16 answers

What Do Your Kids Really Eat for Dinner??

I'm not looking for new recipies or anything, I just really want to know what other families actually feed their kids. I have 2 preschoolers and we eat out once a week. Is that about normal?? I'm trying to cook relatively healthy meals and while my kids would love Mac and Cheese every night of the week, I do insist that they eat family meals. But it seems like i only have about 4 staple meals that i'm serving over and over. The cookbooks and recipe sites make it seem like i should be cooking these crazy meal and never repeat them once during the month. I just want to know what regular families actually serve (and get your families to eat) during a 2 week period.

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Featured Answers

i serve chicken 2 or 3 times at home.

We have easy meals, my 15 and 12 year old help cook.

Chicken usually whole baked, rice and vegetables

london broil if on sale

pork if on sale.

go by what's on sale usually and yes repeat lots.

Kids make italian if i'm not gonna be home, can's or meatballs, spaghetti.

Mac n Cheese once a week.

What i have done though from when they are little is they eat vegetables while rest of dinner cooking. Probably why each kid eats at least a small can of vegetables a day, though only peas, carrots, green beans and corn I try to rotate as much as possible.

More Answers

i serve chicken 2 or 3 times at home.

We have easy meals, my 15 and 12 year old help cook.

Chicken usually whole baked, rice and vegetables

london broil if on sale

pork if on sale.

go by what's on sale usually and yes repeat lots.

Kids make italian if i'm not gonna be home, can's or meatballs, spaghetti.

Mac n Cheese once a week.

What i have done though from when they are little is they eat vegetables while rest of dinner cooking. Probably why each kid eats at least a small can of vegetables a day, though only peas, carrots, green beans and corn I try to rotate as much as possible.

Hi Kristi! My daughter is a bit younger (15 months)but we try to eat a variety of things. For dinners we usually have a veggie or two (broccoli, cauliflower, b-sprouts, peppers, peas, and corn) are the most popular, for carbs we usually have rice, pasta, or potatoes (potatoes are good because you can make them in many ways... mashed, baked, seasoned in little squares with evoo in a pan/oven, or even home-made fries) and we also do sweet potatoes. We eat chicken a lot (tenderloins, split, and whole chickens are very easy) but also use the lean ground turkey, sausage, and occasionally steak or ground beef. We have a lot of salads and fruit. During the day we eat more fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese, left-overs, bagels, cereals, soups, waffles, grilled cheese, and frozen veggies because they are very easy to heat up). Rachael Ray has a lot of easy recipes that she makes on her show and you can look up on her web-site. She has a section for family favorites and also 30-minute meals. Also cooks.com and the food network are good for getting ideas, you can just type in the ingredients you have. We also eat out about once a week, sometimes one dinner and one breakfast/lunch too. I think that is fine and it gives everyone a break from cooking and cleaning up.

we eat a lot of repeats. We have chicken at least once a week, meat loaf once every two weeks, steak if it's on sale, pork chops, spegetti, something with ground meat, and sometimes breakfast for dinner. As for veggies, potatoes and corn just about all of the time, fresh carrots, fresh broccoli, canned grean beans and peas, and of course salads. Mac and cheese maybe every two weeks, a roast every two weeks, I do a beef stew once every two weeks. My husband and I like to try and change it up a bit so at least once a month we try a new recipe. Most weeks though our menu really is determined by cost. We do eat out one to two nights a week. Usually Friday and Saturday. Hope this helps.

I cook a variation of baked or grilled boneless skinless chicken breast, salmon or cod, or an occasional turkey or chicken sausage, served with one or two vegetables as sides typically steamed with a little butter on them or a baked sweet potato or squash.

I use premade marinades and sauces and just throw the meat/fish in the oven still frozen with a little olive oil and marinade over it while the veggies are cooking. I vary the presentation a little, but not much. It is essentially the same 5 or 6 meals over and over again, but on weekends I put the effort into making something special. For a treat I buy the McCain's potatoes and pop them in the oven as well.

