Planning kids meals is like, my parenting arch-nemesis. The struggle is REAL for me, and because you guys have told me so, I KNOW the struggle is real for you too. My Mom friends are always asking me if I have any good meal idea suggestions. So, I decided to share some of those today in hopes of making all our lives a bit easier.
this post may contain affiliate links*
A FEW TIPS
MAKE IT COLORFUL: My daughter eats WAY better if there’s a bunch of color on her plate. She literally must eat the rainbow at almost all times or she just doesn’t eat as well. But, as I’ve said in the past, I’ve got ZERO time to prepare those creative kids meals we all swoon over on Instagram. I wanna. I’m not gonna.
DON’T OVERWHELM YOURSELF: Pick a few things your kiddo loves and switch it up to keep things interesting. As you’ll see from the meals below, we stick to our staples and mix up the variety on a meal to meal basis. And, since kids are fickle as (you know what), it’s a simple method to adjust when a favorite becomes a hate, and something new is added to the roster.
USE BRIGHT PLATES, CONTAINERS + UTENSILS: Look. I wanna cut cheese into bunnies like the best of em’, but…no. Not happening. So, instead, I choose to use colorful plates and containers to make sure that even the blandest looking food feels fun and joyful (bagels can be joyful guys. They can).
12 COLORFUL KIDS MEALS FOR YOU
I’ll reiterate here what I mentioned above. These are not gourmet kids meals. These are super simple, easy meals to inspire you in your own kitchen. Lots of the parents I talk to get stuck on one or two faves and prepare that every.single.day. No shame in that game, but this offers a bit more variety, gets kids tasting different textures and keeps things healthy.
QUESADILLAS. These Quesadillas are super easy. When we’re at home, we use the almond flour-based, grain-free wraps from Siete Foods. If we are sticking this in a lunchbox, we use a nut-free wrap. Literally, wrap, cheese, microwave for 30 seconds or stick on the skillet over medium heat and flip a few times. We buy mini hummus and guac cups at the grocery store. And, although I hate the extra waste, I do like the convenience when we’re eating out of the house.
Cheddar Cheese Quesadillas with raspberries, clementines, sweet red pepper hummus, and baby cucumbers
BREAKFAST FOR DINNER! We do breakfast for dinner (and lunch) all the time. It’s so limiting to keep all the amazing breakfast options to one meal per day. We get the Garden Lite veggie waffles or Vans whole grain waffles, whole grain english muffins and oatmeal protein english muffins. My daughter enjoys the yogurt in a pouch when we’re out, but will not eat it plain at home. So, sometimes I add a few sprinkles to make it fun, colorful (and to her standards, edible).
Veggie Waffles, maple syrup, spinach and mango yogurt with rainbow sprinkles, strawberries & blueberries
BAGELS! We love mini bagels because they are so easy to doctor up (we always get the multi-grain, sometimes cinnamon raisin for funzies). My daughter eats them toasted, untoasted, with butter, peanut butter, jelly, pizza, etc. I always have a ton of frozen organic veggies in the freezer (steam in bag in the microwave is my pref) and serve those for meals as an alternative to raw veggies. My daughter will not eat 99% of meat, but she does love pepperoni (we purchase the uncured applegate, nitrate free versions).
Toasted multi-grain Bagel with grass-fed butter, nitrate-free pepperoni, steamed cauliflower, broccoli, and raspberries
Untoasted Bagel with cream cheese, peaches, sliced red bell peppers + Trader Joes Quinoa crisps
CHICKEN TENDERS: Sometimes (sometimes) I can get her to each chicken, if they are breaded and served with honey for dipping. Stop and shop carries an organic, grass-fed version she seems to enjoy, that has minimal breading and extra ingredients. They are frozen and easy to pop in the microwave for a quick meal.
Multi Grain Chicken tenders with wildflower honey, blueberries, baby carrots, and sharp cheddar cheese
EVERYTHING ELSE. We have a ton of random things we throw together that she seems to love. I like having microwaveable rice and quinoa on hand (Minute Rice makes an organic garlic version she loves) and mac and cheese (we like Annies). Banza chickpea noodles with butter and cheese are always a staple, as well as veggie noodles (just watch the ingredients as some say “veggie” and are basically not veggie at all – I always go for the least ingredients possible – Trader Joes has a nice selection).
Quinoa + Brown rice with cucumbers, mozzarella cheese, cashews, pecans, grapes + raspberries
PANTRY QUICK LIST
Here’s a quick list of what I had on hand to make each of these colorful kids meals.
- Grains: Wraps, waffles, English muffins, bagels, quinoa + brown rice
- Fruit: Clementines, Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, peaches, grapes, melon, cherries
- Veggies: Baby Cucumbers, Baby carrots, red bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli
- Dairy: Shredded Cheddar Cheese, yogurt, mozzarella cheese, sharp cheddar cheese
- Meats: Pepperoni, turkey, ham, chicken tenders
- Dips: Hummus, guacamole, honey, sprinkles, cream cheese, jelly, butter, maple syrup
- Other: Nuts, quinoa crisps, black beans, Bunny Grahams, mac + cheese, tri-color veggie pasta, banza chick pea pasta
Kids Meal Staples
A few other things I love when sending her off to camp or school with lunch: durable, leak-proof lunch box containers and cute little notes (I found the ones below at the Target dollar spot. Until she learns how to read through, I always just draw a picture and write a short word she can practice spelling).
*As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Post may contain affiliate or referral links. I earn a small commission if you make a purchase through my links, which helps me continue on this fabulous journey of blogging! Full disclaimers avail. here.