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.
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.
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 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!)
Ham & Cheese Sliders (recipe)
Stuffed Peppers (make meat, rice & sauce ahead of time during meal prep & freeze)
Amanda @ More Like Me says
Thank you so much for sharing this! My mom friends and I just started a Facebook group to share meal planning and recipe ideas. I am going to share this!
Allison Cooley says
I love maid rites. My dad is from Iowa so we had these all the time growing up. We used a fancy double boiler thing to steam the ground beef. Also have you heard of FinBites? They make cutting food into bite size prices super easy.
'Tis Our Life Blog
Erica @ Whimsical September says
Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this! My daughter is 21 months old, and we've had the hardest time lately getting her to fill her belly. I refused to give her junk just to get her to eat, but it's so tough when she goes to bed with little in her belly. I appreciate some of these suggestions and am going to save this post for when I got to the grocery store next. 🙂
Thanks for this post! My 3 year old is about to start (5 mornings a week!) preschool & I'll be there too, working in another classroom. Which means I need to get my meal prep shit together.
I had a similar strawberry allergy as a child (no anaphylaxis, but red blotchy hives). Luckily, I've outgrown it as an adult, so there's hope for Eloise!
Also, kashi waffles are amazing, I need to try with Nutella!
Wow! This is awesome and so helpful! Meal planning is REALLY where I struggle. I have a 3 yr old and an almost 2 yr old (both girls). They just started daycare FT and are fed breakfast and lunch there, thank goodness. Dinners are salads, frozen pizzas, chicken and rice, shredded bbq chicken sandwiches, ham and cheese sliders, pasta, etc. All easy stuff. I'm trying to get more creative and your post was super helpful!!
Thanks! Hope three is treating you well!! I struggle with two LOL but…I do want more! 🙂
– Sarah http://www.thefrugalmillionaireblog.com
Ria B. says
Can you please tell us how do make your shredded chicken?
Allison Walls says
My kids love tortellini with pesto sauce. So easy, just like with the red sauce!
Some great ideas here, thanks! Definitely going to try that fish stick recipe.
I recently bought these for my little guy: http://www.amazon.com/FoodWorks-Silicone-Maker-Molds-Popsicle/dp/B00D9HQ30W
We mix whole milk plain yogurt (less sugar than the flavored kind, just our personal choice) with any diced fruit sitting around – especially any about to go bad – and pop them in the freezer (overnight for frozen solid, an hour or so to make it slightly icy but still pretty squeezable). It's basically homemade GoGurt and he loves it for breakfast : ) .
He loves any frozen fruit or veggie straight from the freezer (just cut up small if it's in bigger chunks) when he's teething too. Peas and mango are really popular right now. Gotta love anything no-cook, right?
I thought I was pretty good at meal prep but this is a whole new level!! Thanks for the great ideas!
Amanda Klein says
Awesome ideas – thanks for sharing! For the eggs, have you tried a ceramic non-stick skillet? My MIL introduced me to them – I have a tiny one specifically to make little man's scrambled eggs. No sticking whatsoever (I also use a little bit of butter in the pan) and it goes straight to the dishwasher after. Easy peasy 🙂
Tiffany Sewell says
Thank you for sharing!! I'm trying to get better about freezing meals and cooked meat ahead of time to make things easier with two. We got my husband a Big Green Egg for his birthday/Father's Day and he will roast 6-7 whole chickens at a time for me and then we'll shred them and freeze them. I also keep a list of our most loved meals (25-30 tried-and-true meals) on the fridge so that I always have something to fall back on! Do you have a deep freezer or do you manage to fit all of this in your kitchen freezer?
Thanks SO MUCH for posting this, Jessica! It never hurts to see some fresh idea for my 21 month old. I appreciate it and I'm glad to hear you're doing well and hanging on to that sanity! 🙂 -NG
Meghan Splawn says
Ella, my 3.5 year old, is obsessed with hummus too. She also loves to snack on plain cooked chickpeas or crispy chickpeas we roast in the oven. I just discovered Biena chickpeas at Target, and we all love them!
I love your breakfast ideas – we are pretty burnt out on eggs at our house! Ella loves what we call waffle pizza – which is basically a Kashi waffle with red sauce and cheese toasted under the broiler. We also do pancake sandwiches (like pb & J but with pancakes instead of bread) once a week.
