Whole Story

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Kids' Best Meals of the Week

By Paige Brady, August 13, 2009  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Paige Brady

Macaroni and Cheese As regulars of this blog know, we have a popular feature called Best Meals of the Week where readers and team members share our culinary creations. In honor of the kids in our families heading back to school - now or soon, depending on your state! - we thought it'd be fun and helpful to share our Kids' Best Meals. We've included a few from team members below, and we would really love to hear what your kids eat for breakfast, pack in their lunchbox or gobble down for dinner after a long day of learning! Since I work with the team that creates recipes for our website, we test a lot of our website recipes at my house. My 6th grade daughter's current faves are Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese and Carnitas (Pork) Tacos. She's been requesting the carnitas tacos and I'll probably make it for the first week of school. The pork is simple and you can pick up prepared pico de gallo and tortillas to save time on this recipe. Lots of leftovers that heat up simply on busy school nights!

Breakfast idea from Dee Dee:

My son is starting 8th grade and is very active with hockey and baseball. Here's his favorite breakfast smoothie:

  • 1 cup 365 organic orange juice
  • 365 organic frozen strawberries (small handful)
  • 1 organic banana
  • Scoop of Vega berry protein (or any other protein powder you like)

Put in the blender for a great morning smoothie! I also have "Perfect Food Bars" available for him to snack on.

Lunch from Ieva:

My 3rd grader, Linnea, likes throwing pots on the wheel and thinking up new robots. Her favorite lunch is: Stonyfield Farm Organic Raspberry yoghurt, a poppyseed bagel toasted and cut into wedges and one or more of the following fruits: mangos, strawberries, raspberries, and/or watermelon. My 6th grader, Kendra, likes writing and exploring the natural world. Her lunch consists of Rudi's Organic Multi-Grain Oat bread, sliced provolone cheese and one or more of the following fruits: strawberries, apricots, plums. Fruit choices, of course, change with what is in season.

Dinner from Ari, 6th grade daughter of Bill:

Nori RollsMy family loves Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls. This simple, delicious meal is very easy to make. It includes fresh vegetables and a mix of tempeh, vegan mayonnaise and chili pepper oil. Each roll is quickly made to each person's preferences, and it is gluten-free, casein-free and vegan. We like to make a lot of rolls and serve with sesame noodles.

Dinner or Lunch from Jeremiah:

My 3 1/2 year old has entered the picky "I don't want anything but carbs and cheese" phase. This after the first 3 years of her life were spent devouring large plates of vegetables, tofu and brown rice. So here is my quick alternative to meet her "needs" (read preference) and still get her full of nutrition. Vegetable Bean Quesadillas "Cheese" Quesadilla 2 365™ Whole Wheat tortillas 3 rice cheese slices (American Flavor) light coating of Organic Earth Balance spread Spread each tortilla with Earth Balance then put the Rice slices inside and gently pan fry on medium heat until both sides are lightly browned. It is a nice alternative to the dairy version and sometimes we sneak in some help with seeds for extra nutrition. The Quesadilla is accompanied by the: Mega-Chocolate Smoothie Milk Shake (The super secret parent tip is that this is CHOCK full of veggies, but don't tell the 3 year old!) 5-6 pieces of organic frozen broccoli 1 cup organic spinach 1 cup 365™ frozen berries 1 cup rice milk 1/2 dropper liquid Stevia (to sweeten) 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Rice Protein (or Hemp or Soy, anything for a little added protein) 1 Tablespoon organic unsweetened cocoa (for chocolatey flavor) Honestly, each time this shake is a little different except for the veggies... Again, whatever it takes to get them in her and she LOVES this special smoothie! Okay, now it's your turn. What are your kids' best meals?

