Go, Grow, Glow Foods: A Budget-Friendly, Healthy Meal Plan for Kids

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It’s been taught at school for years: good food fuels growing bodies, nourishing the cells and clearing the mind. But adopting a healthy diet is easier said than done, especially with younger kids. What’s a mom to do? The answer is quite simple. Go back to basics with Go, Grow, Glow foods.

Instead of overwhelming your kitchen duties with unfamiliar recipes and gimmicky nutrition hacks, focusing on the three Gs lets you zero in on three main food groups. Once you learn them by heart, choosing and making meals that tick all the nutritional boxes will be a breeze. Here’s everything you need to know about this threefold concept—including a sample meal plan to get you started!

What Are “Go, Grow, Glow Foods”?

A healthy diet at any age is all about balance. The concept of “Go, Grow, Glow” simplifies this by breaking up foods into three important groups.

Go foods

An abundant spread of uncooked grains, noodles, bread slices, and cereals

What they are: Carbohydrates and starchy ingredients, such as rice, bread, pasta, potatoes, and cereal

What they do: Provide energy for the body and mind

Go foods help energize active muscles and fuel developing minds. When kids don’t eat enough of this food group, they get tired quicker and may lose concentration throughout the day. For this reason, go foods are best served during breakfast for a filling start to a busy day.

Grow foods

A spread of meats, dairy, and nuts around a chalkboard outline of a flexed arm

What they are: Proteins and dairy, such as meats and fish, eggs, nuts, cheese, mayonnaise, beans, and milk

What they do: Build stronger muscles, teeth, and bones

Grow foods are the building blocks for healthy, growing bodies. They’re rich in protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients that help kids grow bigger and taller as they age. They’re also high in calories, which keep the stomach feeling full and satisfied longer. When kids don’t eat enough grow foods, they can miss out on physical growth spurts and feel hungry faster.

Glow foods

A colorful spread of red, yellow, orange, and green fruits and vegetables

What they are: All kinds of produce, including vegetables and fruits

What they do: Fortify the immune system and nourish hair, skin, and nails

Glow foods keep sickness at bay by strengthening the immune system. They’re also loaded with vitamins and minerals that keep the skin, hair, and nails looking healthy. The best glow foods are colorful—think leafy greens, bright bell peppers, purple yams, and fruits in every color. When kids don’t consume enough glow foods, they can be more susceptible to viruses and bugs. So, remember: eat the rainbow!

A Meal Plan with Go, Grow, Glow Foods

A young boy smiles while holding up lettuce from a salad

Take the guesswork out of your kids’ diets by designing a meal plan based on the three groups. It doesn’t need to be complex. As long as you include a variety of the three main ingredient types—carbs, proteins, and produce—throughout the day, you’re all set.

To kick-start your kids’ journey to healthier eating, here’s a sample one-week meal plan using easy, flavorful recipes. Go ahead and mix and match these go, grow, glow foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Monday

Breakfast (Go): Best Creamy Pinoy Spaghetti

Lunch (Grow): Spicy Buffalo Wings with Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing

Dinner (Glow): Roast Vegetable Salad

Tuesday

Breakfast (Go and Grow): Meaty Clubhouse Sandwich

Lunch (Grow): Quick Pinoy Bistek

Dinner (Glow and Go): Creamy Macaroni Salad

Wednesday

Breakfast (Go): Spaghetti Carbonara

Lunch (Grow): Lumpiang Shanghai with rice

Dinner (Grow and Glow): Easy Baked Mussels with Mango and Kani Salad

Thursday

Breakfast (Go and Grow): Adobo Sandwich

Lunch (Grow): Sushi Bake

Dinner (Grow and Glow): Grilled Chicken Salad with BBQ Mayo Dressing

Friday

Breakfast (Go and Glow): California Maki Sandwich

Lunch (Grow): Fried Chicken Wings

Dinner (Glow and Grow): Tempura Salad with Wasabi Mayo Dressing

Saturday

Breakfast (Go and Grow): Tuna Melt Pie

Lunch (Grow): Pork BBQ with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Dinner (Glow): Stuffed Chops with Sesame Mayo

Sunday

Breakfast (Go and Grow): Yummy Tuna Sandwich

Lunch (Grow): Pininyahang Manok

Dinner (Grow and Glow): Crispy Wonton Cheese Bombs with Caesar Salad

The easiest way to DIY your own meal plan is to make sure you hit each food group at least once a day. Don’t be afraid to get creative, too. Turn your kids’ favorite dish into a sandwich, zhuzh up fried foods with a fun dip, or add a kid-friendly spin to a salad. With go, grow, glow foods as your blueprint, you’re sure to have a menu they can’t say no to. 

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