I have posted similar things before in the past but since the kids ages & tastes are always changing, our menu is as well so I thought I would elaborate a little bit on what we are up to in the kitchen. With life much busier now, making meals quick & easy is super important, but I also want to make sure that the kids are getting a good balance of healthy foods. Because we never say no to pancakes & ice cream around here.
For reference, Harper is 3.5 & Eloise is 16 months, but she has been eating all of this since she was 12 months old for the most part. Also, out of nowhere, Eloise seems to have developed some sort of strawberry allergy. She used to eat fresh strawberries at least once or twice a day, but while she was cutting her recent teeth we stopped giving them to her because she was getting such bad diaper rash. Her face turned really red & blotchy about three weeks ago after eating a strawberry yogurt pop, and again two weeks ago after eating strawberry ice cream. We decided to not give her any strawberry flavored foods, thinking maybe it was something artificial causing it, but sure enough, she had another reaction this weekend after eating a fresh strawberry. So currently cutting strawberries out of her diet until we chat with the doctor.
Below is a rundown of our basic menu that we rotate through during the week, I usually save new recipes or more complicated stuff for the weekends. And I don’t make all of this stuff ahead of time, just a few meals a week is a huge help.
Pancakes that I can make ahead on weekends & freeze, easy to pop in the toaster or in the microwave, top them with bananas & blueberries.
French Toast, I find this to be a pretty easy breakfast using a large iron skillet so you can make them all at once, it’s one of the girls favorite things so we make this often.
Freezer waffles, I still swear by the Kashi 7 Grain waffles, we love them with peanut butter or almond butter, or my favorite, Nutella!
Granola Bars or cereal & yogurt, especially if we are trying to get out the door quick to go somewhere, this is a quick & easy breakfast.
The girls also love scrambled eggs, but I usually don’t make these during the week because they are messy (I also hate cleaning egg pans) so we save egg & bacon breakfasts for the weekends.
Grilled Cheese (add deli meat like ham or turkey)
Pasta (we love spinach & cheese tortellini with tomato sauce for an easy lunch)
Hot Dogs with mac or a veggie. I love hot dogs, but have never given them to the girls until finding these applegate ones with a not so scary ingredient list. I also get nervous about choking on hot dogs so I cut them into really tiny pieces. They love steamed edamame or green beans with them.
Chicken quesadillas (using shredded chicken made ahead of time) + avocado
Soup, crackers & cheese cubes
Fish sticks/filets with rice or a veggie. My girls LOVE this, they will probably ask for it more than any other lunch. This is my favorite breaded fish recipe
& can be made ahead of time to freeze.
Snacks at Home
Apple slices & peanut butter or almond butter
Carrots & hummus (Harper’s favorite!)
Yogurt or frozen yogurt bars (fun to make our own!)
Mini pretzel sticks with hummus or peanut butter
Bananas (we seriously go through 20 bananas a week in our house)
Snacks on the go (we use these little snack containersto minimize the mess)
Cheddar Puffs (my kids are obsessed with Pirates Booty!)
Animal crackers or Annie’s bunny grahams
Dried Fruit (bananas & apples are their favorite)
Chicken Noodle Soup (chop veggies during meal prep, use shredded chicken made ahead of time)
Lasagna (make sauce during meal prep, use no-boil noodles & freeze, all you have to do is throw in the oven)
Chicken Fried Rice (I use this recipe
, but I use shredded chicken that I have cooked ahead of time)
Carnitas or BBQ Pulled Pork (crockpot)
Maid-Rites (ground beef + can of beef consomme soup, make ahead in crockpot, serve on hamburger buns, here is another recipe
, a bit more complicated but also tastes amazing!)
Chicken Tacos, Fajitas or Enchiladas (chop veggies during meal prep & use shredded chicken made ahead of time, make homemade taco seasoning in bulk to add when cooking OR use crockpot to make the entire meal that day by throwing chicken breasts, salsa, seasoning & beans into crockpot & cooking all day until the chicken can be shredded with a fork). I love this oven taco recipe
Ham & Cheese Sliders (recipe
Stuffed Peppers (make meat, rice & sauce ahead of time during meal prep & freeze)
To make these meals easier, I will make shredded chicken for the week on Sundays in the crockpot (8 chicken breasts + one box of chicken stock for 6 hours) & then put it in the freezer to use one meal at a time. I plan for lasagna & stuffed peppers in the same week so I can cook the ground beef & sauce all at once, then split it for the two meals. Ham & cheese sliders and homemade pizza can be prepared the night before, or even at naptime, and kept in the fridge until it is time to cook. All veggies & fruit are cut during meal prep & stored in the fridge, and I try to make meals that use a lot of the same ingredients so nothing is wasted, like using chopped celery for both chicken noodle soup & chicken salad.
I mentioned before, there are a ton of resources for meal prep & planning out there, especially on Pinterest or blogs that are dedicated to this topic. This is just a quick rundown of how we do it (sorry it is so long!) but hopefully you can find something a little bit helpful! 🙂 And as always, be sure to share your tips, tricks or recipes, I love hearing what others have on their meal planning menu! XO