We try to avoid carbs unless they are whole and multigrain, and the potatoes and vegetables supply plenty of fiber. I stopped cooking for the family and started cooking for myself a few months ago. There was minor opposition at first, but they have all adjusted just fine. As a result for me, I didn't gain more than 12 lbs for this pregnancy and after giving birth to my second child a month ago, I have already lost 15 lbs of the weight I gained from my first pregnancy. Woo hoo!!

I would not feel bad about repeating--as long as the food is healthy and your kids like it, you should feel good about that!! My 2-year old is a very picky eater, I have spent hours making new recipes that I hope he would like only to be disappointed. So now I make easy dinners with microwavable Steamfresh brand veggies (corn, peas, greenbeans-I have to add a some butter or no go). I make turkey burgers, pizza, spaghetti, chicken nuggets, rice and beans, pasta salads mixes--Target has some great pasta salad mixes. Tonight he refused to eat his dinner, so he ended up eating Corn Flakes..at least he ate something I guess. The pediatrician says not to force the food--just give choices. We eat out at least once or twice a week for dinner and a few more times for lunch (Wendy, Brueggers, etc). He always gets his Flintstone vitamin, lots of raisans and we try to get him to eat as much fruit as possible. I all honesty, I don't think it is necessary to make elaborate meals and I still don't have one recipe book that really works for us unfortunately. Don't stress--sounds like you are doing a great job. Good luck to you.

Hi Kristi, I have two picky eaters and yes we seem to eat the same thing too all the time, but my one is getting better so there is hope. I find these items go over the best.
Macaroni and meatballs, chicken cutlet, ham steak with pineapple, pork tenderloin cooked either with teriki or made candy style, they love that and you can do it with chicken too. liverwirst only oscar mayer and american cheese. Veggies, candy carrots, broccoli, frozen peas. They also love mashed potatoes and butter noodles with cheese. When we go out it is usually cheeseburgers, chicken fingers and pasta. I also do cut up cucumbers and black olives and lots of fruit. Hope this helps you out if you want any to know more about the candy chicken let me know. R.

My kids are 18 and 20, so they aren't home much anymore. But I still cook everyday for whoever is here.

I have to say that I love to cook. That's not to say that I like cooking all the time! But I probably have maybe 10 regular meal menus that float in and out of my cooking routine. Most of these are recipes that were passed down through the generations of my family. I may only make one of those 10 traditional meals every month or so, and any other day I'm making up what's for dinner based on what I have on hand. I used to make up menus and then shopped for ingredients, but that got to be pricey, especially in the early years when money was particularly tight. Well grocery bills are climbing again, and fast! I'm glad I just shop for food, not meals. It does save money. I cook about 95% of my food from scratch, so I shop for ingredients not meals, and I generally just buy what's on sale. So if spinach is on sale, then that will be on the menu sometime this week. When I put it in the cart, I may have no idea what I'll do with it, but if it's fresh and affordable, I figure out a way to use it. I do the same with meat and nearly everything else we eat. I just keep a variety of veggies and meats in the house, and staples and basic menu-builders like flour, pasta, potatoes, cereal, rice, etc. Usually I have a rough idea what I'll cook a day or two ahead. Tonight, I know that I have lots of veggies, pasta and not a lot of time. I'll throw it all together and make something quick with what's on hand. I have oranges that were on sale, and I'm going to just have those for dessert. I've always cooked that way... sort of on the fly, and I've kept a pretty well-rounded selection of recipe-builders on hand. I found that menu planning for a week just sort of boxed me in. Cooking is a creative outlet for me, so I know that I'm not like most people. Because I like to cook, I often don't make the same dish EXACTLY the same way twice. My husband says that dinner is always an adventure. I like to read recipes, but I don't really follow them. LOL I just sort of see the "bones" of the recipe, the ingredients, the method, and then I go to it and see what I come up with. My kids have always been good eaters, big appetites, and they'll try anything. We've never had any picky eater issues here, and I think a lot of that is because I raised them in my kitchen the way my mom and grandmothers raised me. They like food, they are good cooks, they think cooking is fun.