We also do 'snack dinner' about once a week – which is a really great way to avoid cooking and use up any leftover meal prep from the week. I do this most often on a night when my husband is working late…
Julie Lauscher says
I love seeing what/how other people eat & meal plan; Its good inspiration! So thank you for this!
Bethany Michelle says
Thank you so much for sharing! I'm currently in the process of making my make-ahead meals list for when I go on maternity leave and this is a major help. The fish sticks sound heavenly and are definitely on the must try list.
We love the Kashi waffles too. I just tried to incorporate cream of wheat into our breakfast rotation, but so far my son (15 months) is kind of weary of it. I will keep trying. I also finally tried overnight oats after you mentioned them, and my son LOVED them. He giggled after his first bite, I kid you not.
She did say: 8 chicken breasts with a box of chicken stock for 6 hours on the crock pot.
What is the link to this group? I would definitely be interested in joining!
So great thank you! My oldest went through the same thing with strawberries around Eloise's age and lasted about a year then she went back to normal. Strange! Thank you for sharing your life with us! We love you!
The kids love the Applegate maple chicken sausage links found in the health food section. They are the bomb! 🙂
Priscilla - The Wheelchair Mommy says
Fantastic list!!! (and congrats on #3!! I have 3 BOYS!!)
leeann Austin says
I've been in a meal slump lately so thank you for your details!
This is great, thanks for posting! I have an 18 month old and I'm always trying to find new ideas to switch things up with her. Curious-when you meal prep veggies and fruit how do you store them? I find if I cut up fruit for the week and put in tupperware in the fridge, it gets soggy by the end of the week? Do you store the veggies in water? Thanks!
Lindsay at Lindsay'sSweetWorld says
Those ham and cheese sliders will definitely be eaten in our house next week! They sound divine!
For eggs, have you ever tried them in the microwave? I eat an egg every single morning and I never use the stove (because #aintnobodygottimefodat). It's super easy! Crack one egg in a microwaveable bowl, add a tiny splash of milk and a dash of salt and pepper. Microwave on high for 40-50 seconds (depending on the thickness of your bowl and your microwave – it may take a couple of tries before you perfect it) and voila – a perfect scrambled egg, already in a bowl and ready for you to eat! My babies both love eggs, so when they're being picky and not eating the dinner that I cook, I know I can always whip up an egg for them in literally a minute so they have something nutritious to eat! :o)
Any easy tips on shredding chicken, Jessica?
Thank you for sharing! I'm testing out onceamonthmeals.com this month to give it a shot. Have you heard of that?
I, too have a toddler. Thank you so much for this post as it gave me some idea on what to serve him. Anyway, as for egg pan, this one will change your life. 🙂 It's non-stick and the egg just glides… http://amzn.to/1f9UhTD
My daughter loves Pirate Booty also. Do you have Trader Joe's by you? They sell a version of Pirates Booty that tastes the exact same but it's like $1.69 for a giant bag. With the switch, I think we've saved enough to pay for her college education. 😉
The Delightful Life says
Love your blog so much! I can't wait to see Claire's nursery and newborn photos!
OMG thank you! I have been so lost on what to give my twin boys (13 mo. old). I literally just went to Target yesterday and stared at the snack aisle to find new ideas! I have two questions for you, if you wouldn't mind?
1- Soup… how do you feed Eloise that? Do you just plop the noodles/veggies out of it onto her highchair tray? Or can she eat with a spoon unassisted already?
2- Carrots & hummus. Do you give Eloise raw, uncooked carrots? I am terrified of my boys choking but love this snack idea. How do you feed her this exactly, I guess I am asking?
Thank you so much for the amazing ideas! I am so buying those hot dogs & making these recipes! Amazing! 🙂
great post! quick, useful tips that will make tackling dinner every night easier. thank you!
This is great! Thanks!
