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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Easy Meal Plan for a 5-Year-Old Using Mexican Flavors

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Easy Meal Plan for a 5-Year-Old Using Mexican Flavors

Whether you are looking to diversify your child’s palate or embrace your Mexican roots, here’s an easy meal plan for a 5-year-old.

Pass on Abuelita’s traditional flavors yet keep the convenience of a modern-day mealtime. Add a little spice to your life while exploring Mexican culture with these nutritious and delicious dishes.

Get cozy on a chilly night or soothe a case of the sniffles with a Fideo soup. While the spicy salsa is optional, you may be surprised how many kids enjoy the flavor boost from spices and herbs!

The recipes below are for one child based on 5-year-old portion sizes from MyPlate. These are just guidelines, so don’t worry if your child eats more or less than these recommendations.

Also, remember that appetites vary from day-to-day! Don’t forget; you can double or quadruple the recipe as needed for siblings or for the whole family to enjoy.

Meal Plan for a 5 Year Old

  • Breakfast – Nopales and Eggs
  • Snack – Nutty Bananas
  • Lunch – Fideo Soup
  • Snack – Jicama Sticks and Guacamole
  • Dinner – Caldo de Pollo (Chicken Soup) and Mexican Rice
  • Dessert/Snack – Honey Papaya Yogurt Parfait

Breakfast – Nopales and Eggs

Nopales and Eggs
This nopales and eggs Mexican breakfast is a fun way to explore new flavors with the kids.
See this Recipe
cutting nopales on cutting board

MyPlate Food Group Portions Provided:

Vegetable: 2 servings

Fruit: 0.5 serving

Protein:1 serving

Whole Grain: 2 serving

Dairy: 1 serving

Where to find Nopales

Most ethnic stores and some retail stores carry nopales. Nopales get sold in a variety of ways, either fresh and pickled. Traditionally, most Mexican families buy fresh nopales or often grow it in their garden.

Nopales can be found either whole with the thorns, whole de-thorned, or de-thorned and cut up ready-to-use. For convenience, the latter option is recommended.

Benefits of Nopales

These prickly cacti have tons of hearty fiber and powerful phytochemicals. Nopales contain anti-inflammatory properties that are especially healthful for diabetes, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, cancer. (3) Make this breakfast for mom and dad too and say “nope” to a processed breakfast with nop-ales!

Budget tip: Buy frozen strawberries to save money and blend with milk for a tasty side shake.

Snack – Nutty Bananas

Peanut Butter Bananas and Milk
This is a quick and easy snack that your kid can help you make!
See this Recipe
banana and peanut butter snack

MyPlate Food Group Portions Provided

Fruit: 1 serving

Protein: 1 serving

Dairy: 1/2 serving

Lunch – Fideo Soup

Fideo Soup
This is a hearty and flavor-filled soup that is easy to make with the kiddos. It has a couple of servings of veggies and a serving of whole grains.
See this Recipe
Mexican Sopa De Fideos

MyPlate Food Group Portions Provided

Grains: 1 serving

Vegetables: 2 servings

Fat: 1 serving

Nutrition Tip for Soups

Give your soup a hearty, whole-grain boost. Swap out traditional fideo for healthier alternatives such as wheat, spelt, or quinoa spaghetti. These heart-healthy fiber-filled grains provide key nutrients for the entire household.

For instance, a diet rich in whole-grains can lower one’s risk for heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. (2) Children between the ages of 1 and 5 currently consume 50% of the recommended intake for fiber. (1) Give your child a boost of wholesome nutrition with high fiber foods, while keeping the flavors they love with a heart-healthy fideo soup!

Budget Tip: Use frozen or canned corn and green beans for this recipe. If going with canned veggies, look for no salt added options! If you don’t have corn or green beans in substitute what you have available.

Snack – Jicama and Guacamole

What is jicama (pronounced hik-uh-muh)? Jicama is known as the Mexican potato. It tastes like a cross between a cucumber and Asian pear. Talk about the best of both worlds! This versatile and crunchy food will become an instant crowd favorite. Try it julienne style, with a splash of orange juice and lots of chopped cilantro. For a more traditional approach, serve it with spice and lime juice.

Jicama and Guacamole
This is a simple, refreshing, and nutritious snack to make with your kids. Explore new flavors and try jicama as a new vegetable to use for dipping.
See this Recipe
Raw Jicama, Mexican turnip in bowl

MyPlate Food Group Portions Provided

Vegetable: 0.5 servings

Fat: 3 servings

Want to know more about Jicama? Try this tasty jicama slaw.

Dinner – Caldo de Pollo (Chicken Soup) and Mexican Rice

Caldo de Pollo (Chicken Soup) and Mexican Rice
This chicken soup (caldo de pollo) is packed with veggies and spices that give the soup color and tons of flavor!
See this Recipe
caldo de pollo chicken soup in a soup cup

MyPlate Food Group Portions Provided

Vegetable: 1.75 servings

Protein: 2 servings

Grain: 1.5 serving

Dessert/Snack  –  Honey Papaya Yogurt Parfait

Honey Papaya Yogurt Parfait
This is a sweet snack yogurt parfait with fruit and cereal. It is packed with carbohydrates, fiber and protein for long-lasting energy.
See this Recipe
healthy greek yogurt and papaya parfait in glasses. Outdoor background.

MyPlate Food Group Portions Provided

Fruit: 1/2 serving

Dairy: 1/2 serving

Grain: 1 serving

Food Group Portions Provided in Entire Meal Plan for 5-Year-Old Above

Food GroupNumber of Servings
Vegetables6 servings
Fruits2 servings
Grains5 servings
Protein4 servings
Dairy2 servings
Fat4 servings

MyPlate Daily Recommendations for a 5-year-old

Age (4-8)VegetablesFruitsGrainsProteinDairyOils
1.5 cups1-1.5 cups5 oz.4 oz.2.5 cups4 tsp.
Servings1.5 servings1.5 servings5 servings4 servings2.5 servings4 servings

Creating healthy dishes doesn’t have to sacrifice tradition. Pass on your favorite childhood meals and flavors, but with a healthful twist. If you are new to Mexican flavors, use these nutritious and delicious tastes to diversify your child’s palate.

The more flavors they experience, the more adventurous eaters they will become! Introducing your children to different cuisines is also an interactive way to teach them about different cultures. It’s time to get cooking!

Are you feeling inspired to try another cultural recipe? Try this Asian dish!

  1. Finn K, Jacquier E, Kineman B, Storm H, Carvalho R. Nutrient intakes and sources of fiber among children with low and high dietary fiber intake: the 2016 feeding infants and toddlers study (FITS), a cross-sectional survey. BMC Pediatrics. 2019;19(1). doi:10.1186/s12887-019-1822-y.
  2. Nutrients and health benefits. ChooseMyPlate. eathealthy/grains/grains-nutrients-health. Accessed February 11, 2020.
  3. Ramírez-Rodríguez Y, Martínez-Huélamo M, Pedraza-Chaverri J, Ramírez V, Martínez-Tagüeña N, Trujillo J. Ethnobotanical, nutritional and medicinal properties of Mexican drylands Cactaceae Fruits: Recent findings and research opportunities. Food Chemistry. 2020;312:126073. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2019.126073.

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