Whether you’re doing a Whole 30 with toddlers or teens, eating healthy with kids can be a challenge, so I’m sharing my best tips and real food meals to keep you and the kids happy.
With a couple of Whole 30 challenges and 21-day fixes under my belt, I’ll admit doing it with kids isn’t easy at FIRST. But then I found ways to make eating whole foods with my whole family a lot easier and created a program built with the whole family in mind. Get an exclusive free peek at the program recipes and meal plans here. All of it is 100% kid-approved.
I found that with these meal tips, patience, and consistency it becomes less of a challenge and more of a way of life.
How to start eating healthier as a family
1. Cook your meals.
This is one is a given, by preparing your food you have full control of what goes into each meal and the ability to swap ingredients for healthier options. This is how I’ve successfully recreated our family favorite recipes like nachos, fried rice, burrito bowls, and even pancakes so we can enjoy them anytime with fresh, whole ingredients.
2. Establish mealtimes.
Eating at the table builds a platform for your family to connect and the kids to try new foods. It also helps to shift the focus from being solely on food to the experience of sharing a meal.
Finding the best time to share a meal with your family depends on your routine. For my family, weekdays mornings are too busy, and lunch is usually eaten outside the house, that makes the evening meal our one chance to eat together.
3. Cook One Meal.
If you find yourself playing this role, stop now. Trust me; you can. With three very picky eaters and their food allergies, I made multiple meals for years and found that #aintnobodygottimeforthat. Sticking to ONE meal per breakfast, lunch, and dinner gives you more freedom and motivates everyone to eat what’s set before them.
It does take time for the family to readjust, but it’s definitely worth the effort. A few tips on making this easier
- recreate family favorites
- let everyone pick out a menu item
- with each meal, include at least one item everyone will love, whether it’s a side or entreé.
Whole30 family Meal Plan
There’s no way around it if you are involved in a Whole30 or the Family Kickstart you will be spending more time in the kitchen. However, there is a trick to making the whole process easier, enter meal plan and prep.
Meal planning strategy is the same whether you’re on a Whole 30 or eating regular meals. Start by picking 3 to 4 family-friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this will leave room for leftovers and reduce the size of your shopping list.
Next, break down the recipes to do a few batches of meal prep. E.g: I separate meals into Sunday-Monday and Thursday-Saturday. From there I plan on two prep sessions, one being Sunday before the week and the second prep session on Wednesday for the remaining meals.
If you’re thinking “Laura, I’d love to do that but… with what time?!”, you aren’t alone. Many of our Family Kickstart members have found the meal map guide and prep sheets total life-savers.
While we’re here, check out this sample of the Family Kickstart program, it’s all of the above in one mini guide.
In Family KickStart, I do all of the work for you. You get the meal plans, recipes, even the shopping lists for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks! All you have to do is grab the ingredients from the store and cook them up, I’ll handle the rest.
After completing a Whole30 by myself, I wanted to be able to share those healthy lifestyle changes with the whole family. However, let’s face it, kids do not want to eat roasted cauliflower for breakfast or spinach salad 5 days a week and with a regular Whole30 program that’s what you can expect.
Instead, I prefer to recreate kid favorite recipes by swapping not-so-great ingredients with healthier options. So far it’s resulted in some real crowd pleasers! I know you’re ready for examples so here are a few of our favorites:
P.S- We still enjoy them for regular meals, even when we’re not doing a 30-day program!
Healthy Foods for Kids School Lunches
With each Family KickStart, my family has discovered some new favorite lunches. Each of these are rich in protein, healthy fats, and can be packed ahead of time.
Before you show that Whole30 who’s boss, I want to give you some backup ammunition! This recipe is a lifesaver and one of my go-to lunches!
Have you ever tried eating better with your kids? What has been your biggest challenge?
Healthy Chicken Salad
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings
- 1 whole roasted chicken, meat removed and diced
- Juice from 1 lemon (about 2-3 tablespoons)
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning (optional)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- Place chicken in a food processor and pulse a few times to roughly chop. Continue pulsing for about 30 seconds until the chicken is finely chopped. *If you turn “on” the food processor, your chicken will become a “paste” instead of very finely chopped.
- In a bowl, combine lemon juice, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and Creole seasoning, if using. Blend well.
- Add the chicken and celery to the bowl, and stir to combine.
- Serve on top of a bed of lettuce or with crackers.
- Serving Size: 1 scoop
- Calories: 304
- Fat: 16.4 g
- Carbohydrates: .7 g
- Fiber: .1 g
- Protein: 37.4 g