My kids hate eating. That's all there is to it. I really wish I had that problem, I love to eat. I guess I wouldn't say they hate eating but they are creatures of habit. They don't mind eating the same thing over and over and over and over again, unlike me. I get asked a lot what we eat for lunch around here so I thought I would share because it's Friday and happy well-fed campers are a favorite of mine!
As moms we feel the need to serve a great variety because we like variety and we feel pressure to! I have come to find if I stick to these 10 basic lunch ideas and rotate, everyone is happy. When you look at the list, you will say oh I make that...I think when we lay it out, we actually do serve more variety than at first thought. So I am here to tell you -- good job! My son's school lunch calendar only has 15 main dish items so if they can do it, why can't we?
Whatever you serve, remember your kids are fed and loved.
Never underestimate the power of a good meal rewarmed. I know not all meals are a hit but plan your dinner meals to include extras for leftovers. Leftovers my kids especially love leftover are: pizza and taco/mexican dishes. I try to include both of these into our menu every week for this purpose.
Peanut Butter // Hummus
|Peanut Butter Toast (left) and Leftover Mexican food (right)|
Peanut butter on anything. Peanut butter sandwiches, peanut butter toast, peanut butter crackers, peanut butter with celery. You can even warm up a dollop in the microwave and drizzle over cut up bananas. Cutting up the bread in various shapes and sizes make the meal new again. One day you can do squares, the next triangles and then strips (as seen above). Hummus is great with pita chips, crackers or dipping carrots into!
No matter which way you crack it #punintended, eggs are a fast and easy protein to make for lunch. You can add some sausage, bacon, ham or cheese as well. My kids like to cut a hole in the middle of a piece of bread and make eggs in the hole. They also like sunny side up eggs with cheese on top. You can make egg burritos in soft shells!
There is no limit to the creativity with quesadillas. You can make simple cheese ones. Try breakfast quesadillas filled with egg, cheese and meat. You can add some cheese and pepperoni and serve with marinara sauce for an Italian twist. You can even do peanut butter and banana quesadillas.
Macaroni and Cheese
No matter what type of diet you follow, there is a box of macaroni and cheese that probably fits it. It's normally a kid favorite and easily made and stored for leftovers the next day.
My tip with macaroni and cheese leftover is rather than just microwaving it, place the leftovers in a sauce pan with a little bit of milk and stir as you rewarm. It turns back into what looks like original macaroni and cheese. My kids will not eat macaroni and cheese rewarmed in the microwave but I have found a way to trick them ;).
Waffles and Pancakes
You can either make up some homemade pancakes and freeze them or buy pre-made frozen to microwave or toast! My kids sometimes like to dip so we will mix it up with the way we cut it -- strips, triangles, or bite size!
I keep a sleeve of these in my fridge at all times. They make a great base to whatever you want to add inside. From hot dogs, to string cheese, breakfast sausage or pepperoni. Bonus -- your kids will love helping roll them up.
A tip I have found to work really well is to let your littles help make their food. There is just something to doing it themselves that suddenly makes it more appealing. Crescent rolls are a great way for littles to roll whatever they want right up and then cook!
Let your kids help you make their lunch, they are more likely to eat it.
Meat and Cracker Lunch
Sometimes I get stuck in the thought that there has to be a main dish and sides. Kids love eating crackers, cubes of cheese and cubed up meat. Just grab a variety of crackers, meats your kids like and a variety of cheese.
You can make a weeks worth of meals just with those 3 items. Who doesn't love a meat and cheese tray. It's like your very own homemade Lunchable. I do love the bought ones too especially when they are on sale for a $1 ;).
My kids don't love sandwiches which is just wrong. We do do grilled cheese dipped in ranch of course (because that's a food group ;). You can add in some meat to that as well for a little added variety. I make mine with bacon and avocado if I am feeling fancy!
Don't forget about all those things you can stock up in the freezer section. Everything in moderation, right? My kids love pizza rolls, taquitos, chicken nuggets, mini corn dogs, and mozzarella sticks. I generally buy one of those items and serve them once a week and then when they are gone, I choose something different! Right now there are mini corn dogs in my freezer!
Sometimes, you just need to go through the drive-thru or text a friend to meet at Chick Fil-a! One friend use to always go out on Friday for lunch with her kids. Remember variety isn't as important to them as it is to us. If all else fails, having some fun items to make eating more appealing never hurts. Here's a few ideas to add to your wish list!
We have these plates and I pull them out when we are going through a particularly rough phase with eating or I know dinner might not be a favorite ;). My kids also love to eat with different utensils so those cute animal toothpicks or the lego chopsticks. We have the construction silverware and they are in high demand along with these spoon/fork combos.
Meal time with littles can be downright crazy but hopefully these tips and ideas will help you to get on the right track to smoother meal times so everyone enjoys eating. Kids included!
Pin this graphic and print so you don't get stuck at lunchtime again with HANGRY children! Keep it handy while grocery list making to remember to add in items for lunches, I always forget!
What are you serving these days? What tips and tricks do you have? What utensils get your kids excited for meal time? Please share!
Check out their blogs for more fun this Friday!
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Labels: food, kids, kids cooking, meal plan, recipe, simple recipe