Category: Food & Recipes




Marleen Folgo says ...
I have a 6 year old grandaughter, and she is eating too many processed foods, as both parents work, and she is in first grade, no time at night to fix dinners, please help, how can they fix healthy foods for her? We eat all whole foods hormone free, no antibiotics at my house, I raised her on organic baby food, but now that she is older, it is difficult. I started her on Spectrums Strawberry-Banana Fish oil capsules and she loves them, help her in school. Worried Grandma
08/24/2009 2:05:36 PM CDT
Carol says ...
The Mega-Chocolate Smoothie Shake sounds interesting. Never thought of putting broccolli in a milkshake!
08/18/2009 8:36:17 AM CDT
Karen says ...
My 7-year-old daughter gets stuck in ruts for lunch - she wanted PB&J and baby carrots (no dip) every day for lunch last school year, we use the great whole grain bread and the sugarless Peanut Butter, and she will only eat Cascadian Farm's Concord Grape fruit spread. I could send various things like yogurt, Veggie Booty or pretzels, but she didn't want any fruit. Then she went to a peanut-free summer camp. We got very creative and she enjoyed helping me make a big salad every day with her choice of garden-fresh veggies and herbs, fresh fruits (yea!), and always with Balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Plus she wanted yogurt every day. She generally wants the same thing over and over for months, then we have to figure out what the new phase will be. Probably be back on PB&J for the school year. She loves chicken legs (among many other things, thankfully) for dinner, and a great, fat-free way to cook them is to put a quarter- to a half-inch of water in a pan, bring to a boil, then fit in as many chicken legs as will lie flat, completely cover them each with a dash of hot sauce (not Tobasco - something with some flavor), fresh chopped or sliced garlic, and lots of fresh basil leaves (Any fresh herb or combination will do, as long as it is covered well. If you use herbs with small leaves, you may want to roll the chicken legs in them). Cover, steam for 20-25 minutes, tah-dah! The flavor is amazing! (My dog likes the leftover juice poured over her food.) A friend introduced me to this method of cooking using turkey thighs. It works great on a pork loin - the basil leaves keep in the moisture. Thanks, enjoy!
08/25/2009 8:49:22 AM CDT
ss says ...
finding healthy snacks that are refreshing and quick are always a problem. I now put The Stoney Field Farms Yokid Squeezers in the freezer. They closely resemble "free-z" pops and are quick and refreshing and th ekids can help themselves to them.
08/22/2009 11:37:46 AM CDT
Ann says ...
Add mixed frozen organic veggies into that mac and cheese! My daughter won't have it any other way now.
08/22/2009 12:37:13 PM CDT
Isabelle Grace says ...
My daughters love whole wheat waffles with bananas and berries for breakfast, or a bowl of oatmeal. Lunch is fruit, soy or rice milk (my kids are allergic to dairy) and usually the typical p.b. and j with soy/coconut milk yogurt. Dinner favorites are pasta and veggies, and sometimes chicken or turkey. Last night is a perfect example. For chabbat, we had roast chicken, challah bread (that we bought in dough form, and my daughter braided and baked herself) and pasta with sauteed peppers, onions and fresh tomatoes. Another favorite is "mac and cheese" in which I make a white sauce with chicken stock, then add butternut squash, and sometimes peas. My kids love it!
08/22/2009 1:38:31 PM CDT
Monica says ...
My son is totally in love with Bearitos Low Fat Refried Black Beans so I usually pack a bento box for lunch with the beans as the dip and lots of veggies such as carrots, sugar snap peas, celery, etc to dip. I also include other easy veggies such as cherry tomatoes and mini peppers. He'll all the veggies since he has his favorite refried beans.
08/22/2009 4:30:21 PM CDT
Jeanette says ...
My 7 1/2 year old daughter Hannah likes turkey bacon, organic grape tomatoes, & organic baby spinich with a few crackers...her simple & delicious version of a BLT.
08/22/2009 5:58:29 PM CDT
Anonymous says ...
My daughter loves a smoked salmon salad for lunch. We put shredded smoked salmon, spinach, celery, bell peppers, carrots, and some nuts, but of course you could use any combination of vegetables you have on hand. We just use what's in our refrigerator. We use whatever dressing that we have, homemade or store-bought, but personally she likes a dijon mustard vingarette (dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, squeeze of honey, olive oil). It's very satisfying. Sometimes, using leftover meats, like shrimp, pork, chicken, etc., I toss it with chopped vegetables (cucumber, bell pepper, corn) and a simple vinigarette. I serve it with pita pockets, so she can stuff the salad in herself. You can also top it with little shredded spinach and avocado. Snacks are usually some yogurt, light cheese, jerky, fruit, or celery and peanut butter. My daughter also eats almonds every once in a while.
