If your children are anything like mine, they’re always ready to eat! It seems that as soon as I clean up the dishes from one meal, my children are ready to eat again. Satisfying the voracious appetites of active and growing children can easily become a full time job!
How can moms do a good job of keeping children well fed throughout the day? If we set nutritional goals, plan a yummy menu, and offer healthy and delicious foods at regular intervals throughout the day, our children will be well fed and well fueled all day long.
In order to keep my three growing girls well fed throughout the day, I serve three meals and two snacks every day. This is the routine they have become accustomed to and their bodies have adjusted to this eating schedule.
Check out these options to help keep your children well fed:
Start with a big healthy breakfast. If we want to keep our kids well fed throughout the day, they must have a healthy, hearty, well-balanced breakfast.
- Egg Tortilla: Fill a warm flour tortilla with a scrambled egg, a low-fat meat (such as turkey sausage or Canadian bacon), and a bit of shredded cheese. Roll up the tortilla and serve with a side of fruit.
- Strawberry Smoothie: In a blender, combine 8 cleaned and hulled strawberries, ½ cup milk, ½ cup plain yogurt, ¼ cup dry oatmeal, 2-3 tablespoons sugar, and a 1 cup of ice cubes. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a tall glass and serve alongside a low-fat meat and a slice of toast.
Provide a mid morning snack. About two hours after breakfast, my girls are ready for a snack. Since it’s not quite lunchtime, I serve a healthy snack to keep them energized until lunch. Consider these two kid friendly options.
- Granola bars: Choose granola bars that are made with oatmeal and other whole grains and that contain nutritional boosters such as nuts and/or fruit. Offer a cheese stick and a piece of fresh fruit along with the granola bar.
- Crackers and Pepperoni: Choose whole wheat crackers and serve turkey pepperoni, which has much less fat than traditional pepperoni.
Get ready for the afternoon by serving a filling lunch. Prepare the kids for an afternoon of activities by providing them with a delicious lunch. This will give them the energy they need to complete the second half of the day.
- English muffin pizzas: This is a favorite lunch at our house. Top the English muffin halves with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and a variety of toppings. Bake in the toaster until the cheese is melted. Serve with a side of vegetable sticks and low-fat salad dressing.
- Sandwiches: Sandwiches are a satisfying, tried, and true lunch option. If using luncheon meat, try to find a brand that is low in salt and fat. Add lettuce, tomatoes, and low-fat condiments to the sandwich to improve taste and add crunch. Serve with a side of baked chips and fresh fruit.
Provide a mid afternoon snack. Most kids will want an afternoon snack a couple of hours after lunch. These options are fun and tasty.
- Popcorn: Popcorn can be a healthy snack. Instead of butter, top popcorn with a bit of olive oil, grated Parmesan cheese, and a teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Tortilla chips and salsa: Here’s another chance to get your children to eat vegetables. Whip up a quick homemade salsa by combining 2 cups of seeded and chopped tomatoes, ¼ cup chopped onion, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon lime juice. If your kids like heat, add 1 jalepeno pepper, finely chopped. Adjust ingredients to suit your children’s tastes.
Don’t skimp on dinner. Satisfy tummies and taste buds with a delicious dinner. Dinner options are endless so I’ll let you decide what to serve. Just be sure to serve a well-balanced meal that includes lean meat or heart healthy fish and an ample array of colorful vegetables.
Serve a healthy dessert. At our house, the day is not complete without a yummy dessert. You can forgo cake and cookies if you create a dessert that’s unique and scrumptious.
- Frozen Yogurt Milkshakes: Create a thick and yummy milkshake using frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. Place 1 cup vanilla frozen yogurt, 2 cups milk, and 1 cup fruit (bananas, strawberries, peaches, blueberries, peaches). Garnish with a squirt of low-fat whipped cream and a small drizzle of chocolate sauce.
- Dessert burritos: Warm a flour tortilla and fill it with a mixture of banana slices, chocolate chips, and a few miniature marshmallows. Roll the tortilla and heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.
Keeping children well fed throughout the day is a winning situation for children and their mothers. Eating filling and healthy foods helps children maintain a healthy blood sugar level and fosters a pleasant mood. When kids are well fed, moms experience fewer interruptions throughout the day and the day is often a more productive one.
What types of meals do you serve to keep your children well fed?
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