Use a mixer! Seriously the easiest thing ever! I boil my chicken, but i'm sure them being cooked in the crockpot is the same. Just drain the water/chicken broth so nothing hot splashes on you, and use the mixer~ shreds it in like 30 seconds
Ryan Strobolakos says
My husband is allergic to strawberries and he randomly developed the allergy as well! Be careful with other berries (esp raspberries and blackberries). They make my husband's mouth tingle and his skin sometimes get itchy but he's never had a true reaction to other berries like the strawberries. Dont want Eloise to feel the same way! Hope she outgrows it! Berries are too good to be allergic! 🙂
Kyle.Katie O'Connell says
The Fresh 20 is a LIFESAVER! It's super quick, super cheap, super healthy and super yummy! It takes all the hassle out of meal time. Check it out here: http://www.thefresh20.com
Mary Vincent says
Thank you for this! My son is a few weeks older than Eloise and I am in my first trimester with #2. Meal planning and prep has been a joke for us lately. I'm sure my husband will appreciate the benefits of this post 😉
I make scrambled eggs in a glass bowl in the microwave, which is super quick. Crack an egg, add a bit of milk, stir and cover. Heat for 30 seconds, stir and heat for another 25-30 seconds. Almost as tasty as real scrambled eggs and way quicker and easier. My daughters love eggs so we do this a lot when we are in a rush!
Awesome tips! I did a meal planning post a couple months back…
Danny Plant says
I have to share one of my favorite time saving tricks, if you don't already know this one.. After your chicken is cooked and still very hot, throw it in your kitchen aid mixer on medium speed for seriously less than a minute and it shreds it perfectly!!!
Danny Plant says
I have to share one of my FAVORITE time saving tricks on shredding chicken ( if you don't ready know ) : after its cooked and still very hot, put it in your kitchen aid mixer at medium speed for seriously less than a minute and it shreds the chicken perfectly!!!
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thank you so much for this post! as i was getting my twin girls down for their nap a few minutes ago i was thinking how i needed to get on pinterest to look for toddler meal and snack ideas, and then lo and behold i scrolled through and saw your post! they just turned one so this is perfect 🙂 love reading about you and your little ladies, keep on keepin on mama!
ALLISON PUMMELL says
I had the exact same reaction to fresh strawberries when I was young child and grew out of it by the time I was school age… don't worry too much, she will come back around to starwberrits!
Thank you for this! Did any of your girls go through a picky eating stage? I look at your toddler meals and would be ecstatic if I could get my 2 year old to eat them. She's really picky and refuses to try anything new. It's been a real struggle and I dread mealtimes now.
Meal prep saves so much time and really does help stay on a fitness track – and some of these options would be great for me!
Sparkles and Shoes
Great tips! I have three kiddos also. 5 1/2, 3 1/2, and 16 months! My 5yo just started Kindergarten so i'm always looking for ideas for him, and then also the younger 2 at home 🙂 I saw a few posts back that you shop at Sprouts. My husband is convinced that you shop at his store because of the produce setup. So if you are ever at the Sprouts in John's Creek and see Billy (Store Manager), tell him hi! And i'd love to meet you for coffee sometime if you ever want anymore mommy friends (even though i'm sure you have a ton)!
Kelley @LoveLikeCrazy says
Oh my gosh – this is so helpful. I love reading other quick recipes that mom's are using. It gives me so many more ideas! I really need to revamp my meal planning and get back on track. Plus, it makes school lunches easier. Read this, and it will change your egg making for life. It takes 1 minute. Seriously. Just soak the mug in water so you don't have a hard clean up. http://kelleyanddan.blogspot.com/2015/02/super-quick-and-healthy-toddler.html
tracy n says
Thank you for sharing your menu planning. I'm also into it and it makes my life so easy.
This is great to share! It's kinda difficult sometimes to keep being creative, esp with the very little ones. Keep 'em coming! Brittany @sweethughes.blogspot.com
Ashley @ Life on the Parsons Farm says
This is so great!! I have loosely been meal planning for the past 2 years and it has been such a Stress RELIEVER!!! Now I just need to be more planned out and think of getting items that can last for a few nights and then eventually I might be able to figure our meal prep – that sounds like an amazing idea!!
Thank you so much for the post! I love it! I have a 12 month old & I'm 8 weeks pregnant. Eeeek!!! I swear feeding babies is a full time jobs. I feel like I live in the kitchen!!
I have been following since you were pregnant with Harper and I can't tell you how beautiful your family has become! Congrats!!!
Quick question… I know this sounds dumb, but how do you defrost the pre shredded frozen chicken to make meals? Like tacos. Is leaving it out to defrost the only way?? I have no patience for such things… Hoping you have some magic way to go from freezer to tortilla! Lol
-Felicity & Baby Cal in Ca.
i think Chicken Fried Rice is not suit in this period, vegan is best choice
You gave a quick recipe with maid rites in the crockpot but your other blog posts Abt MR are stove top. How do you do the crock pot recipe? Thx