If the question, “what are we having for dinner” strikes fear in you on a nightly basis, it might be time to consider meal planning. A small amount of prep for the week ahead will ensure mealtimes go smoother for you and your busy family. There are plenty of online recourses that offer tips, and even templates to help aid you in your meal planning adventures.

 

Breakfast

 

Starting off the day right is so important, particularly for children. Be sure to include healthy foods that promote concentration and boost cognitive function. The most common brain boosting breakfast food is oats, as it is a slower burning carbohydrate. Other smart options include bran cereal or whole wheat bagels. Here are a few kid-approved recipes that are as easy to prepare as they are delicious.

 

Kitty-Cat Oatmeal Bowl: This one isn’t a recipe, as much as it is a way to present a healthy breakfast that will be attractive and enticing for children. The fresh fruit kitty face draws kids in and is a way to incorporate some additional color and flavor.

 

Owl Yogurt Bowl: Staying on the animal theme, this yogurt bowl utilizes fruit and organic cornflakes to construct an adorable little owl face.

 

Banana and Honey Oatmeal Smoothie: Turning a traditional oatmeal breakfast into a smoothie is genius! It means faster consumption and far less clean-up. This option is perfect for picky eaters, or those who don’t love eating first thing in the morning.

 

Lunch

 

Making a healthy lunch that kids actually want to eat can be a challenge. You are limited to what you can pack for school, but with a few outside of the box tweaks, you won’t dread packing school lunches anymore. Check out these combos that will help fuel your child right.

 

Peanut Butter Banana Roll Up: Ditch the standard PB&J for this delicious option. The whole wheat tortilla will keep them full longer. The chocolate chips give it just the right amount of sweetness. Feel free to experiment with other add-ins like dried cranberries, raisins, strawberries or anything else your little ones will enjoy.

 

Turkey & Cheese Pinwheel Bento Lunch: What’s better than a bento style lunch? One that you can easily prepare the night before! Bite-sized turkey, cheese and lettuce pinwheels are the star of this show. Accompanied by celery, blueberries and popcorn mixed with chocolate chips, your kids will be requesting this one often.

 

Tex-Mex Bento Box: Thinking outside the (lunch) box can be tricky, but not with this quesadilla recipe! Meal prep is a cinch when you whip up this black bean and cheese quesadilla ahead of time. Pair it with berries and a cherry tomato and avocado mix to really jazz it up.

 

Dinner

 

As everyone rushes home from work and school, making healthy dinner a priority is key. Since you’ve already established your meal plan for the week, there will be no surprise when dinner rolls around. Be sure to include plenty of variety and at least one healthy item you know your children will enjoy. Test out these top recipes that are both simple, fast, nutritious and delicious.

 

Veggie Mac & Cheese: Think your kids won’t eat broccoli? Think again! This recipe is a healthy version of mac and cheese that incorporates veggies and Greek yogurt. It just might become a household staple.

 

Turkey Sloppy Joes: This recipe is super easy and even allows for you to select your method of preparation, including stovetop, slow cooker or instant pot. Subbing in turkey instead of traditional ground beef lightens the recipe up by reducing fat and calories.

 

Almond Crusted Chicken Strips: Most kids like chicken fingers but this healthy version is a great swap that will have everyone in the family going back for more!

 

Snacks

 

Depending on your child’s age, appetite and activity level, you’ll want to include a snack or two each day. These don’t need to be a large quantity of food, just enough to give them an energy boost during the day. The following recipes are ready within a matter of minutes and are simple enough for kids to prepare on their own, or with minimal assistance.

 

Apple “Donuts”: Everyone loves donuts, right? These apple slices are power packed with nut butter and coconut to satisfy with no-sugar-added.

 

Peanut Butter, Oat & Blueberry Energy Square: Here come the oats again! This no-bake, one-bowl recipe comes together quickly and can be made in advance. These bars will perk up kids (and adults) with power packed nutrients.

 

Meal planning and healthy eating isn’t about putting together the most elaborate recipes. It’s all about thinking ahead so that you can offer nutritious, wholesome options that appeal to everyone.