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Easy or Make Ahead Recipes!

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  • Easy or Make Ahead Recipes!

    Good Morning!

    So in light of my "favorite" DCM making comments about my "balance of meals", I have decided I should try to expand my menu options. I have the pickiest eaters in the world I think LOL one of my DCG's will not eat fruit. Two of my DCG's will not even eat cookies or ice cream. They only like things like mac n cheese, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, pizza, goldfish. I can sometimes get them to eat things like veggie straws but they wont eat fruits or veggies and they never want to try anything new. I know the reason behind this is because there is no exposure at home. I am hoping to introduce them to more foods at my house but I also hate wasting a ton of food when they wont eat. Any experienced providers have advice? What are some easy to make or make ahead meals that you make for kids? What sides do you serve? What about for breakfast and snacks? I have a few that are under 18 months and I am hoping that I can get them to try new things before they enter the extreme picky eating stage.

  • #2
    My menu is easy peasy and I don't cook very well kind of menu. The least amount of time I need to have the gas stove on during daycare the better.

    So I have nuggets, sausage slider, corn dogs, peanut butter or cheese sandwich, spaghetti with meatballs, fish sticks, cheese quesadillas, brunch with either yogurt or sausage links as the protein, mac and real cheese, pizza, hot dogs, cheese sticks.

    I use frozen vegetables that I heat in the microwave in a steamer or fresh that I serve raw. Use fresh fruit or canned in juice versus heavy syrup.

    Because of food program rules my breakfast are a grain and a fruit. (Cereal waffles toast or bagels)

    I always try to get pasta made the night before.

    Due to the fact that children's taste buds change super fast, I found that preventing picky eater is not about what you get them to try but about continually exposing them to new things.

    Always put a small amount of the food on their plate even if they don't like it. Then you can play the food game. Step one put it on their plate and they have to keep it there during the whole meal, they cannot remove it off and put it on the table or drop it on the floor. Second step have them smell the food. Third step have them touch the food. Fourth have them kiss the food. Fifth have them lick the food. Six have them put the food onto their teeth. Then finally have them eat the food. Take it as far as they're willing to go without Force, then it repeated again the next day.


    • BaileeB
      BaileeB commented
      Editing a comment
      I do almost the exact same options as yours for breakfast and very similar for lunch. I do canned fruit a lot for lunch and fresh for breakfast so I can prep it in the morning. I was so confused at the DCM comment because I am not enrolled in the food program but I follow their same model. I haven’t enrolled because of the paperwork honestly. It’s a ton of extra effort and documentation. But I can tell parents that I serve similar to many big daycares in terms of nutrition. I do put small amounts on their plates but I hadn’t heard of those steps before. DD5 is the best eater somehow (I didn’t even try with her lol) and she makes all of the younger kids want to try things at snack time because she loves pretty much everything (I mean olives, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, kale. She eats grape tomatoes like they are going out of style. She loves EVERYTHING lol).

  • #3
    I am not a veteran but this is what I serve

    Breakfast: eggs, sausage, toast, pancakes, waffles, granola bars, mixed fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, sometimes cereal

    Lunch: chicken nuggets, fish sticks, macaroni and cheese, PB&J, ham/turkey/grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken/cheese quesadillas, tomato soup, spaghetti, meatball subs, mini pizza bagels, pizza croissants, breakfast for lunch, and pizza day is every Friday/last day of daycare for the week. I’ve also served chicken and noodles and Chinese food.

    Snacks: goldfish, cheese sticks, graham crackers with PB, yogurt, veggie sticks, mixed fruit, carrots/celery sticks, animal crackers and occasionally cookies as a special Friday treat.

    Sides: I always serve a fruit and veggie with lunch. Mashed potatoes, applesauce, white rice, refried beans, fries, salads, green beans, corn, cooked and raw veggies like broccoli/peas/carrots and sometimes baked chips if I’m serving a “sack lunch” meal if I have a sub.

    Advice I have gotten from the vets on the forum, kids will eat if they’re hungry. I’ve had one picky eater in two years. I didn’t make any changes to my menu, I just encouraged him to try new things. I have one now that won’t eat green beans lol


    • #4
      Hey have you ever tried looking at a local school menu, I did that when I first opened to see what kind of things they had at compared to what I served. My menu is rotating and their menu does have some changes but there is a lot of rotating and similar meals.


      • GirlMomma
        GirlMomma commented
        Editing a comment
        This is an easy way to do it! I do the same.

