I know a few three-year-olds who would only eat fruit if she had the choice. One little girl isn’t a fan of eating any meat (not even McDonald’s chicken nuggets!).
Allowing our children to be involved in making dinner and having options can make your weekly meal plan both kid-friendly and parent-friendly. Here we have set up an easy, and easy to do, one-week meal plan.
Stir Fry. Set up your stir-fry meal with options, sort of like you’re going to a Mongolian Bar-B-Q restaurant. Instead of using a large saucepan and making a single meal for the whole family, let each person pick the ingredients for their stir fry. To make it even more diverse, you can set your stir-fry options up based on category.
Portion 1: Meats. Give the choice of chicken or steak.
Portion 2: Veggies. Options can include broccoli, bell peppers, snap peas, and other vegetables that your family enjoys.
Portion 3: Starches. These would consist of baby corn, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots.
Each person can pick at least one item from each group and place it in his/her bowl. Hand the bowl to mom, and within minutes each person has their individualized stir-fry made just to his/her liking.
Bonus, throw everything left from the selection bowls in the pan and ta-da mom and dad have lunch for tomorrow.
Tacos with a taco bar for toppings. Are you noticing a pattern here? Tacos are so easy, and most kids will enjoy building their taco with personal choices for topping. This week’s meal plan is all about allowing your kids the opportunity to be included in making their own selections for dinner.
Everyone gets the same base to make it easy on mom/dad/Tuesday’s cook, but no one is forced into eating something they don’t want to eat. Put any piece of tomato on my daughter’s taco, and it’s going to end up on the floor.
If she puts a tomato on her taco, it’s the best thing she’s ever tasted! I know you’re with me here parents, if it’s not their idea, they don’t like it.
Give them the options; they will surprise you with their choices. If they don’t, at least you get your taco with meat, cheese, tomato, lettuce, guacamole, and cilantro – and it only takes about 15 minutes to prep the taco bar and to cook the meat.
Chicken “nugget” sliders. Sometimes, just the name of a recipe will either intrigue or deter my children from eating something.
They’re small so that they can be less intimidating and more fun for kids. The best part about your Wednesday nugget sliders is you can pick how you want to make your chicken.
To make this dinner on the healthier side I cut the boneless, skinless chicken breast into slider size pieces and brown them either in the skillet or on a Foreman Grill…do other people still own these? If not, I highly recommend them for cooking chicken, burgers, and steak if you don’t have access to a grill).
Place your cooked chicken on King’s Hawaiian rolls or your favorite mini bun and top with a piece of lettuce, tomato, and a little mayo. Serve these with a side of your family’s favorite vegetable, and you’ve got a complete meal in no time!
It’s okay if you have chicken leftover because you can save yourself some time preparing tomorrow’s dinner. *Other options for chicken style – you can use actual chicken nuggets, breaded chicken, or chicken fingers. It depends on what you like, and the amount of time you want to spend on prep.
My favorite day, Chicken Broccoli Alfredo. I love pasta, all of it. Any style, any brand, any way you can make it. What kid doesn’t like pasta? With this meal, you can deconstruct it and serve it to your children; however they will eat it. Some children like raw broccoli but not cooked broccoli, so I suggest setting aside some of the broccoli before cooking.
Prepare each item separately – make the pasta and place in a serving bowl (put a little olive oil on it to keep it from sticking while it sits). Then, steam the broccoli in a steamer and use some of the chicken from the previous night’s dinner.
It takes about 15 minutes to cook pasta, and the steamer takes care of the broccoli. Before you know it, dinner can be on the table in about 20 minutes.
Serving suggestion – I put plain pasta and raw broccoli on one child’s plate. If one eats everything you give them, place the pasta on their plate and top it with a small amount of alfredo, and mix in some of the steamed broccoli.
The best part about keeping everything separate is that you’ll have lunch for the next day! I have never cooked the “right amount” of pasta, I either cook for one or 101 – there is no in-between.
Ah, it’s Friday! The beginning of the weekend and the start of 24/7 momming so let’s make our Friday night dinner the easiest of all. Grilled Cheese.
Sounds extremely basic, I know, but grilled cheese can have different kinds of cheese, with other toppings (some favorites include ham and cheese and once it’s cooked try throwing some avocado and tomato slices on top.
You can also cook a side of bacon and either put that on the side or throw it on your grilled cheese. There are so many options and ways you can make a grilled cheese, but for the picky eater, the basic is sure to be a win.
In the warmer months, I like to serve grilled cheeses with a side of fruit and a salad, but in the fall and winter months, a bowl of warm soup is really the way to go.