I’m often asked by well-meaning friends that invite us over to dinner, “What do your kids eat?”. A better question might be “what do they not?”! As a nutrition expert, one of my core beliefs is that kids can and should be able to eat a wide variety of foods that aren’t found on the typical kid’s menu. One of my favorite food-related parenting memories is when my 3-year-old asked for (and ate!) a whole branzino fish.
Contrary to popular practice, most children actually appreciate a wide variety of flavors and seasonings! And, introducing new tastes now will expand their palate when they’re adults. This healthy meal plan for a 3-year-old will get you started on the right foot.
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Admittedly, not EVERY meal is smooth sailing. There are times at my house when the vegetables require a little extra effort on my part. If this is you, too, you’re not alone. Did you know that according to the CDC, 90% of children do not get the MyPlate recommended amount of vegetables? (1) However, most resistance around fruits and vegetables can be eased by experimenting with different textures and shapes. Here are some of the tricks that work at my house:
With a little strategy, you can easily work in the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables into your child’s plate!
Try adding zucchini and pesto to the eggs for a natural green tint with healthy fats and vegetables! We like using cast iron skillets* for even heat distribution and a boost in iron.
(1 protein, 1/4 vegetable, 2 oil equivalents, 1 grain)
Looking for more tasty breakfast ideas? Check out SuperKids Nutrition shop page and their new book, The Super Crew’s Breakfast Cookbook for Kids, 50 Tasty Recipes +100 Fun Nutrition Activities.
A healthy meal plan for a 3-year-old can be quick and simple. Parfaits are full of flavor and color, and are very versatile! Check out Melissa’s new breakfast cookbook featuring the Super Crew for more parfait fun.
(½ dairy, ½ fruit, 1 oil equivalent)
A few toothpicks and a little imagination can change these vegetables into caterpillars!
(1.5 vegetable, ½ protein)
(2 grains, 1.5 dairy, 1 fruit, 1/4 vegetable, 1-2 proteins)
The menu above contains some of our favorites. I hope it’s one that works in your household, too! See how it compares to the MyPlate recommendations.
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