I received a comment recently: “It’s so nice to see a glimpse of what your kids eat. Can you share more?” I thought a Kids Eat Real Food (haha KERF!) would make a good blog post. When planning meals, I try to include a mix of different food groups / macronutrients and pick 3-4 different foods creating a mix of proteins, fats, fruit/veg, whole grains, dairy, nuts. I don’t get all of those categories in each meal, but I try to combine a diverse mix of foods. Here are some real kid meals!
I often show photos of Birch’s EZPZ plate. As his mother, I think he is THE CUTEST when he eats, his little fingers carefully selecting what to then shove in! He’s been a big eater as soon as he figured out how to swallow purees. The boy does a lot of chewing for only having 1.5 teeth! I generally cut his food into strips and bite-size chunks and make sure that everything I serve is mashable between my forefinger and thumb (the strength of baby gums, apparently.) I don’t offer a lot of fibrous foods – things like broccoli stems, bell peppers, greens, green beans or apples unless they’re VERY well cooked. Birch gets most of his vegetables from purees in pouches.
Real Kid Meals: Baby Birch
- Scrambled eggs, sometimes mixed with cheese
- Yogurt pouches
- Baked oatmeal
- Quiche cut into bites
- Banana chunks
- Berries of all kinds, smashed or sliced into strips
- Cooked apples
- Orange segments cut tiny
- Homemade whole wheat muffins
- Breakfast cookies
- Soft granola bars
- French toast and pancakes cut into strips
- Buttered toast in small bits
- Cheerios and puffs
- Sweet potato fries
- Thinly sliced avocado
- An omelet with small veggies and cheese
- Cooked salmon flakes
- Chicken or BBQ pulled into thin strips
- Pasta salad or mac and cheese
- No Bull Burger cut into bites
- Thinly sliced cheese or goat cheese chunks
- Steamed peas
- Applesauce in his popsicle
- Tofu (new!)
- Veggie-based pouches at almost every lunch and dinner (for the nutrients)
- Breastmilk ~3 times a day!
Salmon, avocado, sweet potatoes, apple sauce
Mazen: Age 7
Mazen is neither a picky eater nor an adventurous eater. He would survive off the Standard Kid Diet of pizza and grilled cheese if we let him, but of course we are always offering new things. His reaction to family dinners is very much dependent on his mood and can be very hit or miss.
Real Kid Meals: Mazen aka he says “yes!” when he gets it
- Pancakes or waffles
- Toast with butter
- Pizza, which he would eat all day, everyday
- Grilled cheese
- Quesadillas (made with spinach!)
- Spaghetti with meat sauce and parmesan
- Mac and cheese
- Sweet potato wedges
- PB sandwich (no jelly)
- Cinnamon cereal
- All junk food….of course!
Healthy Foods Mazen Likes, But Less Enthusiastically
- All green salads with dressing
- Red bell peppers with dip
- Other varieties of noodles (like Asian-style noodles)
- Apple Slices with PB
- Bananas (only at bedtime for some reason)
- Yogurt (very hit or miss)
- Cantaloupe + pineapple (very hit or miss)
Salmon, potatoes, green beans (kid version on the right!)
Food I Put In Mazen’s Lunch Box
- Peanut butter on whole wheat half sandwich
- Turkey and cheese half sandwich
- Orange slices
- Apple slices
- Mango slices
- Pepperoni slices
- Yogurt drinks
- Milk box (the shelf stable kind)
- Red peppers
- Dried peas
- A tiny spinach salad with ranch
- Cheese and crackers
- Almonds or trail mix
- Granola bars
- Anything homemade or leftover I might have on hand, like a mini muffin or leftover pizza
Oranges, Graham Cracker, PB Sandwich, Pea pods, Yogurt drink, Trail mix (for snack)
Mazen’s Bento Luncbox
It’s the Mackenzie lunchbox from Pottery Barn and the Spencer bento that fits inside. I have two bento inserts so one can go in dishwasher 🙂 I like that it’s a higher bento so more square / tall things fit inside – like a fruit cup or a sandwich on its size.
Progress Not Perfection
The last thing I want to do is put a lot of effort into lunches that don’t get eaten. While I wish I were one of those moms with the gourmet bento boxes packed with sushi or soup in a thermos, I just didn’t get that kind of eater. That’s ok though – we moms are all doing the best we can!
Sometimes he buys!
Mazen also loves to buy his lunch and does so about 50% of the time. I love not having to pack his lunch on those days, but I’ve seen enough of his school lunches to know that his packed lunches are a bit healthier (not that the school doesn’t offer healthy things, but of course he’s not loading up on the vegetable sides!) I am OK with him eating a burger and tater tots with mayo for lunch if he’s eating well at home for breakfast and dinner.
Please share your kid food wins and struggles!
More Real Kid Meals Ideas:
- 10 Healthy Packaged Foods For Kids
- What My Three Year Old Eats (from when M was 3)
- Baby Feeding: Solid Food + Favorites