Children enjoying food prep

Family Meals: Have Fun Feeding the Kids

Ashley Koff, RD
This content originally appeared on 

For most parents, the past few weeks have been a blur of last-minute shopping trips for school supplies and clothes for kids returning to class. Now it's back to making breakfasts, school lunches and dinners for a busy family. Follow this list to get you and your family ready for the school year, bite by bite.

Ways to Keep Kids Eating Happily

  1. Get Them Involved in Cooking

    Tired of being a short-order cook? Then stop! You have one job and that's to ensure that quality ingredients are in the house. Grab toppings like pesto, tomato sauce, organic chicken sausage, organic tofu crumbles, organic dairy-free cheese, etc., and put them all out with pizza dough and everyone gets to make it their way. Have one vegan child and the other a meat or cheese lover? No, you don't make three different pizzas; they make their own. The best news? Not just the time and energy you save, but the fact that they are more likely to "like" it (and eat it) when they make it. Win, WIN!

  2. Eat Simple, Natural Foods

    Don't Learn a New Language. Today's food product packages can require learning a whole new language, with new ingredients and marketing phrases popping up by the hundreds. Does that mean you have to learn a whole new language to know what "food" your family should eat? NO! The stuff the body recognizes easily--food--is still called by the same name it always has had, or at least it should be. So your only job is to stock the cupboards, fridge and freezer with food--not go back to school to become a food scientist capable of deciphering a new "food" language.

  3. Repurpose Leftovers

    When it comes to school lunches, pack quality leftovers that they WILL want to eat again. Remember the ravioli from last night? Well, if you send it as is the next day, it might get frowned upon (read: traded or ignored); after all, who wants the same thing twice? BUT, if you remake it into something new--pasta salad with chicken sausage cubes and a vinaigrette dressing--they're bound to think you stayed up all night making a new meal (no need to let them know how much you enjoyed your hot bath or catching up with your friends on Facebook).

  4. Freeze Perishable Produce

    We often forget about the freezer, but when summer's fresh bounty is gone, as is our spare time, the best place to ensure you have quality food options is in the freezer, where frozen organic fruits, vegetables, whole-grain pizza crusts, nuts, seeds and spices can always be readily available.