We’re big fans of meal planning here at Yumble. A weekly meal plan saves time, makes grocery shopping a breeze, and keeps your family from reaching for junk or fast food when hunger strikes.

But how do you get started with making a healthy meal plan for kids? Become a meal planning pro with our tips for choosing the right weekly meal plan for your kids.

How does a meal plan benefit kids?

It’s great that meal planning can benefit adults by saving time and money. But how can a weekly meal plan benefit kids, too? A meal plan for children promotes more frequent family meals. Studies show that kids who eat family meals on a regular basis adopt healthier eating habits, perform better in school, and have fewer behavioral issues.

Eating more meals at home will help you expose your kids to healthy choices. As a parent, encouraging healthy eating habits early on is important, as it may decrease risk for obesity and chronic disease later in life.

A healthy meal plan for kids also help to establish a mealtime routine. When kids adopt this habit, they tend to snack less and be more in tune with their hunger level. Children who lack routine and graze throughout the day tend to overeat.

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Whole grains

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Low-fat dairy

Let’s start with how a healthy meal plan for kids should look. Generally, kids need three meals and two snacks per day. Specific calorie and food group needs vary, depending on the child’s age and activity level. What a preschooler should be eating is not going to be the same guidelines as that for a 7-year old.

For example, a 4 to 5 year-old may only need around 1200 calories per day, while a 17 year-old may need as many as 3200 calories to support their high energy needs during periods of growth. Keep this in mind when developing a healthy weekly meal plan for kids, as portion sizes for your children will likely change with age and activity level.

Although specific needs vary, the USDA recommends that children ages 2 to 18 eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, and low-fat dairy. A healthy meal plan for kids should also limit sugary and high-fat foods. Simply incorporating variety will ensure that your meal plan has a balance of food groups and nutrients. Variety will also keep your family from becoming bored with eating home-cooked meals.

We understand the mornings are busy. Fortunately, a healthy meal plan for kids doesn’t require complicated or time-consuming breakfasts. A simple combination of whole grain, fruit, and a source of protein each morning makes for a healthy and satisfying meal.

Some quick breakfast ideas to get you started with a meal plan for your children include low-sugar yogurt with granola and berries, whole grain toast with nut butter and banana, or oatmeal.

Whole-wheat frozen waffles (either store-bought or homemade) are also big time-savers and pair perfectly with fruit. You might even consider keeping some hard-boiled eggs on hand for an easy source of protein at breakfast.

Yumble Egg-cellent Choice Kids Meal

For an option that requires almost no work on your end but still provides that healthy start to the morning, our Egg-Cellent Choice is just that: a perfect choice! Kids will love this recognizable and accessible cheesy egg dish that’s paired with our homemade shredded hash browns for a perfectly balanced and delicious breakfast. Packed with protein and low in sugar, this is a dish that fits seamlessly into a healthy meal plan for kids and requires no cooking for those without time to spare in the morning.

If it feels like your child snacks all day, you’re not alone. Snacks are important because kids have smaller stomachs and need more frequent meals than adults. It’s not necessary to include specific snacks in your weekly meal plan for kids, but it is important to have plenty of healthy snacks available.

Yumble Protien Poppers Kids Snack

Keeping snacks like fruit, veggies with dip, or string cheese within reach will encourage better choices than things like cookies and candy. Our protein poppers are a perfect snack for kids with a sweet tooth and serve as a great source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

In terms of lunch, if you’re packing one each day then you’re already meal planning for your children! Lunch is a great opportunity for kids to get a serving of veggies or fruit. A side of baby carrots or sliced bell pepper with ranch makes a great addition to a deli meat sandwich on whole-wheat bread. Or, top a delicious salad in your healthy meal plan for kids with shredded rotisserie chicken, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes. For a mess-free version, serve this salad as a filling in a whole-wheat pita.

Yumble Cheesy Quesadilla Kids Meal

Our favorite go-to lunches at Yumble include our Cheesy Quesadilla. Integrate this dish as part of your kids’ weekly meal plan and rest assured they’re still getting a wholesome meal made with all natural cheese, farm fresh kale, and a corn tortilla. The pineapple rice with peas and carrots is an easy way to hide veggies in your kids’ lunches in a way they’ll still love.

Turkey Cheddar Pinwheels Kids Lunch

We also love our Turkey Cheddar Pinwheels, which are served with edamame, apricots, and honey mustard for dipping. These are an obvious fan favorite in a fun shape that kids love eating, and have that healthy kick with antibiotic-free and hormone-free turkey slices rolled with all-natural cheddar cheese in a whole wheat tortilla.

Include these tasty and healthy choices in your next weekly meal plan for kids to save yourself some work!

Save time on your kids’ dinner with a meal plan

The best way to start a weekly meal plan for kids’ dinner is to transform meals that your family already loves. For burger night, choose a whole-wheat bun and serve baked sweet potato fries as a side, and strawberries with a little whipped cream as dessert.

Yumble Pizza Bagel Kids Lunch

Pizza night can be part of a healthy meal plan for kids, too. Simply serve pizza with a salad, or top slices with plenty of veggies. Or, try our protein-packed Pizza Stacker. This is made with all natural tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and our homemade naan-style bread. Kids will love the interactivity, and you’ll love how easy it is to get dinner on the table.

You can also consider using leftovers for dinner. It’s an easy way to create kids meals without the extra effort of brainstorming three different meals for each day.

Utilizing leftovers will also limit your time in the kitchen. If your family isn’t a fan of eating the same meal twice, think about ways to repurpose your leftovers. For example, serve leftover grilled chicken on a salad or shred it and serve on tacos. Make leftover burgers more exciting by crumbling the patties and using the beef in baked whole-wheat spaghetti or stuffed peppers. These are all options for making a weekly meal plan for kids much easier to manage instead of trying to cook a new dish every night.

Remember to involve your family in your weekly meal plan. If your kids help decide what they will be eating, they will be more excited to see those meals on their plates. Including your family on these decisions also takes some of the work off of your plate.

When creating a weekly meal plan for kids and your family, remember to consider everyone’s schedule each week. Choose meals that are easier to prepare on particularly busy weeks, and save the more time-consuming meals for nights or weeks that are more relaxed.

Remember, we’re here to help, too. Save time and make a meal plan for children that is stress-free by including meals from Yumble. Our menu is full of meals that your kids will love, and provides the variety and nutrition they need. Get started and pick the options that work best for your family to see just how easy a weekly healthy meal plan for your kids can be.