For those of you with a picky eater (or simply looking for ways to mix things up when it comes to mealtimes), this one is for you!
Blake is at the age where he is getting picky. I remember Bryce going through the phase, and it was always a struggle to find ways to load up on nutritious options and not be fueled entirely by chips, other snacks and sweet treats. I always thought it was silly when moms talked about sneaking in extra nutrition for their kids. But now that I’m a mom, I get it!
I have two go to’s when it comes to getting nutritious foods into my kiddo’s diets: an almond joy milkshake smoothie, and muffin pan lunches!
First up, the smoothie! It tastes like a milkshake and is packed with good-for-you ingredients. I even love this smoothie, and will swap a scoop of protein powder to keep me fueled. The recipe below is one adult serving, and I usually split it between the boys.
Almond Joy Milkshake Smoothie
1 frozen banana
Handful of spinach leaves (or kale)
2 tbs almond butter
8-10 ice cubes
2 tsp flax seeds
1 scoop Amazing Grass for Kids
Splash of vanilla extract (and coconut extract if preferred)
1 cup almond milk (unsweetened) or regular milk
2 tsp cocoa powder
Combine all the ingredients and blend until well combined. Add additional ice as needed to reach desired thickness/consistency. Top with a couple chocolate chips or sprinkles and enjoy!
Although lunch can be one of the easiest meals to put together, it is challenging to keep options varied and that mid-day mealtime from becoming repetitive and boring. Enter muffin pan snacky-lunch platters. (And truth be told, I’ve even done this for dinner before…it’s a winner either way!)
You may have seen this idea floating around the Internet, and I am 100% on this bandwagon. Something about the presentation of it just mixes things up and makes it so fun for kiddos. All you need is a muffin pan and snack / lunch items to fill the cups and you’re good to go!
If I am making a meal just for one of my kids, I will use a six count muffin pan and if I have both my kids, I will fill a 12 count. Ready to put together your own muffin pan lunch platters? Here is an easy formula, plus food ideas to fill those holes:
- Deli meat, pepperoni/salami, or jerky sticks
- Chicken nuggets or hot dogs
- Leftover burgers or other protein from dinner, cut it into bite size pieces
- Peanut butter or other nut butter
- Ranch or hummus for dipping!
- Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, apple slices, watermelon, oranges, sliced grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple, peaches, pomegranate arils
- Carrots, cucumbers, peppers, pickles, broccoli, sugar snap peas
Carbs + Extras
- Crackers, pretzels, chips, graham crackers, fig bars, goldfish, fruit snack, popcorn, seeds
Remember, the whole idea of muffin pan meals is to be simplistic – don’t overthink it! Chances are that you already have the ingredients needed to fill up a pan in your home (and it’s even a great way to clean out your pantry/fridge!) You may have a piece of ham or half an apple that may not look like much or as if it could make a meal, but you may be surprised how well the muffin pans can stretch your food. When paired with other snacky items, a little of everything can easily make a full meal!