The Lunch Wheel - How Independence is Helpful
Starting my kids out with healthy habits and a positive understanding and relationship with food/nutrition is Super important to me! Here is one way that we put their breakfasts, lunches and snacks together, especially during Summer! But, it doesn't have to apply just to them! Often times, I have used it on a larger scale for my own meal prep!
So many things can seem to be defined for us with respect to diet, children especially, and allowing them the independence to make their own choices tends to be successful, at least around here! Everyone has varying tastes, and while I don't cater to all those individual preferences I do like to give them the opportunity to substitute sometimes! We use serveware with sections to give them several options! Sometimes they help me to fill the "Lunch Wheel" and sometimes I do it all myself. Together we make sure to include lean protein options, healthy fats & good carbs! The key is to make sure you have all those "Macro Bases" covered, but also the fact that they/you have choices! I keep them covered and in the fridge and pull them out for meals; when a slot empties we just refill with another option or more of the same! This is a great way to get them to try new foods and broaden their tastes! Sometimes I just cruise the produce for new ideas! It also makes for quick to the table meals an snacks when days are busy! We tend to use the same idea for their school lunches too!
I am admittedly pretty OCD and love structure lol, but sometimes it's nice to switch it up and have a variety of choices! If you aren't one for planning or don't feel like putting too much time or thought into your meal plan for the week, you can use the same method to make it easy to choose healthy combos for yourself!! You can also put together 1 tray of proteins, one tray of clean carbs and a smaller one with healthy fats, then choose an item from each to build a balanced meal!
Some Theme Ideas include:
Treat Cauliflower Grits or Mash like a Shrimp & Grits Bar or Super Spud Bar
Slice Apples and let them Make their own Apple Nachos
Even Pizza Bar using healthy crust and topping options
Anything buffet style seems to get them to put more items on their plate and makes it easier on me!