Weekly Menu Plan for A Dietitian’s Toddlers (Or: What My Kids are Eating Now)
When I started this blog four years ago, it was called “What I’m Eating Now.” But a marriage, two kids and a new career as a dietitian later, I find that people seem more interested in what I’m feeding my kids now than in what I’m eating now. (Of course, other parents inevitably realize that I’m generally eating whatever my kids didn’t eat, usually while standing over the sink).
So I figured: why not type up a typical weekly menu plan for my kiddos at age 2 and share it?
A few notes:
- As you will see, my kids do not follow a gluten-free diet, though I feed them more GF foods than other kids likely eat so that we can share family meals (or I can eat leftovers!). I save the wheat and gluten for days that they’re home with the babysitter and try to keep family meals gluten free so we can all eat together.
- Lunch is their main meal of the day, as I find their appetite wanes as the day progresses. As a result, our dinner meal tends toward the lighter side (especially during the week), and breakfast for dinner is not at all uncommon in our home!
- We generally do 2-3 meatless days per week. I feed the kids red meat once per week, poultry 2-3x/week, fish 1-2x/week. I tend toward vegetarian salad lunches on days that I work so that I can share their more animal protein-based lunches with them on days I’m home without overdoing it on the animal protein myself.
- We aim for family meals whenever one or both parents is home, and it’s usually on weekends or at lunchtime since mom works only part-time. Once their bedtime is a little later, my goal is to have family dinners with more regularity as well.
- As you will also see, our weekly rotation includes a mix of home-made meals, some convenience food and one restaurant meal per week. I generally cook lunches on the previous evening, after the kids go to bed. That means I’m generally cooking 4 nights per week or so; my husband kicks in 1-2 dishes per week. All dishes I choose are easy and fast– I generally won’t spend more than 30 minutes on a recipe, unless its a weekend and I have another set of hands to help. I leave the more complex projects (braised meats, schnitzel, risotto) to my husband, who has the patience for such things.
- In the winter, I bake low-sugar treats once weekly, usually while my kids nap in the afternoon, and freeze leftovers in snack-sized portions. That way, I can have a variety of healthy baked goods on hand to defrost whatever I need on-the-go.
- As you will see, I don’t buy cookies or sweets. In addition to low-sugar homemade baked goods for a snack once or twice per week, I offer a healthy “dessert” about once a week (like pumpkin paletas). Otherwise it’s just fruit. However, I don’t limit their intake of treats and sweets at parties or on special occasions so as to avoid reinforcing the notion that these foods are the “forbidden fruit.” I let them self-regulate in those situations, and they do just fine. Nine times out of ten, Max will always choose fresh fruit over cookies and cakes. Stella is a little cookie monster, and it’s a treat for me to watch her enjoy her special treats!
Monday (Meatless Monday):
Breakfast: Cheerios in milk & organic blueberries
Morning snack: Saturday’s leftover carrot pancakes (served cold) & Banana & Milk
Lunch: Chana Saag (Indian spinach & chickpeas); ordered in the previous night from our favorite restaurant, with a can of Eden Organic chickpeas added to the batch; & Basmati Rice & plain organic yogurt
Afternoon snack: Graham crackers & Milk
Breakfast: Cascadian Farms Organic Multigrain Squares in milk & sliced kiwi
Morning snack: Clementines & Mary’s Gone Crackers & Milk
Family Lunch: Chicken breast (usually either with an Asian marinade, grilled, or a homemade GF breaded schnitzel) & Wild Rice medley & cooked green beans
Afternoon snack: Roasted chickpea snacks & Milk
Dinner: Omelet–plain for Max, with chopped spinach for Stella (pasture-raised eggs) & Baked sweet potato fries
Breakfast: Barbara’s Bakery Original Puffins cereal in milk & blackberries
Morning snack: Banana & homemade GF carrot/zucchini mini muffins + milk
Lunch: Black Beans & Farro (they think it’s brown rice) & Steamed broccoli w/ butter
Afternoon snack: Happy Herbert’s Spelt snack sticks + milk
Dinner: Organic cottage cheese & GF quinoa pasta & peeled/salted baby cucumbers
Breakfast: Barbara’s Bakery Shredded Spoonfuls cereal in milk & sliced banana
Morning snack: Homemade oatmeal/peanut butter/banana/chia squares & Clementines & milk
Family Lunch: GF homemade organic turkey sliders + whole wheat mini pitas/multigrain slider buns+ ketchup + sweet potato fries
Afternoon snack: Organic string cheese + organic Triscuit-like wheat crackers
Dinner: Macaroni & cheese (organic, from a box) + Tuna salad w/ mayo (light tuna, BPA-free can) + Herb roasted cauliflower
Breakfast: Cheerios in milk & raspberries
Morning snack: Roasted chickpea snacks + milk
Lunch: Salmon Teriyaki + Quinoa pilaf (cooked quinoa with caramelized onions, peas, cumin and garlic powder) + Green beans
Afternoon snack: Dried fruit chips + Organic string cheese
Dinner: Golden Sesame Tofu (take-out from Whole Foods) + Homemade stir-fried snow peas. Dessert: Pumpkin paletas
Family Breakfast: GF Carrot cake pancakes + sliced banana
Morning snack: Roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) + watermelon + Milk
Family Lunch: Braised red meat (usually beef short ribs or boneless leg of lamb; organic and grass-fed) + Herb roasted potatoes + Baby brussels sprouts
Afternoon snack: Dry cereal (Puffins or Cheerios)
Dinner: Hard boiled quail eggs (!) + whole grain toast with smashed avocado + shredded raw carrots leftover from pancake-making
Breakfast: Oatmeal w/ cinnamon and maple syrup + fresh fruit (whatever’s on hand… mango, berries, etc..)
Morning snack: Sliced apples with peanut butter + milk
Family Lunch: Mujjadara (Middle Eastern style lentils with rice and caramelized onions) + fried egg + sliced red peppers (raw)
Afternoon snack: Dried fruit (dates, raisins, dried cherries, etc..)+ milk
Family Dinner: Leftover short ribs + GF Quinoa pasta + grilled asparagus
There are other common foods in the mix, as well. I’ll do a turkey meatball every other week or so; salmon burgers; apple cider braised cod; cauliflower soup with homemade croutons; peanut butter sandwiches; grilled cheese sandwiches; mini ravioli with pesto; and the Barefoot Contessa’s fabulous sliders (with local/organic/grass fed beef). Occasionally we’ll make a home-made pizza and let the kids roll their own dough and adorn their own mini-pizzas, though truth be told, they enjoy making pizza far more than eating it. Once in awhile, we’ll get takeout from a Middle eastern place and the kids will eat falafel, hummus, pita and babganoush. Currently, I am working on acceptance of sauteed spinach/garlic, roasted butternut squash, raw peppers, and soups in general. Our food is simple and homey, but we try not to do too much dumbed- down kid food. We use herbs and spices liberally. We are cautious about empty-calorie snacks that could spoil their appetites for meals.
Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it, RSS feed.