Hi, I am soon to be a divorced single dad, not due to my volition, but oh well... I have a 7 year old daughter and a 4 year old son. As I will be spending a lot of time with them by myself, I'd like some opinions on what are the best healthy meals. Mom used to feed them, what I would say OK meals, but they ate a lot of chips and cookies and snacks I did not approve of, but did not fight mom. Anyway, as I am diving into this I'd like some advice.
I am looking for some 'easy to make' (I have to take baby steps to transition into this) meals, prepackaged, or frozen meals, but something that is nutritional, something that my kids will actually eat, and be healthy. I am going to be in a house by myself with the kids, so I will not have a lot of time getting stuff done, watching them, taking care of the house, grocery shopping...oh, single moms how do you do that ...anyway,
Are there any prepackaged but healthy meals that I could buy / freeze / store for children? Most prepared meals seem to be high in sodium, but is there something I am not aware of that is healthy and prepackaged / frozen. Breakfast, lunch, dinner?
What are the best snacks for daycare or school? Something not messy, easy, but nutritional. Mom used to give them peanut butter crackers, sometimes chips, cookies. I never liked that. I am looking for nutrition.
Our four year old is somewhat picky, which complicates things. From your experience is there some food that 'he is sure to love' and yet it is nutritional.
Right now, kids' breakfast are basically waffles with maple syrup, bagel with cream cheese, or cinnamon rolls. That pretty much keeps rotating and I do not like any of that.
Thanks for any help...
Dinners: There are a lot of things easy to make ahead in big batches every week or 2 then heat up from frozen or fridge. For quick meals I put meat (chicken pieces, boneless country ribs, that sort of thing) and sauce (bbq or a dressing) in a baking pan, pop in the oven, and when almost done put some frozen veggies in a covered pot with boiling water on the stove. No chopping and stirring and gathering many things, no more work than cooking frozen meals and far cheaper. Cook up several dinners worth of meat that way at once then you only need to heat it up for a short time later. Grilling several pounds of chicken breast, slicing and freezing is also really handy.
Lunches: carrots/veggies with dip, salad, fruit, sliced grilled chicken, meatballs, cheese.
Breakfasts: Hard boiled eggs, breakfast sausage patties/links, fruit, yogurt.
For us, basically for everyday meals it's mostly from scratch stuff but prepared with little work and/or all at once. Oh and we don't do much grains at all, we find it to be mostly empty nutritionally and carbs don't agree really with us, so we only have them on occasion. To fill the calorie gap that leaves we use as much butter, olive oil, coconut oil and fatty meat as we want, and plenty of carrots, fruit, and sweet potatoes.
I did not think of cooking in batches and freezing, that does sound as a good, cheaper, healthier idea. So you basically cook / bake / grill the meat and cook the vegetables, and then when done, you let them cool, portion it into zip lock bags. and freeze them? When you want to use it, do you unfreeze and warm up? Doesn't it get soggy? Or how long does that last in the refrigerator?
My kids are not big into vegies, fruits, but I should start introducing it maybe in a subtle way.
Thanks for some good ideas.
How about oatmeal or quiche muffins for breakfast options? You could customize these with dried or fresh fruit, nuts, veggies and meats.
And for school lunches, try searching on the NomNomPaleo site. She has a lots of entries with ideas for the lunch box using a bento box type approach.
thanks for some god tips. Actually, I found another website that was describing how to make these fast English-muffin mini-pizzas. Seemed like an interesting, fairly healthy fast snack, or lunch idea. I need to build up enough of these meals that I could rotate them without eating the same thing too often. The NomNomPaleo site also seems interesting. Thanks.