align="aligncenter" width="493"] Meredith Steele[/caption] We all know kids become sugar-obsessed and want everything sweetened, so try influencing their palates with similar (but healthy) tastes. Try a meal packed with naturally sweet caramelized onions or roasted grapes, like thisRosemary Roasted Chicken with Roasted Grapes. Bring On The Soup! [caption id="attachment_296789" align="aligncenter" width="493"] Lara Ferroni Photography[/caption] Take advantage of your kids love for soup and step it up a notch. The addition of herbs and unique flavors can really make dinner a treat! This savory-sweet and gingeryThai Ginger Chicken Soupjust might turn your child into a gourmet food lover. The Switch-A-Roo [caption id="attachment_331479" align="aligncenter" width="493"] Meredith Steele[/caption] Getting your children to enjoy grown up meals can be tricky. When all else fails, simply switch ingredients in their favorite dishes. Mac and cheese with Fontina and Gouda is a glorious marriage of flavors for us adults and dont worry, you dont have to tell them that the usual cheddar is missing in action. Have Fun [caption id="attachment_331482" align="aligncenter" width="493"] Meredith Steele[/caption] Sitting down to a family meal is a time to spend together and connect. If the meal itself is causing you to pull out your hair and raise your voice its completely not worth it. Add a little music and just relax. Having a what the heck attitude will go far at dinnertime for everyone. If the pasta primavera wasnt a favorite theres always dessert, right?   How to Make Grown Up Meals for Kidswas composed by Meredith Steele, the talented blogger behind the beautiful and family-friendlyIn Sock Monkey Slippers. For more from Meredith, see her Clean Eating Menu Kids Will Loveand Dallas City Guide to Family-Friendly Eatingand visit her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.         Fore more on cooking with kids...   This article originally appeared as on Relish