Yes, sometimes cooking is a plain old chore. Then we order out, or we take something out of the freezer and heat it up. But mostly, we eat what's available, what's fresh, and what's affordable.

I make whatever I have handy. I work 40 hours a week and have 3 kids. Sometimes after everyone is in bed for the night, that's when I start cooking. I break out the crock pot and set it at a low temperature and throw in all the fixin's. Last night I made beef stew. I threw some stewing beef in the pot with about 2 cups of water and then raided the pantry for whatever canned veggies I had on stock. A little salt and pepper. Got up in the morning and turned it off, let it cool down, and through it in the fridge. When I get home from work, I'll throw it back on high for about an hour and dinner is served. One of my family's favorite crock pot recipes is chicken breast with mushroom soup. That's it. I throw it in the crock pot and go to sleep. Sometimes we just have a soup and sandwich night to break things up a bit. Peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese with soup. Sometimes we have breakfast night. Pancakes, bacon, eggs, sausage. Also, I have cook books from Taste of Home. They have some really great recipes. Look on the packages your products come from.....you'd be surprised what great recipes you can find there too! Have fun!

My kids are 1 and 4. The little one will still eat just about anything. The older child has gotten pickier. We usually eat out 2-4 times a week for dinner

For dinners at home, pasta with meatballs is enjoyed by all. Sometimes the 4 year old will make separate piles with pasta, sauce and parma. cheese and dip the pasta in the sauce and cheese. Both kids will eat ham steak pretty well, but my husband doesn't always care for it. The 4 year old will eat tilapia baked with bread crumbs if she helps to make it and we do a piece for her without mustard on it. She likes fish sticks and fried fish (with ketchup, of course). So sometimes I will make the kids these when we are having something I know she won't eat or that is too spicy for them. Also, we always have kid's frozen dinners and single serving frozen cheese pizzas on hand. Baked chicken, meatloaf, tacos. Crockpot beef or chicken with mushrooms in cream of mushroom soup sauce served over noodles. The 4 year old usually has to be coerced (sp?) to eat a little bit of meat but loves the noodles with parma. cheese.

Side dishes are usually instant mashed potatoes, corn, frozen veggies, although peas and peas and carrots mix are the only ones that the kids are guaranteed to eat. I convinced the 4 year old to eat cooked broccoli the other day by giving her ranch dressing to dip in. I usually have canned fruit or fruit cocktail on hand and serve as a side dish regularly (pretty lame, but it is healthy, easy and kids will always eat). Sometimes I will set out applesauce or yogurt just for the 4 year old if I am worried that she won't eat enough healthy things from the family food.

Somehow we make it through the week.

I guess I'm lucky because I have a five year old who will eat ANYTHING! I mean anything. Here's his list of food that he will NOTeat: Big Red gum. So I make whatever we want & he'll always eat it. I make chicken tenderloins (BBQ, marintaed, grilled), Shish kebabs on the grill, steak, meatballs, pasta, hot sausage, pulled pork w/ BBQ sauce in the slow cooker, burgers, hot dogs, soup, BLTs, pork chops, tacos, pork tenderloins. I love the Bird's Eye Steam Fresh veggies & rice (white & brown) and we usually have a starch, veggie & salad with our meal. Actually, my husband is a pickier eater than my son! I think if you are eating out once per week you're doing pretty good. That's about what we do--some weeks more, some weeks, not al all.

Hi Kristi

We have a lot of spaghetti and chicken. I'm not much of a cook and we also eat out probably once a week. My son will only eat chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and spaghetti (sometimes) for dinner. Nothing else, he is a very very picky eater. My daughter who is 1 will eat asolutely anything I put in front of her. That being said, I try to give them a fruit or vegetable with every meal. Banana's for breakfast almost everyday! My son won't eat vegetables, at all, but I can sometimes get him to eat fruit (other than a banana for breakfast.) I'm thinking that sitting together is more important than how often it is spaghetti on the plate. I am sure you are doing just fine. Working FT and having to take care of everything else is difficult. Enjoy your time with them!

