Sharing 25 meals that my kids will eat, no matter what. It’s always hard to find kid-friendly recipes and home runs, so I’m sharing the goods in this post!
Raise your hand if you’re SO sick of cooking right now. I’ve been in a cooking funk for pretty much all of ‘Rona (and yes, I’ve complained about it here on the blog quite a bit. I’m sorry for being a big ol’ whiner.). I think with everything else on the list (distance learning, trying to keep P from injuring herself, trying to shuffle in my own work and workouts amidst the madness), cooking just doesn’t feel like this fun leisure activity I used to enjoy so much. It just feels like a means to an end, and the end consists of me cleaning everything up before starting the process all over again. Thankfully, the girls are awesome eaters and are adventurous, so even when I have one of those clean-out-the-fridge nights to see what happens, they’ll try pretty much everything.
Please keep in mind that I’m not an RD, but here are some of the tips for feeding kiddos that I’ve found helpful:
– Always serve at least one thing you know they love. This way, if they’re not a fan of the meal, there’s something else on their plate that they enjoy. I always try to serve each meal with at least one fruit and one veggie so they’re getting in enough nutrients during the day.
– Encourage a polite bite. They don’t have to eat anything they don’t want to eat or try, but we encourage them to take at least one polite bite. Sometimes that means they end up loving it and finding a new fave!
– Respect kiddos’ intuitive eating. They’re really excellent at listening to their bodies; eating when they’re hungry and stopping when they’re full. We don’t tell them they have to eat “x” amount of bites or clean their plates. If they don’t eat much and I know they’re going to be hungry later, I just pop their dinner in the fridge to heat up if they’re begging me for a bar at 9pm.
– Switch up the greens rotation. It can get so easy to fall into the broccoli, green beans, and zucchini sides for a green vegetable but the girls get sick of them. I try to switch it up by picking up different things (like artichokes, Brussels sprouts, stir fries), making chopped salads with our entree, or the Caesar salad kit from Costco. The girls go crazy for it.
For today’s post, I wanted to share some of my go-to recipes that are home runs for the whole family. I feel like these are hard to find, so when you find a good recipe your kids love, you definitely want to keep coming back to it. I’d love to hear any of your kids’ favorite meals, too, if you wouldn’t mind sharing in the comments below. We can all share some ideas and inspiration with each other during a kind of blah cooking time.
French toast with berries and sausage. The kids LOVE French toast. They could probably eat it for every meal and be totally happy. I crack two eggs into a bowl and add a splash of coconut milk creamer or almond milk, some vanilla, lots of cinnamon, and nutmeg. I dip each slice of Dave’s Killer Bread (or brioche if I’m feeling fancy) into the egg mixture and cook on the electric griddle. I add more cinnamon before flipping. The kids have gotten really used to having French toast or pancakes most days of the week since we’ve all been home, but for busy school mornings, I make extra servings over the weekend and freeze them to heat when we’re in a rush.
Chia pudding with banana and peanut butter. This is an awesome make-ahead breakfast. I just add a cup and a half of almond milk to a jar, along with 4 tablespoons of chia seeds, lots of cinnamon, and some maple syrup to sweeten. I stir and let it sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I put it into two bowls and top with sliced bananas, peanut butter, cinnamon, and honey.
Avocado toast with a scrambled egg. I make sourdough over the weekends and freeze it to enjoy during the week. In the morning, I pop the bread into the toaster and then top each slice with mashed avocado, sea salt, and lemon juice, and serve with a side of scrambled eggs.
Egg burritos. Another fave on-the-go breakfast. I just scramble 3 eggs on the stovetop and add a handful of shredded cheese to the eggs when they’re done cooking. I spread butter onto warm tortillas, top with eggs, and roll up. If we take them with us in the car, I wrap each burrito in a paper towel and then foil so it stays warm until we leave.
Pancakes (of course) with turkey bacon or scrambled eggs. This is our go-to pancake recipe! Like most things, I make a ton and freeze them.
Smoothies! The girls LOVE smoothies for a quick breakfast or afternoon snack. If I’m making them on the fly, I’ll add almond milk, frozen bananas, frozen fruit, spinach, chia, MCT oil, honey, and peanut butter. Otherwise, they really love the Daily Harvest smoothies (code FITNESSISTA gets you $25 off your first box!).
Bagel with cream cheese, sliced apples, and veggies with hummus.
Turkey sandwich with cheese on Dave’s Killer Bread with Primal Kitchen Ranch dressing and cheddar.
Omelette with cheddar and a side of leftover veggies from dinner the night before, and jelly toast
Pizza on an english muffin. Even better = Papa John’s pizza. Let’s be real here.
Grilled cheese with sliced apples, and veggies with ranch or hummus.
Nachos!! Chips, top with cheese, melt in the microwave. Add black beans, salsa, guacamole, and boom. Lunch is served.
Sushi roll bowl. This is one of our family’s very favorite easy dinners! SO satisfying and quick.
Ina Garten’s lasagna. This one is a bit more labor-intensive but a huge hit. It really is the best lasagna.
Super cheesy chicken enchiladas (I serve these with beans and rice).
Chicken and broccoli casserole with a side salad. <— I mentioned above that the girls LOVE Caesar salads so I’ve been buying the salad kits at Costco. Bonus: it takes 5 minutes to put together.
Steak, roasted asparagus and baked potatoes. The Pilot makes awesome steak on the grill and we all go crazy for it. (I have red meat once every couple of months or so.)
Turkey meatloaf with sweet potato fries and a salad.
Turkey chili with cornbread. I top the chili with cheese, avocado, and lime juice.
Chicken tortilla soup with avocado, lime juice, and sour cream.
This chicken and veggie soup with a piece of sourdough.
Any type of stir fry. I recently got one from Trader Joe’s that had tons of veggies and chickpeas, and sautéed it on the stove with red onion, salt and pepper. I added shrimp to the mixture to cook, and poured some Primal Kitchen teriyaki sauce on top. Everything was served on top of rice (cooked in the Instant Pot). It was awesome!
Easy pasta dish. While Banza pasta boils, I’ll take chicken sausage and sauté it on the stove with garlic, spinach, and add sun-dried tomatoes. When it’s done, I’ll add Banza pasta, some butter, and parmesan. It’s SO easy (like 15 minutes!) and the girls go crazy for it.
Some of their favorite snacks:
Perfect Bars (or any bars really).
Jerky. They especially love these maple jerky sticks.
Any fruit. I try to switch it up each week! We always have bananas, berries, apples, and usually grapes on hand, but I try to get at least one or two different things each week, like cantaloupe, watermelon, pomegranate arils, persimmon, pears, peaches, whatever the market has that looks good.
Applesauce pouches. I get the giant box of organic pouches from Costco.
Energy balls. You can play around with flavor variations depending on what you have in the pantry.
The infamous snack plate. This is a beloved afternoon snack and is like a kids’ version of a charcuterie board. I’l just add a bunch of snacks to one large plate and they’ll share while they play outside or watch a show. It usually has chopped bars, sliced fruit, berries, cheese, jerky, pretzels, trail mix, pickles, whatever I have on hand.
So there ya go! Some of the girls’ very favorite meals. I’d love to hear your family favorites and take all the inspiration I can get! Please share your faves in the comments below. 🙂