Takeout is the ultimate no-fuss way to feed a family, and while pizza is an incredibly easy choice, you can’t have pizza every night. (Trust us, we’ve tried.) While it can be tempting to fall back on this effortless choice when feeding a group of picky eaters, one of the greatest things about ordering delivery is the variety of cuisines at your disposal! To ensure you don’t sacrifice variety at your next family takeout dinner, here are some of our top family-friendly choices from each of the most popular cuisines on our site.
Chinese food is a great option when ordering for a family, because of the variety of options on the menu, and the fact that many of the dishes include lots of veggies. Our advice is to steer clear of anything with Sichuan peppercorns, which tend to be too overwhelming for younger taste buds, and instead choose more ‘Americanized’ options like sweet and sour pork, beef with broccoli or a simple chow mein. Don’t forget the appetizers: kids tend to love egg rolls and dumplings.
Ordering Indian food for kids can be a challenge due to the varying level of spice from restaurant to restaurant, so make sure you’re familiar with the menu (when in doubt, give them a call before placing your order). Our recommendations for family-friendly Indian food options include Aloo Gobhi, which tends to be very mild and packed with healthy cauliflower, or Paneer Tikka Masala. We’ve found that kids really enjoy the texture and flavor of paneer, and the sauce is usually mild but flavorful enough for eaters of all ages to enjoy.
In our expert opinion, the most accessible Thai food option for kids is fried rice. The flavors are simple with almost no spice, just your protein of choice and vegetables chopped so finely that even the pickiest eaters will enjoy (or at least tolerate) them. For a slightly more interesting option that won’t bore the adults in the group, try pineapple fried rice with chicken or shrimp. The pineapple adds a unique touch of sweetness to an otherwise savory dish, but remains a very kid-friendly choice.
The biggest risk when ordering Mexican food for kids is the amount of spice. Even a seemingly safe dish like chips and salsa can quickly turn into a nightmare (or a tantrum) if the salsa is too spicy. Burritos can be risky because they have so many ingredients, so for really picky eaters, we recommend bean and cheese quesadillas. They’re not likely to be spicy at all, and the kids can eat them with their fingers which is always a bonus. Be sure to order any salsas or sauces on the side, so you can try them before serving them to the kids.
Before you say ‘no way’ to your favorite sushi restaurant on takeout night, take a closer look at the menu. Many sushi restaurants offer dishes that don’t contain any raw fish, which tend to be really mild in flavor and suitable for picky eaters. Classic fish-free options at sushi restaurants include a Chicken Teriyaki bowl with white rice, or shrimp and vegetable tempura with a mild dipping sauce. If your kids haven’t hit their true picky eater phase yet, you can also try introducing them to milder rolls such as a California roll.