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Tips for Meal Planning with Kids


Think of when you first lived on your own...How did you eat? Fast food, processed meals, frozen meals? What did you know how to cook? Were you comfortable in the kitchen? Do you think it would have been different if you spent more time in the kitchen growing up?


Involving kids in the kitchen and weekly meal planning is something I am passionate about. It is a skill that sets children up for success when they are out on their own. Some will enjoy it more than others, but all will eventually appreciate knowing how to eat and plan healthy meals and snacks.



Some benefits to involving children and teens in the kitchen and meal planning include:

  • encourages children to try new foods leading to less picky eating

  • less struggles with unwanted weight gain

  • sets an example for healthy eating

  • more family time

  • establishes a consistent meal pattern

  • increases self-esteem and confidence

  • time management skills

  • practice math skills (measurements)

  • responsibility

  • and develop healthy habits


I know it isn’t always easy to involve the kids in the kitchen. It’s often quicker and cleaner just to do it ourselves, right? Maybe this is true in the short run, but eventually they will be old enough to do the meal planning and cooking for you!


Kids at any age can get involved.

Some Easy Ways to Begin Are:

  • Theme night dinners such as breakfast for dinner, taco tuesday, meatless monday, pizza fridays. This gets children excited about dinner time!

  • Ask them to think of a theme night for dinner or other meal this week

  • Ask your child what they want on the menu this week (could be a side, main, or whole meal!). Then make sure you include it in your meal plan

  • Involve your child in the cooking process whenever possible (cutting, cleaning produce, measuring…)

  • Let them get themselves breakfast. Have some easy items available for them to pick from (waffles, bagels, oatmeal, cereal, smoothie)

  • Have them prep something for themselves ahead of time, like a smoothie packet for breakfast the next day

  • Encourage them to make their snack for the week (muffins, snack bites, cookies…)

  • Let your kids look through a recipe book or look online for a recipe they may want to try

  • Allow your child to pick out a new food to try from the grocery store. Then find a recipe together using that ingredient!


Children involved in creating a meal are more likely to eat the meal! Happy planning!





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