Welcome back to Menu Monday! As I explained in last week’s post on How to Meal Plan, we plan from Saturday to Friday and do most of our cooking on the weekends. Having leftovers is necessary for us to have things go more smoothly in the evenings. Let me share some simple tips this week on meal planning with kids.
We get home around 5:30 pm and the kids need to be heading upstairs for showers around 7:00 pm. This doesn’t leave a ton of time for getting dinner prepared and other responsibilities like helping with homework. Luckily we are only dealing with 2nd grade homework right now!
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Tips for Meal Planning with Kids
Having kids can make meal planning a little more challenging. It can be hard to find meals that the entire family will eat and enjoy. Here are a few tips that can help the meal planning process with children.
Let the kids help plan the meals.
If you are in a rut, pull out the cookbooks and let the family pick some recipes that look good to them. They will be more likely to eat it if they think it is their idea. If you don’t have cookbooks, pull up your “What’s for Dinner” Pinterest Board.
Always include a fruit or veggie you know they enjoy.
Of course I want my kids to eat a variety of fruits and veggies. I also know that it takes several times of trying before they may actually start to enjoy a new food. My kids both enjoy strawberries, sliced cucumbers, and green beans. I always plan to include one of those with their meal.
Keep it simple.
Most kids enjoy eating plain foods. Cheese quesadillas or a bowl of plain pasta are actually two of my kids’ favorite meals. How easy is that?! If I am making a pasta dish that I know my husband and I will enjoy, I boil a little extra pasta to scoop out before the other ingredients are added.
Create a list of their favorite meals.
Having a notebook or word document where you can keep a list of your families’ favorite meals is so helpful. Sometimes my mind just goes blank when it’s time to actually think about our meal plan. Save favorite meal plans to your Pinterest boards. This is our favorite Trader Joe’s Meal Plan. It has seven easy dinner ideas that my whole family will eat!
Serve deconstructed meals to the kids.
If you are planning to have chicken and bean burritos, serve the chicken and beans separate for the kids. They don’t always like things mixed together but they will happily eat some of the “parts” to the meal.
Give yourself a break.
We plan to order pizza or takeout on Friday nights. After working all week and coming up with dinner for the other six nights, it is nice to have a break. If you are worried about it not being healthy, serve a salad or fresh fruit with your takeout dinner. It is all about balance!
Our Meal Plan for the Week
I hope these tips are helpful! It is so nice to enjoy family meals together. We got a bit of a snow storm this weekend and were happy to have our favorite soup planned for Sunday evening!
This is what we have meal planned for the week. As you can see, I love using leftovers to make dinner as simple as possible.
- Saturday – Grilled Chicken, Baked Potatoes, and Peas
- Sunday – Lasagna Soup
- Monday – Chicken Stir-fry using leftover chicken from Saturday night, a bag of frozen veggies, honey, and soy sauce.
- Tuesday – Leftover Lasagna Soup
- Wednesday – Ground Beef Tacos
- Thursday – Rice Bowls or Stuffed Peppers using leftover taco mixture
- Friday – Takeout Pizza
What’s on the menu at your house this week?