Spaghetti Taco Night

Fans of Nickelodeon’s hit show "iCarly" are requesting spaghetti tacos for dinner, and parents everywhere are making them, as evidenced by countless internet recipes and even a dedicated Facebook page, the New York Times reports.

“It was just a little joke I came up with for one episode. Then it turned into a running joke. And now it’s this thing people actually do,” Dan Schneider, the creator of "iCarly" who unwittingly launched the phenomenon when he featured the dish on several episodes, told the Times.

While he’s not the only grown-up surprised about what defines “haute cuisine” for the under-12 set, it seems parents are excited about the trend for another reason: It’s making mealtime go down easier.

“It’s a great thing to make, especially when you’re having the food battles at home. It’s a fun way to get them excited about eating,” Houston mom Cammie Ward Moise told the Times.

While puzzling to those of us who were raised to eat whatever was on our plate, regardless of our personal preferences, a new generation of kids are increasingly involved with deciding what’s for dinner. Instead of quietly feeding food to the dog under the table, this generation is pretty vocal about their likes and dislikes, and with taste buds have grown used to the salty, fatty offerings at fast food restaurants, that can be occasionally be a problem.

So is the spaghetti taco the answer? Yes and no.
 While nutritionists recommend getting picky eaters excited about their food, the truth is, getting them excited about food that has very little nutritional value isn't a great solution.

Even though children are increasingly opinionated about what they eat, parents are still finding ways to make nutritious meals appealing, offering everything from roll-ups, to dips, to sandwiches cut into cute shapes (bunny-shaped PB&J, anyone?). Cookbooks like The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine and Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld have even taught parents how to “sneak” high nutrient foods into kid favorites—resulting in brownies that hide a dollop of spinach, or chocolate pudding that contains avocado.