A healthy meal plan for kids is important to the health and growth of all children. I’ve found making a plan for the meals each day helps and can also mean you can concentrate on the different food groups to include for balance and nutritional needs.
A balanced, healthy meal, together with ￼eating at optimal times, can create a healthy meal plan for kids. There are several reasons why this is important for growing children.
Eventually this leads to your child having a healthy relationship towards foods. There are five main food groups and fats are an additional food group, but many foods already have fat included. The fruit group and vegetable group (placed together) include potassium, vitamins A and C, fibre, and other nutrients too. The protein group gives your child iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and more. The dairy group has calcium, vitamin D, and potassium in it. Whilst the grains group offer other important nutrients such as B vitamins and fibre.
I like to start with the protein food group which can be beef, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, soy, this is the main group that I’ve struggled to get all my boys to eat from. Tobias (at 5 years old) is only just starting to entertain meats. The dairy group (can also be a good source of protein) like milk, cheese or yogurt is always a winner in my household, thankfully. Fruits & Veggies, I’ve found that fruit takes the pressure off eating veggies if you have a hesitant eater (Hamish only likes soft items). It’s also a great source of nutrients, and if your child has a sweet tooth, is a good stand in for dessert.
So I’m really bad at portion control for myself (too much) but on the flip side I’m always wondering if I’m giving enough to the boys. I believe that children should be allowed to eat to satisfy their appetite, so I always tell them to ask for more as I never want portion sizes to become a restrictive way to feed my children.
The timing of meals is key, too. In fact, this can work for your child, or against them. Get the timing right, and your child will be satisfied after eating and less likely to ask for more food or snacks afterwards. For instance, my toddler, Seth, has a very little tummy, so I tend to offer him something every 2 to 3 hours. For my school-age children (Tobias especially) has a 3 to 4 hour window between meals and snacks, but I encourage him to eat more at meal times.
I also bring a multivitamin into their diet when my children start to eat. So Jonas will start on the Vitamin D drops from weaning age. Here’s some ideas of meals that are a winner in my household:
Granola or cereal
Ham & Cheese Pockets
Homemade Pita Pizzas
Pasta and cheese
Egg on toast
Chicken with BBQ dip
Spaghetti with Hidden Veggies
Salmon and wedges
Cheeseburger and salad
Quinoa Chicken Nuggets
Chilli Con Carne
Much love Rebecca