Most days it feels like feeding children is an up hill battle. The balance of healthy nutritious foods, variety and taste (what they will actually eat) is something that plays on parents minds constantly. I know that within my Mother’s group we are constantly asking the question “What do you feed your children?” and “What’s your kids favourite meal?”
I was inspired by my love of the Yaytray by Yurica Labs to write a blog post featuring my children’s favourite meals, giving you 7 lunches for 7 days. This blog post is full of lunch box ideas, varying options, cheats, time savers and links to recipes. I truly hope that you enjoy it and that it gives you some inspiration.
Before I start I want to share with you some things that I LOVE about the Yaytray, since receiving mine three months ago:
1. It saves me time – I only prepare and clean up one container.
2. It is great for the environment – no more cling wrap.
3. It is neat and compact – the worlds first all in one eating tray.
4. Things don’t get lost – it holds it’s own cutlery.
5. Is clean and convenient – leak proof and packs up in a matter of seconds.
6. It holds a large meal – 400mls actually!
7. It’s stable and non slip – making it easy for children to eat from.
8. All the important things – like food-safe, BPA-free, phthalate-free, microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe.
9. It’s cost-effective, you don’t have to buy a million containers just this one.
10. They are a small business, so you are buying from real Mum’s and Dads who designed it because they know what we need.
MONDAY – The Snack Plate
This is my children’s favourite meal, they love the variety of foods that I put together.
Carrot Stick with humus
Recipe – 5 Minute humus by realsimple.com
Time Savers – Roast your own chicken the night before and serve it for dinner with vegetables, or buy a store-bought version to save even more time. Purchase a store bought humus to save time, there are so many delicious options around.
Variations – Swap the chicken breast for any cold meat selection, a can of tuna, smoked salmon or cold marinated tofu. Cheese can be swapped with a vegan alternative.
TUESDAY – Left Overs in Disguise
Last nights dinner but you wouldn’t know it!
Cherry Tomato, Green Bean and Cheese Pasta Salad
Recipe – Italian Beef Meatballs from taste.com – This link gives you the recipe for last nights dinner too.
Time Savers – Use leftover meatballs and cooked pasta from the night before to create this meal. Kids love pasta meatballs with a yummy spaghetti sauce for dinner! Instead of making your meatballs buy from pre rolled one in the shops.
Variations – There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan friendly meatball, mince and cheese options available. Also if your children don’t like cherry tomatoes or green beans try sweet corn.
WEDNESDAY – Sweet Treat
For when your kiddies just aren’t quite sweet enough.
Healthy Chocolate Crackle
Recipes – Healthier Chocolate Crackle by goodness.com.au and Beetroot Dip by stayathomemum.com.au
Time Savers – Instead of making your own dip purchase one of the delicious ones made in store. Make a double batch of the chocolate crackles and freeze them.
Variations – The dip can be swapped with your children’s favour kind, or maybe even some cream cheese. As with the snow peas which can be exchanged for ticks of cucumber carrot or capsicum. The crumb chicken can be swapped for a vegan meat alternative.
THURSDAY – Family Favourite
This one is a huge hit with my spaghetti loving family and you’re about to find out why!
Spaghetti Bolognese Cups
Corn on the Cob
Apricot Coconut Bites
Recipes – Spaghetti Bolognese Cups by taste.com.au and Apricot Coconut Bites from thebigmansworld.com
Time Savers – Use last nights left over Spaghetti Bolognese to easily create this meal. Or double the batch, you can even freeze a bunch of Spaghetti cups for future lunches. Store bought ‘Apricot Delights’ can be used instead of the homemade options, like I have done on my tray.
Variations – Use vegan friendly alternatives like vegan mince in your Spaghetti Bolognese recipe. If you google you can even find binding options to replace eggs! Switch the fruit selection up each week, my littles favourite fruits are strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.
FRIDAY – The Go To!
Simple but loved by all there are so many variations to a wrap or sandwich.
Ham, Cheese, Salad and Mayo Wrap
Chocolate Zucchini Muffin
Recipes – Chocolate Zucchini Muffins by Wholesome Child
Time Savers – Make a big batch of muffins in mini cases and freeze them for future lunches.
Variations – Obviously there is a huge range of wraps and sandwiches that you can make to keep this meal interesting and suit your littles ones tastes. A vegan alternative to mayonnaise is this wonderful cauliflower and cashew variation that I have previously shared from Wholesome Child, click here for more.
SATURDAY – The healthy mix
This is another variation of a snack tray that my little ones love.
Zucchini and Corn Fritters
Fresh and Dried Fruit Cup
Recipe – Zucchini and Corn Fritters by taste.com.au
Time Savers – Use a muffin case to create the fruit cup. Cook the fritters in batches and freeze.
Variations – There is a lot of different variations of fruit cups that you can do. Here I have kiwi fruit, dried mango and sultanas.
SUNDAY – Pantry Favourite
There is always one day a week where we are really searching the back of the pantry to fill our babies tummies. Here’s my go to when I’m having one of ‘those days.’
Chia Raspberry Jam Sandwich
Cashew Coconut and Lemon Balls
Recipe – Chia Raspberry Jam by Wholesome Child and Cashew Coconut and Lemon Balls by Inspired to Holistic Health
Variations – This tray is the queen of variation! Swap the jam sandwich for vegemite, peanut buttero or cream cheese. Pretzels can be changed for pop corn, crackers, soy crisp or dried chick peas. Fruit can be as basic as apple slices or banana pieces.
Before I wrap it up I want to share with you my three biggest time-saving tips for when it comes to meal prep!
1. Make all of your meals in one go. I make breakfast, lunch and dinner all in the morning. This is a huge time saver especially in the clean up and it means that I don’t feel like I ‘live’ in the kitchen.
2. Food prep in bulk with cook ups every few months. I tend to do a big one every three months to get my lunch staples sorted.
3. Always take a packed lunch out with you when you have little babes. I make Ari and Chloe’s lunch in their Yaytray every morning, even if we think we might be home. It saves me time and money if we end up unexpectedly out for lunch.
THANKYOU for reading, I hope that you gained a useful tip or meal to work into your lives. If you have something that you would like to share ease contact me. Don’t forget to subscribe for more or keep up to date with our family life on Instagram.