How to Make a Creative Meal Plan Affordable
For this Kids Meal Monday I’m sharing some great ways to make an affordable and creative meal plan for your Littles
It’s Monday, and my creative meal plan juices are firing. Maybe it’s the fact that spring is so close. It’s still chilly but I open the windows anyhow. We can smell spring in the air. It could be because we are finally starting to get over the nasty cold virus that circled through last week. Or perhaps it’s my new set of KCups and a fresh essential oil diffuser blend I started the day with. (Check out my Pinterest board for all my favorite blends). For the Littles, it may be that it’s trash day. Nothing excites them like the trash truck.
Either way, It’s #motivationmonday over here at Lauren’s Little One’s and I’m prepping up a storm. Part of what I mentioned in my first Kids Meal Monday post was how important it is for Daycare Provider’s to find lunch ideas that are both healthy AND affordable. That’s why I enjoy coming up with a creative meal plan for the week and making our dollar stretch. Today’s lunch is simple- hot dogs, orange slices, and celery sticks with cucumber. But I’ve got Chicken and Rice Soup simmering in the crock-pot for tomorrow’s lunch (My oven is STILL out) and all that leftover celery inspires all sorts of daycare creativity. And my coffee. Don’t forget the coffee.
The Chicken Soup itself is easy, it’s all the leftovers from the prep that has my creative meal plan juices stirring
Although I used my own preference for spices, I found the bulk of particular recipe from Favorite Family Recipes. Take it from me , and take her advice on not adding the rice until closer to the end, or you WILL have mush soup. I like making my soup the day before because soup is ALWAYS better the second day, after the flavors have had time to meld. After I assembled all the ingredients in the crock pot, I took a step back to see the aftermath of my meal-prep destruction. (I’m great in the kitchen- but sometimes I feel like the mess I leave behind isn’t worth it!) I had three large chicken breasts left over from the package I defrosted- and celery.
The chicken breasts are easy- I’ll make some homemade chicken nuggets with the Little’s later this week. But the celery- yuck. Unless it’s in a soup or salad, I am NOT a celery fan. But that doesn’t mean my Little’s should be denied the opportunity to try it, in different forms.
So I came up with a celery plan for the week
- Peanut butter celery boats– they’re kids. It’s almost a given.
- Color-STEM research with our celery tops- ideas for this are all over Pinterest. The kids loved watching and checking every day to see how the celery changed colors, and I loved explaining how the colored water fed the celery, which is why it changed.
- Tuna Salad in a celery boat- AFTER I dumped two cans of tuna into a bowl to prep it, I realized we were out of mayo. What I did have was Aldi House dressing, and a bit of tartar sauce. (If you haven’t tried Aldi House Dressing yet, do it. Stop what you’re doing right now and drive to the nearest Aldi. It’s that good.) Let’s just say that bit of creative meal planning worked out very well, and I can’t wait to eat our tuna boats on Thursday.
- Flower stamping!- Have you ever noticed that when you cut the tops off of celery, the print of it looks like a rose? Very serendipitous timing, with spring approaching! The Little’s love painting so I’m looking forward to doing this later in the week.
Coming up with a creative meal plan doesn’t have to be complicated
It just has to be fun- and smart. Not all food has to be eaten- it can be played with, too! What are your favorite ways to re-use food in your creative meal plans? Find out more recipe’s and get the latest updates on my Little’s by subscribing to the blog!
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