Right after I had baby Gemma in August, I realized I was going to have to start meal planning not only dinner, but breakfast and lunch too. In order to get everyone dressed, lunches packed and make a nutritious breakfast I was going to need my ship to run as tight as possible.
Instead of putting all of the work and planning on my shoulders I reached out to the kids to come up with their own choices for the month. They would each get two days a week to pick the breakfast of their choice and I would get one day. The only caveat was that breakfast needed to include a fruit, carbohydrate and most importantly a protein, to help maximize how their bodies use and keep them full and satisfied until they eat their mid morning snack I packed at school.
They came up with recipes and ideas like Waffle French Toast, Happy Eggs, Pink Milk, DIY Oatmeal Buffet and Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins and were darn excited about the ownership of their day. What I love most about these recipes besides the ease in preparing them is that they all include my secret protein ingredient, milk! Packed with 9 essential nutrients in each glass, milk is a good source of high-quality protein and vitamin A, an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D and incredibly easy to incorporate into tons of recipes or even serve on its own. At all times I have whole, skim and buttermilk in our fridge for cooking or drinking on its own.
When the kids are home on the weekends we will often make a big lunch making quick recipes like Avocado Toast, Veggie Filled Frittata and Spiced Carrot Cauliflower Soup. Served with a glass of Creamy Vanilla Milk it’s got all the protein we need to keep movin’ through the day.
It’s funny to think about a day in the life of the food we eat and not think of all of the recipes we eat and look forward to in order to keep going. It can be challenging to get all of the nutrients kids need into their bodies, so it’s important to look at a day from start to finish so you know they have consumed as many of the vitamins and minerals they need as possible. Especially with my son being a vegetarian now, protein is always on the top of my mind.
We rarely have issues finding fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates to eat at dinnertime, but on those nights when I don’t have time to roast a chicken or make one of their favorites like Mexican Muffins I can offer a cold glass of milk and know they’re in good shape.
Don’t forget about dessert! I’m a firm believer that a little something sweet can put smiles on the most tired faces. Nothing fancy, but a little sweet treat (as my kids call them) like Microwave Mug Double Chocolate Brownie, Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake or Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake with a tall glass of milk and you’ll have smiles on everyone’s faces from ear to ear!