I hate meal planning. For me, it takes away the spontaneity of cooking what I 'feel' like on a particular day. But wait, that was a luxury in my past, pre-kid life oops. Now, I find the week is SO much easier with a little planning. It takes about 15-30 minutes while watching Sunday night reality TV for my to get a plan in place, making things flow smoothly week long. And of course, when the plan fails and toddler boycotts a meal, there's always a almond butter jelly sandwich backup option (we're allergic to peanuts ugh) or takeout pizza - yum.
Since we've been obsessing about the ultra-important mineral Calcium for the last few weeks, I put together a calcium conscious meal plan with MODERATE DAIRY and many delicious, nutritious non-dairy sources of calcium thrown in the mix, like chia seeds, coconut milk, oranges, edamame, tahini and canned salmon. As you'll see below, the most calcium rich day is actually lowest in dairy. Take that milk!
You can always swap the lunch and dinner options - a quicker lunch and more involved dinner works for our household but that's not always the case. Also, every kid is different in terms of milk drinking proclivities. We've kept the plan at under 16oz of dairy per day where the evidence suggests that calcium and vitamin D needs are optimally met without crowding out other important food groups and nutrients. I hope this inspires you to embrace non-dairy sources of calcium while being mindful of adequate dairy consumption for all its important contributions to kids' nutrition.
So without further ado, here's a 3 day CALCIUM RICH, TODDLER AND KID FRIENDLY MEAL PLAN with links to our delicious, easy, spiced recipes and shopping list to help you along. Bon Appetit!
With Love & Spice
Most of these items make for a healthy, nutritious fridge that can inspire you beyond this 3 day meal plan to eat healthy for the entire week. Feel free to make some swaps and omissions if this list seems too daunting. For instance, use onions instead of shallots, spinach instead of Swiss chard, parsley instead of basil etc to shorten the list.
MEAT / FISH / EGGS / DAIRY
180 g canned salmon (preferably wild sockeye)
1 kg boneless or bone-in chicken thighs
2 oz prosciutto
250 g firm fish like halibut or salmon
plain Greek yoghurt
hard cheese like cheddar or gruyere
whole wheat bread
all purpose flour
coconut oil and / or canola oil
1 sweet potato
1 russet potato
3 new potatoes
small bunch spinach
small bunch Swiss Chard
1 fennel bulb
1 small eggplant
1 head broccoli
edamame (frozen is fine)
peas (frozen is fine)
fresh cilantro / coriander
8 curry leaves (optional)
Where possible, freshly ground for added flavor and amazingness!
cinnamon, ground and sticks
coriander, seeds and ground
turmeric, powder and fresh root, if possible