23 answers

Dinner for 4/5 Year Old

I have a daughter soon to be 5 and I am requesting dinner alternatives for her. My husband is rarely home for dinner during the week so I am only cooking for the two of us. Large meals typically work once a week (my husband eats when he arrives home) but I am having trouble coming up with ideas for us other than chicken (quantities of everything else are too large). I get take-out at least two times a week (Folks or BBQ) since they typically come with veggies. I try to stay away from frozen dinners due to the salt content. I am also looking for suggestions/hints on veggies. My daughter only likes SOFT broccoli, SOFT green beans, mushrooms, peas and corn. Thanks!!

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To all you ladies (and guy): Thank you so much for the wonderful ideas. I have been researching some of the websites provided and have copied some of the basic recipes you've suggested. My daughter loves any kind of Protein (meat, fish, eggs) so your information has been very helpful. Thank you all for your time.

Featured Answers

Try buying frozen veggies instead of canned. The have less salt content and you can use the quantity you need and then put the rest back in the freezer. If you buy large quantities of meat, package it in single services in individual sandwich bags inside a freezer bag, then put it in the freezer. That way you can only thaw out the quantity you need for the 2 of you.

1 mom found this helpful

Wow - I hardly saw anyone mention pasta, and they're sooo fast and easy. I do a lot of tortellini and stuffed pastas, 'cause we're a vegetarian family, and there are a lot of cheese-stuffed tortellini options everywhere these days.

Trader Joe's has a great selection of prepared stuff that generally isn't as sugar- and salt-laden as the stuff you get in most stores. (And they sell extra-long spaghetti noodles that my 4 year old thinks is hilarious. Messy, but fun, to eat.)

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More Answers

Hey D.,

I have a four year old girl and a one year old girl. My four year old is the reigning champion of picky eaters. I have found something though that she really, really likes. Publix sells these turkey meatballs. They're frozen, but they sure are tasty.

As for suggestions on veggies, I take it she'll eat potatoes? Those are a really good option in our house as they are also one of Mia's favorites, as well as Corinne's. If you are looking to get a little more vegetables in your diet, but for your own enjoyment too, try whipped cauliflower. You can pass it off as mashed potatoes. It's really good. Your daughter may really take to that as well.

I have a book filled with recipes for little ones, I believe up to the age of six or seven. It is called "First Meals" by Annabel Karmel. That might be an option for you too.

Bon Appetit!


2 moms found this helpful

Personally I love to find new receipes on kraftfoods.com and bettycrocker.com. They have wonderful kid friendly foods that include tricky ways to incorporate fruits, veggies, fiber, and protein. This works for me cause I have a picky 3 year old who would rather eat meat than anything so I have to get creative. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

Those are great vegetables for a 4/5 year old to eat. How about carrots with low or fat free ranch? Let her help you prepare a green bean casserol. Cooks always try what they make.
I teach that age group and they have definite opinions about what they like to eat.
be creative with multi-grain wraps. You can put anything in a wrap. They can't "see" it so it is hidden well. Tacos are great for this age group. Cooking together is the key. Two nights a week have her plan the menu. Go to kraftfoods.com/cooking with kids. I use it in my classroom all the time.
Way to go with the vegetbles that you have her eating. I think that you are ahead of the game.

1 mom found this helpful

There is an awesome cookbook called "Once a Month Cooking" that can offer you some great ideas for different meal options. It's an intense two days when you are prepping and cooking, but great to know you have dinner ready in the freezer for several weeks afterward.

At 5 my daughter would only eat hot dogs, bologna, american cheese, dry cheerios and green beans. She turned up her nose at anything else I offered. Now that she is 24 she is much more adventurous in her eating so obviously picky eaters don't starve! I didn't and still don't believe that meal time should be a battle. I always require one bite of any food that is new (I'm now feeding grandchildren) and have found that they will eat when they are hungry. You are fortunate that your daughter will eat the veggies that she does and I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just keep offering and encouraging her to try different things and she'll be fine.

1 mom found this helpful

Another idea I haven't seen on here is a veggie quesadilla, very easy to do even in the toaster oven we use spinach, mushrooms and cheese with either wheat or spinach wraps warm in the toaster oven and voilla and you can add tomatoes, onions, salsa etc.

We have also gotten into making soup, doing a whole chicken one night with stuffing and veggies and then making broth by boiling the carcass and using the meat, veggies and either rice or barley in the crockpot to have an easy ready meal.

I hope that helps!

1 mom found this helpful

If you do happen to do spaghetti as someone else mentioned, use the whole grain pasta for better nutrition and you can blend spinach(puree it) and mix it in with the spaghetti sauce...shouldn't even know it's there. (You can do the same with lasagna.)

You can have a veggie night....broccoli, mashed potatoes, and mushrooms or do other mixtures and add a different one to see if she'll attempt to eat it.

One fun and quick dinner that we like and it doesn't matter how many people eat is having tortillas and putting refried beans on it with all the trimmings (cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, salsa, sour cream, black olives, etc.) But if she'll only do beans, well, that's a new veggie and some protein.

Chicken nachos...cook chicken tenderloins (non breaded) and cut up. Then have the chips and shred cheese over the chips and melt in microwave (if you use them), then add the chicken over that with anything else you want to throw on top. You get to eat with your hands, which is fun for some! Chicken quesadillas are another one.

Getting food from Sams and separating the portions or even from the grocery store is a good idea. You can separate lots of meats and just cook you one and her one of whatever with some veggies, but always try to put a new one on the table to see if she'll expand her palette.

I have one son that loves lima beans...we just have to get the right kind. The younger baby ones are much better than the huge ones.

You can cook a roast and then make a stew out of it and divide it into portions. Put V-8 juice or other tomato juice in it with peas, potatoes, green beans, corn, just whatever and make it slightly spicy.

One thing that my 2yo loves is avacado....one of the first foods I would feed an infant. I just make a quick guacamole without the chunks and have it for dipping. I just add some salt, garlic powder, salsa and just mix it up. It's really quick and yummy. Now, I can actually add some cayenne pepper and she'll still eat it. I'm trying to liven up her palette, because mommy loves spicy food! lol

1 mom found this helpful

I use www.myrecipes.com

They have lots of recipes that are kid and adult friendly and most can be frozen if you think you're going to have too much.

I have a four year old too- she's going through a I don't like veggies stage right now- my best luck has been with corn (but only on the cob), carrots with ranch and for some reason, salad. I have found some new recipes on the web site above that I plan on trying this week with her, we'll see!

1 mom found this helpful

I have recipie for Chicken Pot Pie that freezes really well. I make an extra large one one night and then divide it into smaller containers and freeze it for my almost three year old for lunch. If I can't get him to eat anything else, he'll eat this.

3-4 chicken breasts (the ones with the bone and skin make the best broth to use in the recipie, but you can use boneless, skinless, just add some boxed chicken broth)

bag of mixed veggies + a couple of potatoes peeled and diced.

1 can cream of chicken soup (healthy request)
1 can cream of celery soup (you can use cream of mushroom if you don't have celery on hand...there's really not that much of a difference)

2 soup cans reserved chicken broth

Boil your chicken in some salted water. Remove skin and pick off bone. Layer in bottom of 9x13 cassarole. Cook veggies until tender. Mix veggies, soups, and two can of reserved chicken broth. Pour over chicken.

For the topping

Mix 1 1/2 c. self rising flour, 1c. milk, 1 stick or 1/2c. margarine, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Pour over top of veggies.

Bake at 350 til brown and bubbly!


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