ATK Kids

Got Picky Kids? Try the Multiple-Choice Taco Dinner

Giving kids options is a great way to get them to eat.

Published Jan. 23, 2023.

On the ATK Kids team, we know that it can be hard to get picky kids to eat what you cook for them. 

But we also know that one of the best ways to get food in their bellies is to give them a part in deciding what they eat.

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That’s something that comes up in the latest episode of America’s Test Kitchen: The Next Generation, which is all about cooking for kids. In the second challenge, which is based on tackling picky eating, the judges are especially impressed by Christina Phan’s spring rolls with multiple choices of dipping sauce. (They're less impressed by some of the other dishes . . . though you’ll have to watch to find out which.)

Watch Episode 7 of America's Test Kitchen: The Next Generation for free here!

The key takeaway? When it comes to picky eating, giving kids multiple options will encourage them to try more foods. And our recipe for Chicken Tinga Tacos is the perfect example of this concept.

First, there’s the chicken itself. It’s cooked in a lightly spiced tomato sauce until it’s tender and shreds easily. And what kid doesn’t like chicken tacos? Chipotle chile powder gives the taco filling a bit of a kick, but kids can add more or less depending on how much spice they like.

Then comes the wonderful world of toppings, which is where picky kids can really thrive. Instead of building their taco for them, serve every topping in its own bowl so that kids can decide exactly what they want. Here are some suggestions:

  • Hot sauce
  • Diced avocado 
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Cotija cheese
  • Pickled red onions

It’s the best way for everyone in the family to get a meal they’ll love—whether they’re an adventurous eater or not.

Chicken Tinga Tacos

Shredded chicken in a smoky tomato sauce makes a great taco filling.

Want more kid-tested, kid-approved recipes from ATK Kids? Check out our newest cookbook!


Kids Can Cook Anything

Spark family fun in the kitchen with the new cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen Kids—Kids Can Cook Anything! This bright, accessible book features impressive but kid-friendly recipes, plus how-tos, and links to 20 videos exploring kitchen techniques.

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