If you’re a parent, you might find it difficult to plan meals for your babies, toddlers or kids because of their frantic minds. Meal planning for kids requires separate strategies as it takes a little more care and patience. As working parents, you can feel stressed from feeding your kids with nutritious meals everyday. These meal planning hacks will help you stay on track of your work as well as not feel guilty about giving your kids unhealthy food. Here are the five meal planning hacks to streamline your time in the kitchen and help you produce a kid-friendly meal without any frustrations.
Buy Snacks in Separate Packs
Kids are always hungry and even if you feed them an elaborate dinner or lunch, they ask for snacks throughout the day. If you are a busy parent and don’t have time to make a quick snack for your kid every time, you can simply invest in buying snacks as separate packs. These packs will save you money, time and also portion control your kid easily.
When kids ask for second servings of snacks, we might feel guilty of not giving them healthy snacks often. Buying packs of healthy snacks will make kids think that they are eating one whole pack at a time. This habit will trick the brain into believing that they have eaten a lot of snacks. Snack packs can reduce their cravings for second servings and also for reaching out for snacks often.
Repeat Your Kids Favorite Meals
Cooking for kids is a daunting task because they keep changing their mind so often that you will never be able to guess which type of food will satisfy them on a particular day. Even if they loved eating a bowl of pasta for dinner last night, they will not eat another bowl of pasta for breakfast or lunch the next day because they simply outgrew the taste.
If you are a busy parent who is constantly searching for new meal ideas, you can take note of your kids’ cravings. Sometimes keeping it simple and routine will reduce your stress on feeding them healthy meals. A repeated kid meal is always a winner because it is their favorite. Children as they grow tend to make their own decisions. When you let them choose a meal, they will happily eat the boring food. Try to repeat your children’s favorites as weeknight dinners instead of forcing them to eat a variety of food. They would love to go for their favorite meal every time even if it is repeated often.
Go for Theme-Based Meals
Children love cartoons because it’s fun to learn a lot with colours and images. If you are busy parents struggling with toddlers, you can simply plan your meals for the week based on a particular theme. It need not be complicated, you can make simple meals based on a cartoon, food items, kids-friendly themes such as, birthday parties, Halloween or festivals, even simple colours for each day. Themes attract kids because they are much more focused on how you coordinate meals into a theme.
Let your children choose a theme for your meals and ask them for suggestions on what food they would love to have this week. It creates a healthy pattern with kids in deciding their own meals. Themes will help you save time in guessing or thinking about having a second food option if your kid does not eat a particular food prepared for the day.
Stock Up on Roasted Meats
Protein is one of the important foods to give to children because proteins are building blocks of the body. Buying a whole range of uncooked meats will prolong your cooking time. You can easily buy roasted meat at the supermarket because it always tastes good for kids as it is less spicy.
You can make a number of meals using roasted meat and having them on hand will help you save a lot of time when you prepare kids lunch boxes or quick dinner after work. You can pick roasted chicken, Turkey fish or even shrimp from the market when you come back home from your work and make dinners using these delicious proteins.
Skewers to the Rescue
Kids love fancy meals because it will make them feel more energetic and enthusiastic about food. If you have time on hand, you can just chop fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and make delicious skewers. Try chopping strawberries, grapes, apple, cheese cubes, carrot, celery and breakfast meats into cubes.
Finger foods are kids’ favorite foods to eat because it’s easy to have on the go. They can eat them while playing with other children or while they read or watch TV. It is fuss-free and lets them eat freely instead of sitting with a fork and knife. You can even pack these squares in the lunch boxes or freeze them in zip-lock bags and use them whenever you need.