Preschooler eats healthy meal in classroom

Balanced Menus: A Week of Nutritious Meals at Primrose

It’s no secret – establishing healthy eating habits in children is often easier said than done. As parents, we want to encourage our kids to try an assortment of nutritious meals with different textures and flavors, while also avoiding battles over food.

March is National Nutrition Month®,so it’s the perfect time to take inspiration from the Balanced Menus nutrition program at Primrose Schools. The program makes sure students have access to a variety of foods that contribute to healthy growth and reduced obesity risk.

Our Balanced Menus are designed to introduce children to diverse foods while fostering positive, lifelong nutrition habits. Plus, the nutritious meals for preschoolers can help make parents’ lives easier, since they serve as quick inspiration for healthy meals and snacks that they can serve their little ones at home.

Here are a few facts about Balanced Menus:

  • It nurtures healthy eaters. The Balanced Menus program follows child feeding expert Ellyn Sater’s Division of Responsibility where “adults provide and children decide what and how much to eat.” This feeding methodology helps children become “competent eaters,” listening to their bodies’ hunger and fullness cues as well as being more relaxed while eating.
  • Meals are served family style. Children can listen more closely to their own hunger cues through family-style meals in preschool. Plus, it reinforces the Division of Responsibility.
  • Veggies are organized into groups. A variety of veggies from all the vegetable sub-groups are offered each week. The five sub-groups are arranged by nutrient content: dark green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, starchy vegetables, beans and peas, and other vegetables. Check out our veggie recipes for inspiration!
  • Seafood is included once per week. Balanced Menus provides half of a child’s recommended weekly seafood intake, helping your little one consume healthy omega-3 fats and other nutrients.
  • Fruit and vegetables are offered throughout the day. For Primrose schools that serve breakfast, fruit is offered every day. A fruit and vegetable are both offered at lunch. At least one daily snack includes either a fruit or vegetable.  
  • Most grains offered are whole grain.Whole grains are a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals that help reduce disease risk.

Want to try Balanced Menus at home for your children? Here are some sample menus to get you started!

Monday

Breakfast Example:

Whole Grain Cereal and Blueberries

Lunch/Dinner Example:

Bean & Cheese Quesadilla, Broccoli & Corn, Fresh Fruit

Snack Example:

Egg Salad with Pita Bread

Tuesday

Breakfast Example:

Scrambled Egg, Whole Grain Biscuit and Fruit Cup

Lunch/Dinner Example:

Chicken Pasta Bake, Green Beans, Mandarin Oranges

Snack Example:

Baby Carrots and Hummus

Wednesday

Breakfast Example:

Whole Wheat Bagel with Low Fat Cream Cheese and Fruit Spread, Mandarin Oranges

Lunch/Dinner Example:

Meatloaf, Whole Grain Roll, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Sliced Pears

Snack Example:

String Cheese and Whole Wheat Crackers

Thursday

Breakfast Example:

Oatmeal with Diced Apples

Lunch/Dinner Example:

Chicken Teriyaki and Brown Rice, Sugar Snap Peas, Orange Slices

Snack Example:

Fruit Smoothie with Graham Crackers

Friday

Breakfast Example:

Whole Grain Waffles and Strawberries

Lunch/Dinner Example:

Tuna Melt, Garbanzo Bean Salad, Apricots

Snack Example:

Apple Slices with Sunbutter

For more nutrition inspiration, check out our recipes for breakfasts, sides and snacks!