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What Kids Eat Around the World: Croatia

Hint: It's not chicken nuggets.

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For the first installment of our “What Kids Eat Around the World” series, we’ve got the spotlight on Croatia—and not just because they almost just won the World Cup.

Made up of 1,000+ islands, this photo op-worthy Mediterranean country boasts not-overly-touristy beaches (yet) rolling up to crystal-clear blue seas, eight jaw-dropping national parks (we’re looking at you, Plitviče Lakes), a ton of cool ways to be active (snorkel, hike, kayak), and incredible seafood, not to mention some rather respectable wine country. As they say in Croatian, Dobar tek! (a.k.a. Bon appétit!)

Breakfast of Champions
From America’s Cocoa Puffs™ to chocolate sprinkles on toast (hats off to the Netherlands), chocolate for breakfast is an international tradition. Čokolino, chocolate wheat flakes mixed into a porridge-like cereal with hot milk, is a Croatian hallmark of baby and childhood morning meals. Other breakfast staples veer toward the savory side, like toast withpašteta (liver paté!) or salami and eggs.

What’s for Lunch?
According to Jeanne Oliver, the publisher of croatiatraveller.com, Croatian school lunches are meat-filled most days—think pašticada (sweet and sour beef stew) served with mashed potatoes, or pork chops and a side of blitva (Swiss chard and potatoes). But with a predominantly Catholic population and prime proximity to the Adriatic Sea, Croatia’s kids can also depend on a Fish Friday meal of baked sea bass or sardines.

All that said, in some regions of the country you might see kids digging into a variety of foods (like eggs, sausages, salami, breads, cheeses, and cheese-spread) for lunch instead, and washing it down with tea. Many school lunches come with seasonal fruit or a green salad, and dessert is typically cake—like Cao-Cao, a chocolate cake with strawberry cream filling.

“It’s pretty much the same [types of foods] for dinner at home,” Oliver says. “Many parents work now, and don’t have time to spend hours at the stove!” We can relate.

Snack Time
Every country has its signature store-bought snacks, and in Croatia, it’s puffed-corn Smoki®, which is kinda like peanut butter-flavored Cheetos® or Pirate’s Booty®. Kids also love a range of fried dough treats (big shocker there), like burek (a flaky filo-dough pastry filled with meat or cheese) or the sweet fitule, a donut-like fritter.

Soup and Salad Come Standard
Most at-home lunches and dinners are served with a bowl of soup: fish, chicken, beef, veggie, or cream of pumpkin or broccoli. Simple, fresh salads are also typical—kids munch on a mix of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, peppers, and spring onions.

Kids—They’re Just Like Us!
Kid’s menus are common in most Croatian restaurants, but rather than buttered pasta and corn dogs, you’ll usually just see smaller portions of the regular menu’s regional dishes, such as the minestrone-like Istarska Maneštra in Istria and the Dalmatian coast. Kids typically eat the same meals as their parents at home, too.

Less time, less dishes, and less fuss? Živjeli to that!

Did you know? Little Sous offers a monthly themed kids cooking kit that will help your family connect in the kitchen. Check out our subscription options!