First off, let’s just say I’m not Rachel Ray. Before I had my son, I lived mostly off of Shakeology and Special K (I fondly referred to it as Special Crack). If I ate anything else, it probably meant I went out to eat. Which was frequent as it was easy to walk downstairs and find a ton of restaurants all within walking distance or a quick metro ride.
When I was pregnant, things didn’t change all that much except that I overdosed on orange juice, oreo cookies, and Chik-Fil-A milkshakes. Sure, I had a few of those “eating for pregnancy” cookbooks but I don’t think I made a single recipe. After I had baby, again, not too much had to change. He only drank breast milk or formula so life was easy peasy. Even when he started to eat solid foods, I had these fantastic friends who had figured this baby food sh*t out. Their names are Gerber, Plum Baby, Happy Baby, and Earth’s Best. Some fantastic genius had invented these pouches full of yummy goodness and mixes that actual didn’t taste like baby poop even though they sounded like they might.. (spinach, peas, and pears?? surprisingly good!).
And that brings us to the present, and baby isn’t as baby anymore and is now more of a toddler who eats real people food. It’s been easy to give him chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, pizza, more pouches, Clif Bars, almond butter and jelly sandwiches, and a little more help from Gerber on occasion with their toddler meals. Don’t forget the goldfish…all the different amazing flavors of goldfish..and now I have to work just a wee wee bit harder on exercising to keep the same size. So, last week, I decided I’d test out my hand at meal planning and finding healthy recipes that my slightly picky (mostly because of texture) toddler will eat and won’t add to my waistband.
For breakfast this past week, I rotated through the following items and did a combo of about 3 each morning:
- Apples slices and almond butter
- Baked Orange French Toast
The French Toast was delicious! I used a recipe from Super Healthy Kids. I highly recommend you check this site out and give them a like on Facebook. They have easy (this is KEY for me – if it’s not easy, I won’t cook it) and healthy recipes that are kid friendly. Click the link above to the Baked Orange French Toast for the recipe. Only a few simple ingredients: orange juice, honey, eggs, egg whites, and wheat germ. I didn’t use the wheat germ because I forgot to buy it. So I swapped it with sprinkled cinnamon. The result was perfect, not too soggy, not to crispy, and not too orangey. It made about 10 slices. I’d cut them into strips like the picture and give my little guy real Grade B maple syrup for dipping. This lasted for about 3 breakfasts for the two of us.
To save some time, I used what I planned as dinners as lunch options for the next day. Here is the list of options I put together and swapped out each day:
- Leftover Spinach and Squash crock pot lasagna
- Leftover Amy’s Pizza
- Baked chicken legs
- Green beans
- Sliced Apples
- Sliced grapes
- Leftover crock pot Crustless Chicken Pot Pie
So my two attempts at stepping out of the box here tasted great to me, but were toddler failures. Now this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t give it a go with your family, but since my guy wouldn’t eat the Spinach/Squash Lasagna or the Pot Pie, I probably won’t make them again. Both recipes were courtesy of Real Simple and you can click the links above to check them out. Some changes I made in each of the recipes: The lasagna, I used 1/2 the amount of ricotta and that was plenty and I also used frozen butternut squash instead of winter squash, for the pot pie, I eliminated the puff pastry.
I guess for this one, I could just say “See above”. In January I did a 21 day non-starvation cleanse that forced me to cook a ton. What it also taught me was that if I made enough at one time for dinner and lunch the next day, it would save me mountains of time. And that’s exactly what I did last week. What we ate for dinner, we’d have for lunch or vice versa on different days. Whatever my son wasn’t digging, I shared with my friends at work.
Results: Overall, the meal planning efforts had about a 50% success rate (which for me is better than 0%). The french toast was a keeper and though I liked the other new recipes, it’ll be a little while before I try them again. Here is what’s on the menu for this week:
- More Baked Orange French Toast
- Homemade energy/nutrition bars (I already made these and they are sooooo good)
- My should be award winning turkey Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn
- More baked chicken legs
- Crockpot Ziti with gluten free pasta
Stay tuned for the toddler review of the new recipes and how successful they were! I’d love to hear of some easy (super easy) recipes that your toddlers are fans of that I can try too!