1. Gyoza or Potstickers (Japan) - love these! Boil, pan fry or deep fry. The veggies and meat are minced small and wrapped in a pasta noodle- think oversized ravioli. And kids love to eat them with their hands! I would boil these in chicken broth and cut them up small for my kids when they were as young as 1 year old.
2. Poi (Hawaii) - Poi is the local super-food. It is a tuber that grows underground, similar to a sweet potato. Its nutritious and gluten-free, and helps control blood glucose. This was my childrens' first food. I love the Hanalei Brand from Kauai, its naturally slightly sweet and doesn't sour like regular poi. You can freeze them in small ice cube size trays. When defrosting, the trick is to heat the poi until it boils again, and then let cool before feeding, otherwise it can be grainy.
3. Spring rolls (Thailand) - These crunchy veggie-filled rolls are normally fried, and is available with meat or vegetarian, and sometimes contain bamboo shoots, flavorful mushrooms and rice noodles . The wrappers are normally made from rice, so I think its a better choice for younger children vs. flour dough. Again, all your meat, veggies and starch are in a handy, yummy package. Just watch the dipping sauce, as some contain peanuts and shrimp paste.
4. Fried Rice (China) - Even though it is called "fried" most use little oil so it may not be as bad as you think. I make it at home with a little oil, butter, garlic and soy sauce and use brown rice. Then I add all kinds of chopped cooked veggies, any left over meats and scramble eggs. Easily eaten at room temperature with a bowl and spoon.
5. Pan Fried Noodles - Almost every Asian country has one, be it pancit, chow mein, yakisoba or pad thai, and they are all equally delicious! Meats, shrimp, veggies and sometimes scrambled eggs are in the mix. A bowl and chopsticks are all that are needed, and what kid doesn't love noodles?
6. Steamed buns/dim sum - A variety of fillings surrounded by anything from a steamed white-bread type bun, to a baked - slightly sweet (think Hawaiian sweet bread) to thicker, rice pasta rounds, there is a plethora of flavors and the variety is endless. Some are fried, most steamed and all are addicting! They come in mini plates of about 4 pieces, so feel free to try one of everything! We head to China Town and feed a family of 5 for about $22, which is amazing considering most dim sum is hand made.
So head out to your local ethnic markets and restaurants. They'll give your kids an appreciation of different cultures and flavors while getting the meat & veggies all rolled in one!