      • Alwaysgreener
        Alwaysgreener commented
        Editing a comment
        Have you ever just printed their menu and used it? Lol

    • #5
      I don’t serve breakfast. Kids need to eat before drop off
      I serve a large snack at 9 (I include all the required items to count it as breakfast for food program) but use the word snack to parents for various reasons.

      I do not serve fruit at lunch very often (it’s still sugar even though it’s a healthy sugar) because I know kids get a lot at home and don’t need the extra sugar here.
      I serve 2-4 veggies for each lunch meal.

      Here’s my meal page from my website:

      Click image for larger version  Name:	AB669F67-F51A-4FA5-A31C-062D539F7E53.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	128.1 KB ID:	14590


      • #6
        I don't worry about picky eaters. I serve "Eat it or don't" at each meal.

        Morning snacks might include milk, a fruit (usually apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, pineapple, oranges, kiwi, plums, watermelon, banana, mango, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc.) and a grain (waffles, pancakes, French toast, cinnamon swirl bread, pumpkin swirl bread, pumpkin or zucchini bread, Oatnut toast, English muffins, Portuguese muffins, bagels, mixed cold cereal, oatmeal...) Once in a great while, I might give the kids a Belvita Breakfast biscuit, a grain bar, muffin or cinnamon roll.

        Lunches include milk, a protein (chicken, turkey, roast beef, ham, eggs, beef or turkey meatballs, ground beef, chicken or turkey, pork, chicken apple sausage patties, tuna, grilled cheese sandwich, Greek yogurt, black beans...) along with a veggies (broccoli, peas, snap peas, carrots, mixed veggies, green beans, corn, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, red bell peppers, potatoes, zucchini, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, celery, etc.), a fruit (the ones listed above for snacks) and a grain which is usually whole grain bread but also might be whole wheat pasta or brown rice, regular pasta, white rice, pita bread, croissants or quinoa. Every so often, I'll serve chicken nuggets or fish sticks, or I'll give the kids a veggie or fruit I don't normally serve like brussels sprouts, asparagus, star fruit, apricots, etc., just to see what happens. When I had a small group of older kids, we had "Make it Yourself Mondays". We took round, Greek pita breads and spread spaghetti sauce on them. The kids had fun adding shredded mozzarella, mini pepperonis and oregano to them. It was relatively quick to do and less messy than I expected it to be.

        Afternoon snacks include milk, a fruit or veggie listed above and a grain like Gold Fish, graham crackers, soft pretzels or other grain listed above. I've also served things like cottage cheese, yogurt, hummus with pita, cheese sticks, Veggie Straws or cupcakes or Hoodsie Cups if it's someone's birthday.

        I keep meals simple and meats like chicken and roasts are usually leftovers that were cooked the night before so I usually just have to warm things up the next day. (I like cold chicken and roast beef, though, so often, I don't bother and just serve it cold.) If a food would take too long to cut up at lunchtime, I'll do it the night before. (Roast beef can take a while to cut up so I'll do that ahead of time.) I've started to use a lot of frozen, already cubed veggies/fruits like sweet potatoes and mangos because they make things quick and easy. If I make something like a casserole for our family dinner that I think the kids would like, too, I'll make extra and just reheat at lunchtime. For example, I make "Cheeseburger Rice" (a recipe I found on the box of Minute Rice) that both my family and my dc kids like, American Chop Suey (aka Goulash?), Beans and Rice, scrambled eggs with hashbrowns, peppers, onions and cheese that are easy to reheat the next day. Every other week, I cook a big family-size pack of chicken breasts in the crock pot to make shredded chicken. Once cooked, the shredded chicken can be used in a lot of recipes. I mix it with bbq sauce and put the chicken on hamburger buns to make "Cowboy Sandwiches" and serve with baked beans. I've also added bbq sauce, pineapple tidbits and peppers/onions and carrot sticks served it over rice which tastes pretty good. I've mixed the chicken with gravy and mixed veggies and served over rice or potatoes or just by itself and everyone seemed to like that. I've also mixed the shredded chicken with teriyaki sauce, a little soy sauce and stir fry veggies. It tastes good and is quick to make since the chicken is already cooked.


        • #7
          I don't care if they eat. They will eat when they are hungry. That is why I have great eaters. For easy meals that freeze and travel well google "Southern Baptist casseroles".

          There are generations of recipes uploaded that have been handed out and passed around millions of times. I'm pretty sure it is a requirement. It's what we do, make casseroles and garden.

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