Healthy (and Kid-Friendly) Meal Planning Tips

By Hailey Crean /

Healthy (and Kid-Friendly) Meal Planning Tips for the New Year

As a mom of two young kids and a Registered Dietitian, I am always looking for healthy recipes that don’t take all afternoon to make, and that the kids will actually eat.

My resolution this year: Keep it simple  

So, trying to channel this mantra, I found myself standing in the kitchen one Saturday morning, both kids belly up to the kitchen counter waiting for breakfast. One glance over to the overripe fruit bowl and we had our plan.

Bananas are a staple in my son’s lunches or for snacks so I try to keep us stocked, but occasionally I will misjudge our banana-needs and we will end up with a few well beyond their eating prime. Perfect for banana muffins!  As bananas ripen some of the natural starches are converted to fructose and glucose which make them taste especially sweet. Plus they are a great way to maintain moistness in baked goods without adding extra fat. Don’t worry if you end up with overripe bananas before you are ready to bake, just peel and throw in the freezer for later.

In this recipe, I substituted garbanzo bean flour for traditional all-purpose white flour. The swap doubled the protein in white flour and added 6 grams of fiber! The kids had fun turning on and off the mixer and spooning the batter into the muffin tins.

Getting kids cooking in the kitchen

Baking with the kids

Banana -Bean Muffins

Banana Bean Muffins

2 ½ cups garbanzo bean flour
½ cup vegetable oil
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
½ cup milk
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract

  1. Instructions:
    Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl mix bananas (mashed), sugar, milk, eggs, oil and vanilla extract.
  3. Next mix the dry into the wet until combined but be careful not to over-mix.
  4. Spoon batter into pre-lined muffin tins and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
  5. Below are a few more simple tips I plan to live by when meal planning for the kids this year.

How to Eat Healthier

1. Involve your little ones in the prep. They will be more likely to eat it if they had a part in making it. And if your kids can be as picky as mine, that makes it worth the mess!

Making Banana Bean Muffins with the kids

2. Use what you have, when possible, and stock up when you can. I’m particularly drawn to recipes that don’t have me running out for additional trips to the grocery store.  Whole grain flour will keep in an airtight container for up to 6 months. I also like to keep frozen berries, canned beans and nuts on hand for a little nutritional boost to recipes!

3. Pump up the fiber- many of us tend to fall short in this area and it can be especially challenging with little ones who prefer (or rather, insist on) fruits and veggies without the skins, white pasta, etc.  Try experimenting with whole grains instead of white pasta and rice, add pureed beans to a few good recipes or offer fresh berries as a side to kids meals. Raspberries have 4 grams of fiber per half cup!

4. Make a little extra and freeze for later! You’ll be glad you did on those busy mornings when you’re trying to get out of the house.


About the Author Hailey Crean

About the Author

I’m Hailey, a Boston area Registered Dietitian, mom of two and wife. I am passionate about the power of food, from what it can do to prevent and treat disease to how it can bring people together. I have a diverse clinical background with over 10 years of experience dedicated to helping individuals live healthier lives. No matter where you are on your journey my goal is to provide education and support while helping you set gradual and sustainable lifestyle changes that put you on the path to better health.

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