How Do I Make a Kids' Meal Plan?

N. Madison

You should consider many different things when you are trying to create a kids’ meal plan. Among them may be the nutritional needs of the children you will serve as well as the sugar content of the foods you will provide. You might also divide the daily calories and nutrients up to ensure that a child can not only have three meals a day but also a couple of healthy snacks. Additionally, asking children for their input into your meal plan may increase the chance that they will eat what you prepare.

Making healthy foods look appealing can encourage children to want to try them.
Making healthy foods look appealing can encourage children to want to try them.

Nutrition is usually a key factor when creating any meal plan. Children often need different amounts of protein, calcium, and other nutrients when compared with adults. The same goes for the portion sizes a child needs and the servings of each food group he should consume daily and at each meal. As such, you may do well to make these considerations the basis of your kids' meal plan. You can find nutritional requirements for children online or in a health book.

Children often need different amounts of protein, calcium, and other nutrients when compared with adults.
Children often need different amounts of protein, calcium, and other nutrients when compared with adults.

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Many children enjoy the taste of sugary foods and drinks and look forward to meals that include a lot of them. Health experts, however, typically recommend keeping the amount of sugar children consume to a minimum. To do so, you might create a kids’ meal plan that includes naturally sweet foods, such as fruit or recipes sweetened with fruit juice. For the sweet treats you do offer at mealtime, you might do well to reduce the amount of sugar the recipe calls for in half. Additionally, you may consider adding artificial sweeteners rather than sugar to your recipes.

Small portions are more child-friendly and appealing to little hands.
Small portions are more child-friendly and appealing to little hands.

As you work to create your meal plan, you might also consider the snacks each child will consume. Many children want a snack in the morning and in the afternoon or in the afternoon and again in the evening. You can incorporate snacks into a kids' meal plan by determining the amount of nutrients, calories, and servings a child needs each day and dividing them up to ensure that most of the food is consumed during meals while a serving or so of the foods on your list are marked for snacks. By handling your meal planning in this manner, you can ensure that the children for whom you are planning won’t consume more than the calories they need once the snacks are added.

Fruit is a healthy snack for kids.
Fruit is a healthy snack for kids.

Though you can start off creating a kids’ meal plan on your own, but it is often helpful to seek the input of those you plan to serve. For example, if you are preparing a kids’ meal plan for your own children, you might question them about their favorite meals and then incorporate them into your plan. You might also ask them about their favorite selections of fruits and vegetables. Some children may be more inclined to eat what you serve if they have a hand in creating the meal plan.

Kids' meal plans should avoid too many snacks, like chips.
Kids' meal plans should avoid too many snacks, like chips.

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