My kids are 2 1/2 and 3 1/2. Here are some foods we eat often that they like -

meats - chicken nuggets, bbq chicken, hamburger, steak, pork roast, ham, bologna, meatloaf, meatballs, roast beef, breakfast sausage

veggies - corn, peas, green beans, wax beans, carrots, zucchini, squash, sometimes cucumber, lettuce, broccoli

fruit - apples, peaches, pears, watermelon, strawberries, oranges, grapes, pineapple, raisins, prunes

dairy - milk, yogurt, cheese

also - spaghetti, pizza, chicken noodle soup, beef veggie soup, hoagies, french toast, pancakes

Hope this helps.

Great question....I'm always asking others the same thing.

Try chicken and broccoli over pasta (w/ a lil garlic butter and parm cheese)...yum and easy if you buy a big bag of frozen broccoli and just use what you need each night.

My 2yr old eats a lot of Campbells Beef Vegetable Barley soup when in a pinch. I figure it has lots of veggies, potatoes, meat and barley so it's a meal!

Sun-we eat at my MIL's
Mon- Pork chop, mashed potato, broccoli
Tue- chicken breast, cauliflower, green beans
Wed- Steak or Lamb, salad, red roasted potato
Thur- Pancakes, bacon or sausage, fruit salad
Fri- order from Armstrong's
Sat- Eat at the mall or Chick fil a
Seriously, Its really that repetitive. My husband and I don't agree on much so that about the best menu I have worked out that we can agree on. I lucked out with my kids, they will eat anything. We also eat between 5:15-5:45 every night.

Last night my daughter ate ketchup and mandarin oranges! :)

I have a really, really picky eater, so it always a struggle. I just try to do the best I can and not stress about it.

I have an awesome recipe that I will share with everyone. I probably make it once a week, with no complaints:

Easy Italian Chicken
preheat oven to 350 degrees, use a glass pyrex pan and spray bottom w/ Pam
~ chicken breast (I cut them in half so they are not as thick)
~ equal parts italian bread crumbs and parmesan cheese mixed in a shallow bowl (I use about 1/3 cup of each for 4 pieces of chicken)
~ 1 egg scrambled in a shallow bowl

dip the chicken in the egg and then cover in the breadcrumb mixture, put in the glass pan

bake uncovered for 30- 35 min and turn pieces over when there's about 5-7 minutes remaining.

we use leftovers the next day on top of a salad or make wraps. They come out kind of like chicken fingers, but they are so much better!


I agree with Lori S fly by the seat of your pants when it comes to meals. Kids like hotdogs and beans. My mother when we were small used to make what she called poor mans chilli she would take ground meat or turkey and cook it up drain well mix it with some pork and beans and serve it over mashed potatoes. we loved it I served it to my children when they were young and they loved it (still do) as much as I did. I found that one pot meals are the best for you to make and most of the time the kids like them. I also used to use left overs and make soup from them my kids enjoyed them also. another quick and easy dish is mock sheppards pie gound meat (turkey or beef) cook up the meat in a big skillet drain well. I pat the meat with a paper towel to make sure I get as much grease off as possible. Add cream of mushroom soup and frozen mixed veggies, a half soup can of milk, salt and pepper to taste, when it is all warmed up top with mashed potatoes and serve. another of my kids favorite was mac & cheese with ground meat mixed in.. Apple sauce is always agood side dish. fish sticks and oven baked french fries. when I make meat loaf instead of one big loaf I make individual ones the kids think they are getting there very own but the real secret is that they dont take nearly as long to cook.(my mother used to put hard boiled eggs in the middle of her big meat loaf so that when you sliced it you got a slice of egg also). Corn dogs is something I hate but my kids liked. Try to serve plenty of veggies any wayyou can. Well Good Luck be creative and have fun.

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