08/21/2009 9:47:49 PM CDT
Nicole Smith says ...
for breakfast it is usually french toast from trader joe's (because there isn't a whole foods in our neighborhood :( ) with cream cheese and jam, a banana ,and a glass of orange juice. for lunch it is sometimes a cheese sandwich on whole wheat with a romaine salad and carrots on the side (thousand island dressing) and a raspberry lemonade. and for dinner it's either a piece of chicken with mashed potatoes , tri-color pasta with tomato sauce and a piece of beef or pork, or macaroni and cheese with a piece of salmon and always one or two vegggies on the side like a broccoli, string beans, or some fruit before dinner like some grapes or pineapple and a glass of fruit juice ( mixed with half water) dessert is usually a piece of blueberry pie or chocolate cereal with strawberries or raspberries on the side.
08/21/2009 11:29:33 PM CDT
gina says ...
Sushi= easy to make?? Please tell me how!
08/13/2009 7:41:04 AM CDT
Dipa says ...
There is a great book called What?! No Meat?! What to do When Your Kid Becomes a Vegetarian and it has a whole section on packing healthy vegetarian lunches. My kids love the recipes!!
08/23/2009 10:18:45 PM CDT
Evan Thomas says ...
Deliciously simple, last Thursday I had a little leftover salmon and was leaving early Friday morning on a plane so I wanted to use it up. I shredded it, cooked an individual mac n' cheese, and tossed it in with some basil
08/13/2009 12:09:42 PM CDT
Chuck says ...
Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls...how cool that Ari loves Vegan Food....way to go Bill....I'm trying to get my kids on board Veganish...Im Vegan...the wife is Vegetarian.... Cool meal and I'm going to look the recipe up and make the Nori Rolls
08/13/2009 2:01:07 PM CDT
Celeste Ribbins says ...
My 4-yr-old loves Kashi blend with either cubed chicken or fish in a thermos for lunch. She also likes baby carrots or other veggies with a garlic hummus dip instead of ranch dressing.
08/21/2009 10:11:49 AM CDT
abby says ...
For breakfast my kids LOVE pb&j waffle sandwiches. I use whole wheat waffles, organic peanut butter and homemade jam.....delish! We also do the same with leftover pancakes.
08/21/2009 8:47:11 AM CDT
Elizabeth Wahl says ...
My husband is from Chile and so we eat lots of bean dishes. My kids love it when my husband makes lentils with lots of veggies (onion, spinach or chard, carrot, sweet potato) etc. Served over brown rice, this is a vegetarian entree with a complete set of nutrients. I also get my kids to eat salad by letting them dress it. We put in fresh lettuce and tomato from the garden, sometimes carrots or cucumber, then a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of Trader Joe's (sorry!) 21 Seasoning or just salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of low sugar, low sodium rice vinegar. The rice vinegar is just sweet enough for kid palates and they gobble up salad. For dessert we combine o.j., nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt or sorbet and the season's freshest berries and fruit (bananas, peaches, strawberries, blueberries etc.). Another favorite is orange cauliflower steamed then broken apart into smaller pieces, sauteed in Spanish olive oil and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Kids eat it up. Elizabeth Wahl
08/21/2009 11:51:07 AM CDT
andreaz says ...
Hi everyone! My 17-month old goes to day care. When he gets home we give him an organic cheese stick and either milk or juice. The juice we buy is from Whole Foods. It's by Lakewood and it's organic, low in sugar and..... every 4 oz of juice has one serving of veggies in it! It's so wonderful and my son loves it! For another snack he gets organic humus. For dinner, my son loves the burger meat from Whole Foods. I mix in veggies super duper diced... like spinach, arugula, onions, mushrooms and even a bit of cheese. We make 2 oz burgers for him that we lightly dip in ketchup. We did this often this summer, and he enjoyed the juicy, grilled flavor of this micro burger. (no bun) This works with Turkey burgers as well!
08/21/2009 8:58:39 AM CDT
Gigi Francoise says ...
My kids are both gluten free. They love to eat waffles and pancakes for breakfast. Since the gluten free frozen versions have soy and sugar in them I decided to make my own waffles on Sunday morning and freeze the extra. My favorite gluten free pancake/waffle mix in a buckwheat-flax one that Whole Foods carries by The Pure Pantry. I make the recipe with one mashed banana and use rice milk and egg replacer. They are fabulous!!! For school lunches I use the waffles to make almond butter and jelly waffle-wiches! The kids love these as well. The other thing I like to make is "healthy" bars and cookies for their lunch boxes. Here is a recipe for Gluten Free Apple Cranberry Crumble Bars: 3 c. dried apples 3/4 c dried cranberries 1 3/4 c. apple juice 3/4 plus 2 T. light brown sugar 1 t. cinnamon 2 cuts gluten free oats 1 1/2 cups plus 1 T. gluten free whole grain flour blend (I use Buckwheat-flax baking mix by The Pure Pantry) 1 cup coconut oil Butter 9x13 baking dish. Preheat oven to 375. Simmer apples and cranverries in apple joice in covered saucepan for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 T. liquid. Let cool. Coarsely chop fruit. Combine 2 T brown sugar, 1 T. gf baking mix, 1/4 t. cinnamon, and reserved liquid in small bowl. In large bowl combine oats, flour, remaining sugar and remaining cinnamon. Cut in coconut oil. Press 1/2 of the oat mixute into bottom of prepared pan. Spread fruit filling over top leave 1/4 inch boarder. