Lunch Improvements

I haven’t been meal planning lunches for the kids lately. I haven’t needed to. I think it just took three weeks of planning and trying new things to help me come up with creative menu ideas on the fly. We haven’t been eating chicken nuggets or fish sticks lately, which was my goal. The kids still aren’t eating many vegetables, but I’m trying.

Oh, I’m trying.

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Cucumber Spider

I have two meals that the kids will eat consistently. The easiest is English muffin pizzas. Toast an English muffin, top it with sauce and cheese, then broil it until the cheese melts. Add a vegetable and a fruit. Easy peasy.

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The meal that is most often requested is “cocktail party” dinner. Audrey asks for this for almost every meal. It is small bits on a plate, like you would eat at a cocktail party. Karen gave me the idea to put meat and cheese on a pretzel skewer, and it has been a huge hit. I try to do something fun to the plate every time, today it was mustard sunglasses for dipping the turkey.

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I am pleased that the kids are not eating as many chicken nuggets. Now that we’ve discovered cocktail party lunches I’m having fun changing them up. I’m always looking for new things to add to the rotation, so if you have any ideas send them my way.

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Toddler Meal Planning

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Planning lunches for the kids went so well last time I thought I would do it again.  This time I decided to just list the fruits and vegetables we have on hand and add them in each day based on how I am feeling instead of planning the sides in advance. I think I’ll write in the fruits and veggies as we eat the meals so I don’t give them applesauce three days in a row (I would like to say I would remember, but I won’t).

Now that I have the meals planned I need to get a grocery list together. I’ll probably do that tonight. But first, knitting.

Lunch Planning Update

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Last week I shared that I was trying meal planning for lunches. I am happy to report that it was a success. I will be doing it again starting next week (we are out of town most of this week, so I didn’t bother).

I am surprised at what a difference planning lunches made. The kids only ate chicken nuggets once last week. I wasn’t stressed when I needed to get lunch on the table at noon and we walked in the door at 11:55. It was one less thing to think about.

I am a lunch planning convert. Now I just need to get better about meal planning dinners.

Lunch Planning

If you follow me on Instagram you have probably noticed that we are on the go a lot. The kids and I rarely spend a morning at home. We are usually out enjoying the city and head home in time for lunch.

I love being out of the house, but it is stressful getting back to the house with enough time to cook and serve a healthy meal. I’ve become one of those moms I swore I wouldn’t be – a freezer chicken nugget mom. My kids eat them often. Maybe four times a week.

My kids are in a picky eating phase. They have a few meals they will always eat: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, mac and cheese….the usual carb heavy toddler fare. I’ve fallen into a bad habit of feeding them what they will eat, even though I know full well that they will eat anything if they are hungry enough, and it often takes introducing a food several times before they will accept it. It is so much easier to grab the food I know they will eat.

I need to change that. I want the kids to grow up excited to try new foods. I want them to have a healthy diet. So I’m putting down the chicken nuggets and picking up a plan.

I’ve been meal planning on and off for about a year. It took me a year to decide that meal planning doesn’t have to be for dinner (I know, I can hear you say duh from here). This week when I sat down to meal plan our dinners I also came up with a plan for the kids. I’ve included all of the kids favorites, but I’m introducing other healthy options too. I even plan on having Audrey help me put together the spaghetti bake.

I plan to prep the veggies and fruit the night before to make assembling the meal easier. I thought about prepping it all tonight, but I have the time to prep veggies daily.

Ideally I will stick to the meal plan all week. Realistically I’ll stick to the plan for three days. That is a start. I’m OK with easing into the plan.

Here is what we plan to eat for lunches this week:

Monday – Leftover chicken and noodles (adapted significantly from this), oranges

Tuesday – Leftover chicken and noodles, red pepper strips, oranges

Wednesday – Leftover spaghetti bake (from Tuesday dinner), cucumber, applesauce

Thursday – Chicken nuggets, cucumber, cinnamon bananas

Friday – Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, carrots, oranges.

Wish me luck. Do you meal plans? Do you have any advice? Do you have any suggestions for picky toddler approved healthy options?