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When you look at your day, what takes up the biggest chunk of time? For me, I feel like all of my time goes to preparing meals and snacks for my kids. I spend time looking to see what we have on hand. I think about what the kids have eaten recently. I calculate the likelihood that my youngest will decide he doesn’t like bananas anymore. I make the food, I serve the food, and then I clean up. Oh and then I have to do this two more times!
If that sounds even remotely familiar then you are in the right place, my friend. Thankfully, I have found a way to reduce the amount of time I spend preparing food for my kids to eat. How did I do that? I made a meal plan for toddlers.
To start, I sat down and really thought about what my two kids eat. I have one that has an allergy but loves almost everything. Then, I have an older toddler that appears to be on a self-imposed all-carb diet.
Now that I have a list of the foods that both kids like to eat, I make my meal plan for toddlers. Now this plan is a bit more generic and more flexible than the meal plan I make for myself. Also, this is a one-time meal plan. I do the same schedule every week. We might sub out different flavors like vanilla instead of strawberry yogurt. That kind of thing. I barely have time to do my meal plan every week. I’m not about to suggest you take the time to make two meal plans every week. That would be crazy.
The picture above shows a few of the items that we always have on hand for the boys to eat. As you can see, we love Annie’s and Cascadian Farm. My kids love the products and I know that I can trust the quality of the ingredients. When we go shopping, I will buy several boxes of everything and keep them in the pantry since I don’t want to run out. Another great thing is that you can buy Annie’s and Cascadian Farm at your neighborhood Walmart.
Breakfasts: Oatmeal, Yogurt with Fruit/Granola, Pancakes, Muffins, Smoothies (with hidden veggies), Cereal, Sausage and Toast
Snacks: Fresh Fruit, Fruit Cups, Yogurt, String Cheese, Gummy Fruit Snacks, Crackers, Turkey Meat Sticks
Lunch: PB&J, Quesadillas, Chicken Nuggets, Macaroni and Cheese, English Muffin Pizza
For dinner, the kids will usually eat whatever my husband and I are eating. When I meal plan for myself, I try to make sure I have a good balance of foods that I know the kids will like and foods that will expand their palettes a little bit.
Kid-Friendly Dinner: Pasta with sauce (great way to sneak in multiple servings of veggies), Tacos, Chicken Sausage, and Roasted Sweet Potato, Hamburgers, Stir Fry Beef with Rice and Veggies
Every Thursday, I plan out what I am going to eat for the week on my meal planner notepad. Then I just add in the meals for the kids on the same sheet. If you don’t have a meal planner notepad, you can use this meal plan printable.
I have to write down my meal plan or I will forget what I planned. It also helps me see if there is a good variety in the meals, particularly with dinner. Plus, I can bring it with me when I go to Walmart to shop for groceries.
Now that I have the meal plan thing figured out. I do need to work on incorporating more veggies into their meals. I’d also love to hear your tips and tricks for getting your picky eater to try new foods. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or send an email.