A Week of Healthy Kids Meal Ideas (that Actually Work in Real Life!)
- May 20, 2021
Coming up with ideas for what to feed the kids from breakfast through dinner (and those snack times in between!) can feel like such a challenge. To help, here are 7 days worth of healthy kids meal ideas.
Kids Meal Ideas
I know firsthand how it can often feel like you’re totally out of ideas for what to make the kids each day. The endlessness of feeding a family is real! Thankfully, I also know that simply seeing new ideas can help bust any of us out of a rut—so these seven sample days worth of kids meal ideas are here to help.
I’ve included a breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner for each day of a sample week. These are real meals and foods that I’ve served to my middle kiddo when she was two years old, so know that you may need to adjust the specifics of how a food is served or the serving size for your own child.
TIP: I hope this is implied, but OF COURSE sub in similar prepared or purchased foods if and when you can’t make everything homemade.
How to Plan Kids Meals Step-by-Step
Before we jump into the specifics of each meal, here are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to planning out kids meals.
- Aim for variety over the course of the day and the week. Some days your kids may want more of one food group and that’s okay if you adjust what comes on days after to help balance their nutrition without forcing them to eat certain foods.
- Trust that your child knows their own hunger levels and don’t push extra bites if they truly aren’t hungry. (They’re the only ones in their bodies!)
- Stick to a set schedule of meal times and aim to avoid letting them graze in between. This is the best way to ensure that they’ll actually be hungry for meals. Adjust the schedule if the kids are consistently hungry before it’s time—or try an easy appetizer of raw fruits or veggies before dinner if that helps.
- Depending on where your kiddo is with growth, hunger, and activity level, they may need or want a bedtime snack. That’s okay as long as they aren’t skipping dinner to get to a snack they prefer. If that’s happening, make the bedtime snack super boring—like a banana! Or save the rest of their dinner and offer it to them if they say they’re hungry before bed.
TIP: Keep the personality of your child in mind and adjust any advice accordingly. Every kiddo is unique and may react differently to different scenarios. There’s no perfect here!
Kids Meal Ideas: Day 1
Swap in leftover homemade pancakes from the weekend or pick up a low sugar frozen waffle. I like Kashi or Vans brand.
- Breakfast: Banana Pancakes or waffles (homemade, leftover, or frozen from the store), milk, extra sliced banana
- Morning Snack: Homemade Granola Bar (or a store bought one) with optional milk
- Lunch: Spinach and Cheese Pizza Roll, fruit and cucumbers
- Afternoon Snack: Strawberry Banana Smoothie with Cauliflower
- Dinner: Broccoli Pesto Pasta, Pan-Seared Chicken, side applesauce
TIP: Each day should include an iron-rich source to help kids get enough of that nutrient.
Kids Meal Ideas: Day 2
Sub in yogurt with granola if that’s easier for you to pull together for breakfast. The muffins work well to make ahead and stash in the fridge to use throughout the week (and into the freezer for future weeks).
TIP: If your kiddo is hungrier for afternoon snack, add something else to go with the applesauce such as whole grain cereal, crackers, or a cheese stick.
Kids Meal Ideas: Day 3
Add 1/2-1 cup of milk to each main meal if desired to round out the nutrients in the day. (It’s okay if your child doesn’t love or drink milk though. They just need 2-3 servings of dairy a day to meet their calcium needs.)
TIP: Sub in freezer waffles or toast for the French Toast if that’s easier for you!
Kids Meal Ideas: Day 4
If you want to try a genius shortcut for the eggs, try cooking them in 30 seconds in the microwave!
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, berries, milk
- Morning Snack: Cheese crackers (you can do store bought if you prefer), banana
- Lunch: Veggie Hummus, crackers, sliced peach, carrot ribbons
- Afternoon Snack: Cereal, fruit, and milk or water
- Dinner: Bean and Cheese Quesadillas, zucchini, applesauce
TIP: I try to make veggies taste good to me before I serve them to my kids, so add seasoning, sauces, and dips as needed to make sure they are yummy!
Kids Meal Ideas: Day 5
You can make the oatmeal cups ahead, or try this Blueberry Baked Oatmeal that’s a great breakfast for the whole family.
TIP: Add a simple snack before bed if needed.
Kids Meal Ideas: Day 6
I like to make a batch of healthy muffins every week or so to make sure I always have some in the freezer for quick snacks.
TIP: You can quickly cut up noodles for kids with a pair of kitchen shears.
Kids Meal Ideas: Day 7
Green smoothies are a great way to add a lot of nutrients to a snack. Serve it in a cup or a reusable pouch.
TIP: Add a side of fruit to dinner if needed/preferred.
Sample Kids Meal Plan
If you’re struggling with when to offer foods and how to time them around activities and snacks, this sample schedule and meal plan will help to give you some ideas.
Tips for Making Family Meals Work for Everyone
Learn more about my overall approach to feeding kids—yet serve the same meal to everyone at the table—in this post on the Division of Responsibility.
Happy Family Meals
My full service meal planning system, Happy Family Meals, is here to take some of the work out of feeding your family. It’s an easy to use 4-week meal plan with menus, grocery lists, and helpful hints. It contains weekly menus built on “themes” so you can easily make your own meal plans in future weeks. It’s so helpful for streamlining family meals.