Creamy Chicken Leftovers Makes Lunch

And baby makes three. 3 kids to feed, that is. With the boys being in preschool 2 days per week now, I really enjoy our lunches at home. They seem to be so much easier for me than packing a lunch to go. Maybe it’s because I often just warm up leftovers and cut up some fruit. Easy! And, Anna just loves to watch her brothers eat and they think it’s so fun that she gets to eat with them now.

Here’s a sample of my lunch for 3 this week. The boys had creamy chicken and black beans from the freezer, a leftover sweet potato from dinner the previous night and kiwi. Anna had porridge and sweet potato.

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Creamy Chicken and Black Beans

in the slow cooker or crock pot

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 lb uncooked frozen boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained (or dried beans soaked overnight and cooked)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes OR 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 16 oz jar salsa
  • 8 oz whole fat cream cheese

DIRECTIONS

  • Put frozen chicken breasts in crock pot, cover with black beans, tomatoes and salsa.
  • Cook on high 4-5 hours or until chicken is cooked.
  • Place block of cream cheese on top. Cook for an additional 30 minutes. Stir to incorporate cream cheese into sauce. The stirring
  • should cause the chicken to shred.

SERVING IDEAS

  • Serve with brown rice and guacamole.
  • Roll in tortillas and add your sides of choice.
  • Put a serving on top of salad greens and add any salsa, sour cream, or guacamole.
  • Put on a tortilla and make into a quesadilla.
  • This is a great recipe to freeze. I just store in serving size containers that I know I want to use for lunches.

Amounts of Food for Babies & Toddlers

How much food should I be feeding my baby? How many calories does my toddler need? Is he eating too much fruit? Should I be preparing more protein? It’s so easy to question everything from milk intake to bowel movements. Sometimes I think we might be just a little too close to the subject. I’ve had times where I’ve needed to just step back and make sure I’m seeing the forest for the trees.

I discovered the following website http://www.mypyramid.gov recently. This link shows the food pyramid specific to your child’s age and weight.  You can enter age and activity level for your child and it will calculate  the exact number of daily calories needed.  Oh my! I consider myself to be fairly Type A personality and this is too much for me! It seems to me that if you eat real food to fullness and true satisfaction, then things will fall in place. I think kids have this ability built into their little bodies. And, remember, they are growing. Things will ebb and flow. It is my job to present my children with healthy food options and encourage them to try things.

This government site goes so far as to provide a tracker to keep a tally of the daily requirements by grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans. I seriously think I need to stay far, far away from this as it could easily become obsessive for no good reason at all!

I’ve shared some of my favorite meals in the past, but here’s another great place to find Toddler Meals. My philosophy is to share good food with my children and maybe we there will be a little chef in the making.

What do you think of the Super Tracker?

How Many Meals Per Day?

There are many families like to eat smaller meals throughout the day and many who stick to a strictly 3 meals per day rule. I am a big believer in beginning with your young children the way you envision things for them and your family in the future. Personally, I don’t want my day to revolve around constant eating, so I don’t and we eat 3 meals with usually 1 snack, but I don’t think how many is what is important. I think the what, where, and how is more important.

WHAT
I would just make sure that all meals and snacks are healthy. I think many parents and kids take the word “snack” to mean cookie, cracker, cheese, fruit, or packaged goodies. There is nothing that says a snack can’t be carrot sticks and water or granola or yogurt. I’m not saying that fruit, crackers, or granola bars are bad or that we don’t buy and enjoy those as well, but my boys definitely don’t think a snack means we’re opening up a package of fruit chewies every day.

WHERE
I require all food and drink to be consumed in the kitchen. A cup can be on the counter or in the refrigerator with water when needed during the day. But, all food is eaten in a chair at a table or on the stool at the counter. This includes our outside family table or the kids’ picnic table. I think this is very important. Now, there are times like bad-timed doctor appointments or a road trip where we might need to take a snack with us, but this is the exception and not the norm. Oh, and we had a family Super Bowl party with food in front of the tv the other night. This by far an exception to the rule. Eating in front of the tv is definitely not allowed around here and definitely something I think contributes to laziness, obesity, and inappropriate views of food.

HOW
Basically, I want my kids to be grateful for food and eat what they are given. At almost 3, they still don’t get a choice in what they are served. They use appropriate table manners. They thank the one who has prepared or served them. They help clean up.