By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Oct 11, 2011 at 1:20 PM

For the fifth straight year, October is Dining Month on, presented by Concordia University. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2011."

Last month, posted an article about kids and picky eating. For some parents, this hits home, and the ongoing battle to get their kids to eat nutritious food of any kind is a constant one.

The trend of "hiding" vegetables in other food items is one way to do this. Some parents blend extra veggies into spaghetti sauce or garbanzo beans into chocolate chip cookies – unknown to their wee ones. Jessica Seinfeld wrote the book "Deceptively Delicious" which is chock full of recipes like this.

However, if parents want their kids to knowingly make good food choices, things get a little trickier. One way is to let kids have more control over what goes into their food so they feel included in the process. They might even feel empowered enough to eat some of the "green stuff."

Although kids need and crave guidance from their caregivers, they also want a sense of control which, for obvious reasons, they have very little of at this point in their lives. Sure, they can be as imaginative as they want to be, but when it comes to daily life domestic decisions, like what they eat, when they sleep and where they spend their days, kids have little-to-no say in this.

Giving kids the chance to make more choices about their daily routine might make them more inspired to follow the routine. With food, most parents insist kids eat certain food items or if they don't, worry that they're not getting the vitamins they need.

Parents can easily allow kids to make choices about their meals at home by making food items like homemade pizza (store-bought crusts are not labor intensive and work great). Kids can then pick from a variety of meats and veggies to "decorate" their pizza and, hopefully, will inspire them to choose a healthy topping or two. The same can be done with a "build your own" potato.

"If it weren't for Subway, I don't think my son would ever eat a vegetable," says Mary Alber, a parent of a picky eater. "It's for sure the only place he eats spinach."

There are numerous restaurants that allow kids to make more choices about what goes into their meals as well. Taking a child to a restaurant where they get to say yay or nay to ingredients might make them actually agree on their own to more healthy items than they would normally. Besides feeling a sense of control over their intake, it's fun for kids to create something exactly as it appeals to their tastes.

If you have a picky eater, give one of these create-your-own eateries a try. You might still end up with a kid complaining about food, but you might not. This is not the end-all and be-all for the parents of picky eaters, but it is a start.

BD's Mongolian Grill
598 W. Northshore Dr., (414) 906-0300
At BD's, kids can create their own stir fry. Diners get a bowl and walk from station to station, filling it with their choice of meat, seafood, vegetables, sauces and noodles. Then, the food is cooked on a Mongolian (flat-top) grill in view of the diner, which is another kid-friendly aspect of Mongolian dining.

16065 W. Bluemound Rd., (262) 784-3833
At Fuddrucker's, the customer picks the burger – beef, veggie or turkey – and then choose exactly what gets stacked atop the patty from various veggies to cheeses at the "market fresh produce bar." Fuddruckers also offers more exotic burgers like buffalo, elk and wild boar, but these options may be less kid-friendly.

Genghis Khan Mongolian BBQ
725 N. Mayfair Rd., (414) 774-5540
This is another restaurant where diners get a bowl, fill it with meats, veggies, noodles and sauces of their choice, and then it's cooked on a flat-top grill until hot. This could lead to a bowl of only noodles for some kids who are hardcore noodleheads, but suggest that at least one other food item is mixed in.

multiple locations
Subway offers the most in the selection process than any other restaurant. Customers choose the type of bread, what goes in it and, in some cases, whether or not they want it hot or cold. In fact, there are so many choices to make, it might require a little patience from parents, as well as the workers, when allowing a kid to build his or her personalized sub sandwich. But hopefully, with the aforementioned patience, the results will be worth it.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.