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Make it SO MUCH easier to feed your family from breakfast through dinner with these easy family meal plans for the month ahead. Each week includes recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner to give you lots of inspiration for easy cooking and eating.
Easy Family Recipes
This month always brings a deluge of “healthy eating” emails, marketing, and messages and while I’m all for adding more produce, whole grains, and the like, I’d like to remind you that it’s all about the big picture—and kids never need to diet. (P.S. Diets don’t work for adults either.)
Our bodies need regular fuel and there’s no such thing as a perfect toddler (or adult) diet. Do your best with the food budget, groceries, time, and cooking interest you have and try to ditch any shame or guilt or comparison.
You’re doing a great job!
Okay, now on to the meal plan. There are a few recipes for breakfast, lunch, and snack for each week, plus daily dinner ideas. I figure you can sub in easy options for the other meals!
With any of these meals, I recommend offering 1-2 simple sides such as fruit, fresh veggies, crackers, or cheese if you are at all worried that your kids won’t like the main dish. That way, they have “safe” foods on the table and you don’t need to get up to make a different meal!
Easy Meal Rotation
I do my meal plans using the idea of a rotation where you use general categories every other week to reduce decision fatigue and also give the kids a chance to see foods regularly to help them learn to like the.
I have two options for breakfast and dinner that we can choose from—I usually alternate each week—then a set rotation of lunch ideas. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This allows me to the number of decisions I need to make since I’m starting with narrow categories— but still have flexibility, variety, and spontaneity with all of the choices available within a category.
(Because there are a million pasta recipes we could have on pasta night, for example, which is great since my kids generally like pasta!) Adjust as you like for your family.
Use these ideas for each meal of the day to get a bit of a plan in place for the week—even if you just choose one or two recipes to try. Round out any meal with a simple side of fruit or fresh veggies as you like.
Easy Pumpkin Oatmeal (with Any Kind of Oats)
You can make this in about 15 minutes on any morning, or make the whole recipe ahead and simply warm right before serving. See the Notes for variations to make it with other types of oats.
These healthy muffins taste like a delicious banana muffin, but with the added nutrition of a big handful of spinach. These store well, so you can make them ahead of time and pull them out of the fridge or freezer to serve.
The Best 2-Ingredient Pancakes (Baby and Toddler Approved)
This recipe makes one small batch of super tender 2-Ingredient Pancakes. It usually makes 1-2 little-kid-size servings. To make more, simply double the recipe. These are delicate pancakes with a texture that's sort of custardy like French toast, so be gentle when flipping them. See the NOTES at the bottom for the flavor variations.
Plan to prepare the sweet potatoes at least an hour—and up to 3 days ahead—before you start making the muffins so it has time to cool. See the Notes for options for the sweet potato. These are very lightly sweet. Add ¼ cup brown sugar if desired to make them sweeter.
Prep the rice, beans, and veggies ahead if you can or want to. They store well in the fridge and simply need to be reheated. The nutrition information in this recipe will vary based on the ingredients you choose to use.
Just a heads up that you’ll need to reserve a little of the pasta cooking water, so keep that in mind BEFORE you drain the pasta. Chicken sausage is usually leaner than pork, so when making this with chicken sausage, I like to add butter or olive oil before serving.
I like adding the thyme in these for extra flavor, but it's optional! Be sure to grease your muffin tin well with nonstick spray to help prevent these from sticking to the pan. A nonstick mini muffin pan works best here.
I love to make one homemade snack on the weekend to serve throughout the week—so you could try that approach to help you mix up store bought snacks. Or just to try out meal prepping in a way that’s not all consuming!
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal with Raisins
You can double this recipe to make a larger batch to warm up and serve throughout the week.
These muffins are best with very ripe bananas (they should have a lot of brown spots, which indicate sweetness). Then, simply stir everything together in one bowl and bake up a batch of delicious Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins to share with the kids.
Perfect for dipping and dunking veggies, this recipe makes enough for 2-3 servings, so you can store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat it for 15-30 seconds in the microwave to serve. You can also toss any leftovers with pasta for a quick and healthy mac and cheese.
For a 6 month old baby, 1-2 tablespoons baby food may be plenty for a single serving. For a 9 month old baby, they might want ¼ cup or more. Adjust the servings based on your child’s hunger, using a roughly one to one ratio of the purees in each combination. Nutrition will vary according to the combinations you use.
I like our lentil soup with the veggies pretty blended in, which is why I chop them finely in a blender or food processor. You can also just chop them with a knife. (Recipe updated August 2020 to saute the veggies before simmering to ensure that there’s no raw onion flavor.)
The combination of vegetables listed below delivers really nice flavor and consistency to the sauce, but if you want to simplify, you can just use 2 of the options. This recipe was updated in September 2019 to add an Instant Pot option.
Veggie Grilled Cheese Sandwich (to Share with the Kids)
With just 4 ingredients, including a veggie that blends right in, this Veggie Grilled Cheese Sandwich is a yummy kids lunch to share. It packs extra nutrition in the filling, yet only takes a few minutes to make. Such a great easy meal!
You can use any sliced bread that you like. I typically use whole grain or sourdough. You can also bake full slices of bread, then cut into sticks with kitchen scissors. See Notes for allergy-substitutions.
Frozen banana will create a slightly thicker smoothie, so if you plan to serve this through a straw, I recommend doing either frozen blueberries OR bananas, but not both. You can do all frozen fruit if you plan to serve it through a pouch or in an open cup—or if your child is used to drinking thick smoothies!
If you use larger cookie cutters, you may need to bake on the longer end of the baking time—and mini cookie cutters on the shorter end. This makes a relatively small batch, so double it if you want extras to last all week!
You can add some of the ingredients to some of the areas—leaving the spinach off, adding more salsa or spice—to customize for everyone at the table. I usually leave about a ⅓ of the pan for the kids with less greens and salsa and then pile it on for my husband and I.
Forget takeout—deliver this popular Indian dish to your table instead. Shredded chicken thighs are coated in a rich, buttery sauce with hints of tomatoes, ginger, and garam masala—a messy but very flavorful finger food. Posted with Permission from The Multi-Cooker Baby Food Cookbook
Making use of your slow cooker and/or instant pot is a great way to make cooking much easier on yourself. Pull those appliances out and get them into regular rotation!
Easy Homemade Granola (Added Sugar Free)
This healthy granola recipe uses applesauce for sweetness and bakes at a lower temperature to lower the risk of burning around the edges. Plus, find an option to make it without added sugar id desired.
The base recipe makes a large amount so you can use it throughout the week. Feel free to cut it in half to make less, or just make one serving at a time using the instructions in the NOTES section below.
This makes 6 rolled up tacos, so you can adjust this as needed for your family. Taste the refried beans before you make the roll ups and adjust the salt and/or cumin if needed. You can also serve the ingredients in separate bowls and let your family serve themselves.