Though I am not the biggest celebrant of New Year’s Eve—why does it have to be so late?—I do love the tradition of starting the New Year off right by eating some traditionally lucky foods on January 1st. And I am so thankful that these “lucky foods” do not include gorging myself on leftover Christmas cookies since I’ve already done plenty of that.
But, I will only consider these foods “lucky” if I can convince my kids to actually try a bite of them! So instead of going too gourmet, I’ve looked for recipes that look kid friendly, with flavors that won’t have them fleeing the dinner table on the first day of the year. We can save that for January 2nd.
Good-luck foods for new year: Ring-shaped foods
Finding yummy, ring-shaped foods—which signify coming full circle from one year to the next—is pretty easy if you think of bagels, donuts, pineapple slices, tortellini, and onion rings (though maybe not all at the same meal). Personally, I know my kids would love if I made them one of these donut recipes that highlight flavors like apple cinnamon, banana bread, or these lovely-looking pumpkin donuts with chocolate ganache from Fig and Fork,
Good-luck foods for new year: Pomegranate seeds
My kids love eating pomegranates, which represent good luck, good health, and prosperity in some Mediterranean countries at the new year, but my kitchen always looks like we butchered something when we try to get the seeds out. That’s why I’m loving the easy-to-follow instructions from Sweet Peas and Saffron for how to best get the seeds out of a pomegranate a lot more neatly.
Or, throw caution to the wind and let those little fingers dig into the fruit to pull out and eat the seeds. Though you will want to put a smock on them first.
Or check out this gorgeous Harvest Salad recipe from kid-feeding pro Weelicious that combines peppery arugula, juicy pomegranate seeds, sweet roasted squash, and crispy apples to make a healthy and tempting salad. Not sure your kids will fall for arugula? This is an easy recipe to tweak by using baby spinach instead of arugula, acorn squash instead of delicata, and whatever apples your family likes most. But don’t forget those pomegranate seeds for luck!
Good-luck foods for new year: Black Eyed Peas
If an Instant Pot was one of your holiday gifts, or if you just want to use the one you have more this year, this recipe for Smokey-Sweet Black Eyed Peas from Jill Nussinow, the Veggie Queen, sounds like the perfect one-pot meal to kick off 2020. With the flavor from smoked paprika and the sweetness from a few dates, this is an easy and delicious meal to serve with crusty bread. If you’ll be serving this to more sensitive tastebuds, just leave out any jalapeño seeds or leave that pepper out altogether.
I love this recipe for Black-Eyed Pea Fritters from Damaris Phillips on the Food Network because it does two things kids may appreciate: 1) it hides the black-eyed peas so no one is suspicious about a “new” ingredient; 2) it’s fried which immediately shoots to the top of my kids’ favorite things. This recipe also uses canned black-eyed peas so that you don’t have to worry about soaking them or long cook times.
I’d probably have to serve them with a side of ketchup (sigh), but the onion jam recipe looks amazing–or you can buy pre-made onion jam in your favorite supermarket.
Good-luck foods for new year: Pork
My vegetarian daughter would be quick to point out that serving pork Isn’t so lucky for the pig, but for the rest of the family, celebrating the new year with a big plate of barbecue ribs sounds perfectly delicious. And this recipe for Oven-Baked Pork Ribs from Inspired Taste is so easy to pull together and will fill up your kitchen with yummy smells as it cooks long and low in the oven. Bonus? Your kids can eat with their fingers!
If you have as many leftovers as I do from all the holiday celebrating, whipping up a big pan of Easy Leftover Pork Fried Rice will be a piece of cake. I’ve made this recipe from Mashup Mom which is filled with crunchy veggies mixed into the rice-and-egg mixture and tastes way healthier than the greasy stuff you’ll get from many takeout places.
Good-luck foods for new year: Lentils
Thought to bring prosperity in the new year, coin-shaped lentils can also bring about full bellies when you try this Best Lentil Soup by Cookie and Kate. I know the title promises a lot, but with over a thousand 5-star ratings, I think this recipe will be a hit with all five of us at dinnertime. Plus, it’s vegan, includes healthy ingredients I can easily find at any store, and can be on the dinner table in less than an hour. Win!
Good-luck foods for new year: Fish
With their coin-shaped scales and tendency to swim forward in schools, fish are considered good luck because they hint at abundance and forward-thinking, all things I can get behind. But, traditionally, fish is served whole on New Year’s Day, head and all, and that is a sure way to send a bunch of kids screaming from the dinner table. So, instead, I’m eyeing this recipe for crunchy Homemade Fish Sticks from Super Healthy Kids which is minus the head but full of flavor.
Good-luck foods for new year: Noodles
Slurping whole noodles may not be something you normally encourage, but on New Year’s Day, it’s considered good luck. So, let the kids slurp away with this easy-to-make recipe for Sesame Soba Noodles at Foodie Crush. Though not the same traditional Toshikoshi Soba dish served in Japan on New Year’s Day, I like this one for its familiar ingredients that I can easily find in my suburban supermarket.
Good-luck foods for new year: Leafy greens
I’ll admit that leafy greens, which symbolize wealth, are probably going to be the toughest for me to get into my kids on New Year’s Day, unless I make a big batch of kale chips which they all love. Crunchy and salty and light, an entire platter, like this kale chip recipe by Modern Parents Messy Kids, will be gone in a flash.
Good-luck foods for new year: Cornbread
Popular in the South on New Year’s Day for their golden color, I am eyeing this cornbread muffin recipe from Once Upon a Chef. With a touch of sweetness, my kids would love these at breakfast or alongside dinner. Heck, if you really want to increase your luck for 2020, serve these alongside the above recipes for pork ribs, black-eyed pea fritters, and kale chips and and hopefully you’ll be set for the new year!
Good-luck foods for new year: Cake
Known as Vasilopita in Greece, one lucky person will find a coin hidden inside their slice of cake which will bring them good luck for the entire year. If your kids are old enough to handle the potential disappointment of not being that person, then you may want to try to make your own traditional Greek New Year’s Cake like this one from Real Greek Recipes. My teens would enjoy decorating this buttery cake with powdered sugar and melted chocolate, though feel free to top it any way you’d like.
Good-luck foods for new year: Rice pudding
Eaten in Sweden and Norway for the new year, hide an almond inside a batch of creamy rice pudding to bring special luck to one person, much like the coin in a Greek cake. The recipe from Taste of Home is super easy to toss together and is delicately flavored with vanilla and cinnamon.
Good-luck foods for new year: Marzipan pigs
Even if you never eat them, these totally edible Marzipan Pigs are bound to be your kids newest favorite tradition to make on New Year’s Day. With only a batch of store-bought marzipan, red food coloring, and instructions from One Third Stories, this is a great hands-on craft for the entire family to make on January 1st. And what a fun way to start 2020!