What parent out there doesn't struggle with feeding their child? I don't care how amazing of an eater you have, it can be a challenge to come up with healthy, interesting, and delicious kid-friendly dishes. I really can't complain; for a preschooler, Emmie has a fabulous diet. She will typically try anything once (as long as you don't dare try to put any kind of sauce on it) and she absolutely loves healthy fruits and veggies. Like any toddler, she definitely has her favorites...many of the meals you see below are mainstays that I fix at least a few times each week!
In figuring out her meals, I like to stick to the "1 of each" rule: 1 serving of protein, 1 healthy carb, and at least 1 fruit or veggie (usually more than that, though). Following this rule actually makes the process incredibly easy...I just mix and match what we have in our home to make a meal (in a pinch, children really don't care if the foods coordinate!).
One mainstay at each one of Emmie's meals is a glass of milk. She typically has at least one serving with each meal, whether it is incorporated into her food or served as a drink. In my previous post on the topic, I talked about why it is so important to have milk served each time Emmie eats. Here's how I do it!
Breakfast: Eggs are in incredibly easy way of getting much-needed protein in a child's breakfast. I like to put a little bit of milk in them as well...not only does it make the eggs fluffy and light, but it also gives them an extra dose of protein and vitamins! Either wheat toast or a bowl of cereal and milk is typically the carb for this meal. I try to keep 3-4 different kinds of fruit in our house at a time and let Emmie choose (I think giving children the power to choose their own healthy foods is really powerful in developing a great relationship with food). Today was a banana...heaven help you if you try to open it and/or cut it up before she gets her hands on it. :)
(And pro tip: you'll see the same cup of milk in each of these pictures, that's because I only use one a day! Just pop it back in the fridge as soon as the meal is over. That way, you aren't chasing down and washing a hundreds cups daily.)
Lunch: Emmie is only in half-day preschool a few days a week, so she is currently home with me every day for lunch. Her lunch is almost always the same during the week. Again, I like to ask her what she wants...and, 90% of the time, she's going to request a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread (with the crust cut off), strawberries, and grapes. We didn't have strawberries and grapes in the house this day, so apples and carrot sticks it was. I like to get a little bit more protein in her lunch than just peanut butter, so a glass of milk is a must...with 8 grams of protein per 8oz cup, it's a great way to sneak in essential proteins.
Dinner: I am not an everyday cooker, and I doubt I ever will be. I usually cook 3-4 times a week and we do leftovers every other day (with the occasional takeout or restaurant visit). This night happened to be leftovers...Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice (recipe on the blog next week) with corn on the side. Again, that glass of milk introduces a great serving of protein, calcium, Vitamin D, and potassium!
Want to find out more about the importance of milk in your diet? Check out Milk Life website for more information about the benefits of milk (and even pick up a few fun recipes while you're there!). You can also find Milk on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram!
You have the chance to win a month's supply of milk (valued at $18)! To enter, answer the following question in a comment on this post:
How do you include milk throughout the day to make healthy snacks and meals?
You have until next Friday, October 16th, to enter. Please leave your email address on each entry. Good luck!