Family-Friendly Meal Plan: Week #14

I hope you enjoyed the past four week's worth of dietitian-inspired meal plans! I know I loved getting to feature a few of my foodie-favorites with you all and trying many of their recipes myself!

 

Veggies & Virtue Meal Plan: Week of April 1

 
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STEP 1: PLAN

Now that Spring has officially sprung, I am going to be planning more of our menus on a quarterly basis. This means you will still get a new meal planning post each week, but it will also begin to reflect recycled recipes that are favorites for the season.

This technique helps me in my home and I am confident is an approach that will help you and yours. It allows us to plan ahead in our prep, often batch-cooking recipes when we can or "cooking once, eating twice (or thrice!)" by freezing extra batches for upcoming weeks. I know not everyone has a deep freezer for copious amounts of extra food storage, but even if these are just recipes you learn to like and soon love, having go-to recipes in your wheelhouse makes picking what's on the menu so much easier IMO. I hope you'll agree!


Interested in walking through the steps to meal plan like a pro?

Download your copy of my Meal Planning Playbook. It outlines the following five steps of successful meal planning in more detail so you can achieve "Less Meal Time Stress and More Feeding Success" for your own family!

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STEP 2: PICK

A special thanks to each of the following contributors for the delicious recipe ideas this week!

Dinner Menu:

1 ǁ Easter Dinner

2 ǁ Meatless Monday: Chickpea Cucumber Salad (by @cathy_lemontreedwelling)

3 ǁ Taco Night:  Shrimp Tacos (by @thegirlwho8everything)

4 ǁ Grill Night: Best Chicken Marinade (by @veggiesandvirtue)

5 ǁ Build Your Own Salad Night: Loaded Greek Salad Night (by @cafedelites)

6 ǁ Pasta Night: Instant Pot Sausage and Penne  (by @atxlemonlavenderlove)*

7 ǁ Family Night Out (slash Mom's Night Off!)

*Modifications recommended by a fellow dietitian friend. See comments under prep!


STEP 3: PAIR

After a month of other dietitian features in this section, I will again be switching up this section. It quickly became a FAQ section for all sorts of questions submitted by parents, which I love addressing! However, the aim of this section is to focus on how "pairing" what you offer with your meal plan each week can both help to accommodate for more apprehensive eaters while also ensuring that we moms making only ONE meal for the whole family.

One of the main ways I do this is through the bonus content shared in my weekly newsletter. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP.

My newsletter subscribers benefit from seeing how EACH meal plan menu item is broken down with "Love it, Like it, Learning it" suggestions (based on my children's preferences). This is free for subscribers and removes the guesswork with what (or how!) to serve each of the weekly menu items. Sign up here to get these concrete ideas and simple examples in your inbox every Friday morning - requiring no additional effort from you!

I will elaborate on this approach in this section each week, by featuring my upcoming "One Meal, Two Ways" posts. These will show you what both my plate and my child's plate look like at a given meal from the weekly meal plan. This will also be shown on my Instagram every Tuesday!

Otherwise, the FAQ of the week I featured before will now be shared every Friday with "FAQ Fridays" on my Instagram. This will include the wide range of feeding, nutrition, and product-related questions that come in! If you would like your question to be featured, please subscribe here and reply to any of my once-weekly emails! I always value knowing what feeding struggles are stumping you and how I can help solve them. The best way for me to keep track of these is by email (not via PM on Instagram, please).

Lastly, I now offer 30-, 60-, 90-, and 2-hour consultation packages. Ranging from a "Ask Me Anything" 30-minute Q&A to more comprehensive packages, please see my consultation options here if you have questions you would like me to address on a one-on-one basis.


STEP 4: PURCHASE

What I Buy and Why: Product Feature of the Week

The noodles we are using in the recipe for "Pasta night" this week are this lentil-based pasta option from Trader Joe's, similar to pasta from well-known brands like Eat Banza.

While we aren't personally fans of the black bean pasta option from Trader Joe's, this option in this recipe does really well. It is an especially great option if you have a carb-o-holic on your hands that wants pasta every night and yet may struggle to eat protein in standard forms!

This is a more nutrient-rich option with the only ingredient being red lentil flour. Lentils, unlike refined wheat or even whole grain noodle varieties, are packed with plant-based protein and fiber. This will help your child not only meet their daily protein needs (13g protein per 3/4 cup!), but also help boost their satiety through the added fiber and protein helping to fill them up between meals!

Want my free grocery list download? Download it here.

Want your own tear-off pad of my go-to grocery list to keep on the fridge? Order your 6-month magnetic grocery list notepad here.


STEP 5: PREP

Tips on items to prep ahead:

1 ǁ Easter Dinner

2 ǁ Meatless Monday: Chickpea Cucumber Salad (by @cathy_lemontreedwelling)

  • Wash and cut cucumber and red onion while the cutting board is out for other veggie prep. Make vinaigrette in advance, or prepare whole salad and have on hand for the week.

3 ǁ Taco Night:  Shrimp Tacos (by @thegirlwho8everything)

  • Cut red onion while the cutting board is out for other veggie prep (like night one). Chop garlic, cilantro, and jalapeno while cutting board it out. Make shrimp marinade in advance. Thaw shrimp, if needed.

4 ǁ Grill Night: Best Chicken Marinade (by @veggiesandvirtue)

  • Make marinade in advance in a large ziplock bag. Thaw chicken (if needed).

5 ǁ Build Your Own Salad Night: Loaded Greek Salad Night (by @cafedelites)

  • Wash and cut romaine while the cutting board is out for other veggie prep. Store with a paper towel in a large bowl until ready to use. Up to 3 days in advance, Wash and cut bell pepper, red onion, and olives while the cutting board is out for other veggie prep. Store separately from the romaine. Make marinade/dressing in advance. Thaw chicken, if needed.

6 ǁ Pasta Night: Instant Pot Sausage and Penne  (by @atxlemonlavenderlove)*

  • If preparing using Trader Joe's Red Lentil Sedanini, consider the following modifications (kindly shared from a fellow dietitian-friend who first shared this recipe with me): omit 1 cup water, use turkey sausage, and add a few handfuls of curly kale. Cook on Manual high pressure for 4 minutes!

7 ǁ Family Night Out (slash Mom's Night Off!)