One question I am frequently asked what do you guys eat when the hubs isn't home?
I've been wanting to do an example kid meal post for awhile now and so I've been working on this post for awhile. Trying to photograph squirrels food is much harder than mine. She eats on Target plates from the dollar bin so most of this isn't pretty.
I'm not a perfect parent and I'm sure what I'm about to type will bite me one day but my neither of my children are picky eaters. Here's what I think has helped that.
Keeping it simple.
I don't try to go all organic or all natural... I just like things simple. It usually ends up fresh and both kids eat better if it's simple. I've found that they eat more when there are just a couple things on their plates instead of a variety. A lot of times I put everything into one thing. Whole wheat tortilla with cheese, broccoli and chicken for dinner. What else does it need? Carb, protein, veggie, dairy. Done. Less clean up, healthy, and easy to make.
Maybe I go a little too far with this one. I have the kids meals already planned out. I know on Monday they eat oatmeal for breakfast and a pbj for lunch. Tuesday they have waffles for breakfast and mac-n-cheese for lunch. This helps me feel less overwhelmed with meal time and I can always deviate from my meal plan. Plus it helps on the grocery bill. I buy the same things all the time.
It is obvious that little buddy is a good eater but so is the squirrel. Both will try just about anything and there are very few things they don't like. However, sometimes it can be a struggle. With squirrel it's all about presentation. For instance, if she has a hotdog it's in a blanket (bun). Chia seeds and granola are sprinkles on yogurt and toast. I cut toasted waffles into strips to dip into syrup. Sometimes we have a picnic outside or inside. She loves it when things are hiding and she has to find them. She likes to find peas hiding in the shell pasta. For a snack she loves to break open edamame pods. And the child will literally eat anything on a stick. I mean anything.
Make a boxed cake mix. Let them eat nuggets and french fries. Use a can of green beans. Having those options keeps me sane sometimes. It's nice knowing that it's OK to give into convenience foods once in awhile. My child eats goldfish crackers, chicken nuggets, french fries, and teddy grahams.
Some of our favorite kid friendly prepackaged things are:
Kashi crackers or pita chips
Clif kid Zbars
Squeeze applesauce packs
Stonyfield organic vanilla yogurt
Annie's cheddar bunnies
Alexia sweet potato fries
Annie's single pack microwavable mac-n-cheese
Smucker's organic all natural peanut butter
Kodiak Cakes pancake mix and syrups
Near East whole grain rice mixes
Back to Nature mac-n-cheese
Amy's frozen cheese pizza
Amy's veggie burgers
Silk dark chocolate almond milk
Here are some meal examples.
For breakfast we do toast, oatmeal, waffles, cereal, overnight oats, french toast, and pancakes. They love peanut butter and syrup on waffles and pancakes. Breakfast is always served with fresh fruit and milk.
-Whole wheat toast with Earth Balance butter and honey + strawberries.
-Waffle with natural peanut butter and pure maple syrup + banana.
-Overnight oats (soymilk, rolled oats, yogurt) with granola + banana.
-Waffle with Earth Balance butter and blackberry syrup + blueberries.
-Cheerios with milk + pear.
-Whole wheat toast with Earth Balance butter and pumpkin butter + blueberries.
-Chocolate chip pancakes with Earth Balance butter and pure maple syrup + banana.
-Whole wheat french toast with Earth Balance butter, pure maple syrup, powdered sugar + strawberries.
-Whole wheat cinnamon raisin toast with Earth Balance butter + blueberries.
-Oatmeal made with milk, bananas, and brown sugar.
-Whole wheat toast with blackberry jam + pear.
-Waffle with peanut butter, chocolate chips, and pure maple syrup + raspberries.
Lunch is hard with both of them. They would eat nuggets everyday. And since they are kids they do eat nuggets... Sometimes... If they have nuggets I definitely make sure it's balance with fruit and veggies. They also love mac-n-cheese. Instead of buying the boxed kind I just cooked whole wheat pasta then add 2% cheddar cheese and a little bit of Earth Balance spread. It melts perfectly and is super yummy. We rotate mac-n-cheese, pbj, cheese and crackers, nuggets, and grilled cheese.
-Grilled cheese on whole wheat bread with grapes.
-Mac-n-cheese (noodles, cheddar, and a little butter), cooked carrots, turkey.
-Grilled cheese on whole wheat with strawberries and carrots and ranch.
-Organic boxed mac-n-cheese and peas.
-Turkey, crackers, grapes, cheese.
-Nuggets, strawberries, broccoli.
-PBJ with lima beans
-Grilled cheese, cooked carrots, yogurt.
-Peanut butter and honey sandwich with apple.
-Mac-n-cheese (noodles, cheddar and butter), carrots, and kale chips.
-Mac-n-cheese (same thing... noodles, cheddar, and butter) plus broccoli.
-Nuggets, lima beans, and oranges.
Dinner is whatever we eat when the husband is here. When he was deployed we rotated quesadillas, pasta, baked chicken, pizza, and breakfast for dinner.
-Chicken, wild rice, green beans.
-Soba noodles, veggies, chicken.
-Chicken, corn, and cheese quesadilla.
-Brown rice, baked chicken, roasted cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potato.
-Whole wheat shell pasta, peas, and parmesan dressed with olive oil.
-Whole wheat rotini with olive oil and parmesan with broccoli.
-Broccoli and cheese quesadilla and strawberries.
-Leftover supreme pizza. (yep she eats it!)
-Brown rice, baked chicken, steamed broccoli and carrots.
-Amy's frozen cheese pizza and broccoli.
-Baked chicken, brown rice pilaf, and corn.
Snacks are a staple in our house. They expect snacks at 10am and 3pm everyday. It's crazy how their little bodies work!
-Peanut butter graham crackers
-Bananas and peanut butter
-Cup of organic juice
-Sabra hummus with Kashi crackers
-Cup of milk and half a banana
-Chex mix with fresh blackberries and cashews
-Strawberries and cheese
-Cashews, dried papaya, and banana chips
Both my husband and I agree on everything when it comes to feeding our kids. I'm lucky he believes in the same things I do. There are two things we think are important. Exposure to different foods and involvement.
Let them be involved in cooking and where food comes from.
Focus on what they DO like not what they don't. They both like broccoli, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, and lima beans. Neither like tomatoes, peppers, or mushrooms. That's OK! I don't push it. Try to look at all the good things they DO like.
I hope this helps answer some of your questions!
*PLEASE REMEMBER- Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietician nor do I have any type of medical training. Anything documented on this blog is my personal opinion or a learned experience.