Could jumbo pasta shells save the Holidays from picky little eaters?

Here we go! The Holiday Season is upon us, and one of the biggest challenges is getting our children to eat healthy while they stare at all the fudge, cookies, cakes, and pies. Heck, it isn’t even easy for us big people. I wish I had thought of this when my kids were really little, but I think this idea could be a big help to those of you who are having trouble getting your kids to eat vegetables, try other foods, or simply eat during the Holidays or anytime for that matter.  Get creative and let me know if this idea worked for you.

Try the Shell…
1. Boil as many jumbo pasta shells as you need. They will store well in the fridge for up to 5 days. At meal time, stuff 2-3 shells with a few foods from the table. The shells are easier to stuff when cold, but be gentle they can tear and you don’t want tears at the dinner table.

Let’s take Thanksgiving for example: 1 shell with diced bits of turkey with gravy or cranberry sauce; 1 shell with a veggie- greenbean casserole, sweet potatoes, etc; 1 shell with stuffing; or a shell with a combinations of turkey, stuffing, and gravy. The Stuffed Shells can be eaten cold, room temperature, or gently warmed in the microwave- serve according to your child’s favorite temperature, most likely room temp or slightly warm for younger children.  Leftover turkey salad sandwiches become turkey salad shells.  Get creative!

2. Give the Shells funny names, like: Turkey Torpedoes, Fantasy Football Feast (they do look like footballs), Magic Shells, or Finger Feast.

3. Serve the Shell Suppers with your child’s favorite dip, like ranch, gravy, or ketchup. Sounds a bit gross, but kids do love to dip.

4.  Place each Shell inside a paper cupcake liner. The shops now sell sports, super-hero, princess, Holiday, and any color or hobby imaginable cupcake liners.  Frills and bling go a long way. Kids eat with their eyes too.

5. The goal is to use the Shells as a tool to get your child to try different foods. Yes, this is using a refined carbohydrate, condiments, frills, and fingers to get your child interested in eating, but remember it is a phase, because one day you will “forget” the Shells from the grocery store. In fact, “the factory doesn’t even make them anymore,” sad face, “so sorry, you’ll have to eat those veggies with a fork now.”  Wink. Wink.

I was successful in getting my very non- veggie boy to eat salad. Salad Bites for Picky Kids.

By the way, up in that photo is a Greek Pasta Salad (no recipe, just a bunch of Greek ingredients tossed with pasta, and dressing) stuffed in Shells. Pasta salad gone finger-food. This idea came from Sarah W. on BRK’s Facebook Page.  Oh the ideas!

Relax and enjoy Thanksgiving! Use all the tricks of the trade to get your Littles to eat well during the Holidays.

If you do try this idea, I would love to know about it.


  1. Posted November 21, 2012 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

    I’d eat them even without the funny names :-). Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Posted November 21, 2012 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

    I never thought to make shells ahead of time – genius!

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING Robin Sue and family! Hugs!!

  3. Posted November 24, 2012 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    this is a really good idea, robin sue–completely adaptable!

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