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture over top. Sprinkle top with sugar, cinnamon mixture. Bake 35 minutes. Cut into bars.
08/21/2009 9:07:14 AM CDT
nicole ray, aka austin frugal foodie says ...
The easiest lunch I make for my kindergartner is to take a local, organic whole wheat tortilla, sprinkle it with local cheese, warm it in the toaster oven and then roll it up with 365 organic seasoned beans (spicy black bean is our favorite) and local organic rice. I can accomplish this taco while holding the baby! It's good for the planet, good for my kid and good to eat.
08/21/2009 9:11:45 AM CDT
Natalie says ...
hi this is natalie i am 51 yrs old and my son is 14 yrs old and my daughter is 12 yrs old and we need to be good food healthy we are over weight we did easy but need your help etc thanks natalie
08/21/2009 1:30:53 PM CDT
stephanie says ...
my 3-year old loves: *rice and beans *pb & honey sandwiches *mashed sweet potato pancakes (infuse with shredded rice cheese, chopped kale, and garlic) *pizza fondue (pizza sauce, veggies & veggie crumbles as the dip...cubes of italian bread and rice mozzarella cheese to dip) *black bean and corn soup *ABC rainbow pasta salad (with chickpeas, red, green, yellow, and orange peppers, black olives, and italian dressing) *quinoa (or brown rice) with chickpeas, raisins, shredded carrots *veggie lo mein (made with WW spaghetti noodles) *pb & banana tortilla *oatmeal with blueberries, honey, pecans, and raisins *southwestern veggie "chicken" salad on WW pitas (add ranch dressing, tofu mayo, and chili powder to shredded or cubed veggie chicken) *vegan "beef" wellingtons (from Vegan Lunchbox book) *sweet-n-sour tofu, carrots, and green peppers with brown rice
08/21/2009 1:45:35 PM CDT
Heidi says ...
We have a garden that my girls love to help out with. They're 6 and 4. They both beg to be allowed to play in the garden and eat as many tomatoes as they want. I let them!! They also are the offical harvesters of the family. I send them out at dinner time and ask them to pick ingredients for a salad. I don't tell them what to pick. They always come in with some swiss chard leaves, some kale leaves, tomatoes, basil and whatever peppers are ripe.
08/21/2009 5:11:35 PM CDT
Marjie says ...
As a special back to school breakfast this week, I made peanut butter pizza breakfast bagels with my children, ages 5 and 3. They loved them. We will definitely be making them again. Ingredients: mini whole wheat bagels, organic peanut butter (whenever I open a new container of peanut butter, or almond butter, I pour out the oil and replace it with 365 organic Flax Oil), cinnamon and pure vanilla extract to taste, organic raisins and chopped apples and blueberries. Directions: Mix cinnamon and pure vanilla extract into peanut butter. Spread peanut butter onto bagels. Let children top with assorted fruit, in our case, raisins, apples, and blueberries. Bananas would also be very tasty, but were out when we made them.
08/21/2009 6:28:36 PM CDT
Suzanne says ...
I learned this pasta dish in Catania, Sicily (Italy) and it is a great lower-fat alternative to Mac and Cheese. It can also be gluten free depending on the pasta you use. One package TInkayada Brown Rice Pasta -- spirals or penne. While the pasta is boiling in salted water on the stove, get a large mixing bowl and add: the grated rind of one lemon the juice of one half lemon (squeeze juice through the grater to filter seeds out)You can add more juice if you like it really lemony. One good-sized blob of mayonnaise or Vegenaise...I don't recommend fat free mayo for this recipe, but reduced fat can be ok. (Maybe a half cup or a little more if you like it creamier). One can (or two) of drained, salted Tongol Tuna. Just mix this all together in the bowl lightly, so it makes a creamy, chunky Tuna sauce. Just before the pasta is done, add 1/2-1 cup of frozen baby peas to the water to thaw the peas and heat them through. Drain the pasta and peas in colander. No need to rinse, just give it a good shake to get all the excess water out. When the pasta is well drained, but still steaming HOT, pour it over the Mayo mixture in the bowl and toss. Serve immediately. and the adults can add some cayenne or black pepper to their serving. This is a lemony, savory, delicious dish. I have served it to many kids and they love it... Enjoy!
08/21/2009 7:59:40 PM CDT