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Healthy and Kid-Friendly Meal Plan

October 10, 2012 11:34am (EDT)
image from pbsparents.org
image from pbsparents.org

Most of the time, it seems unnecessarily difficult to feed my family a healthy meal on a weeknight. Like a lot of families, my husband and I both work full-time outside of the home. It means that we have very limited time with our son, the world's most amazing four-year-old, in the evenings. On a good night, we can get about 1.5 hours with him before we have to put him to bed. So, it's fair to want to make the most of that time with happy family togetherness.

If we're going to eat together, which my son especially loves, then I have simply got to plan ahead. At our house a typical week's dinner menu is something like this:
Sunday - I cook something fun from the favorite list (like fish and grits and roasted broccoli)
Monday - SURVIVE: husband is working until super late
Tuesday - Husband's turn to cook
Wednesday - Friday - Wing it!
Saturday - One of us cooks something from the favorite list (like turkey burger patty melts and salad or sweet potato fries)

Clearly, I'm not much good with the menu planning. Plus, it can be a real challenge to make something for dinner that all three of us will eat. To be fair to my son, he is willing to eat everything I have ever fed him that he isn't allergic to; it's just a short list of non-allergy foods. Bless it.

But, there's good news in the form of a week's worth of menus available from PBS Parents. Their Kitchen Explorers blog has great kid-friendly recipes. In this case, the kid-friendly element doesn't just refer to the ingredients. Kids can also help make these meals. Tacos are a great go-to for kid-friendly feeding time. Feel free to get creative here. I've found that I can hide squash in a quesadilla. Sneaky, but I still put this tactic on the good parenting list.

You may even find that getting kids involved in the cooking will make them more likely to eat a greater variety of foods. My four-year-old won't be chopping veggies anytime soon, but I'm going to be intentional about letting him dump ingredients and stir them, too. That will give me more time to spend with him each evening, instead of relegating him to play alone in his room while I cook in the kitchen.

Try out these recipes with your family and let us know how it goes.

One of our go-to meals in the fall is sliced sausage (usually chicken sausage) pan roasted with root veggies - onions, sweet potatoes, carrots and/ or potatoes. What favorite meals will your whole family eat? Share here and you may just help a friend out!

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