Categories: Kids, Nutrition, Picky Eaters, Toddlers

10 Kid-Friendly Dinner Ideas for Fall

With so many holidays and big sports games, fall is the season for food lovers—full of aromatic spice mixes, homey flavors and the return of abundant apples, squash and cranberries. You don’t have to wait for your family’s Thanksgiving Day feast to share your favorite fall flavors, either! These 10 fall, kid-friendly dinner ideas are not just healthy, but also packed with memorable flavors, wholesome nutrients, and enough variety to last all season long.

Our Top 10 Fall Kid-Friendly Dinner Ideas

1. Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash

When it comes to easy butternut squash, it doesn’t get easier than Nurture Life’s Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash. Ready to eat in less than 2 minutes, our Mac & Cheese features a four-cheese sauce blended with vitamin-packed butternut squash. It’s the best way to serve up a full serving of healthy fall veggies in a kid-friendly meal.

kid-friendly dinner ideas

2. Baked Salmon Meatballs

It’s no secret that salmon is one of the most recommended superfoods for kids, as it’s a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein. These baked salmon meatballs are flavored with cilantro, but you can easily substitute your kids’ favorite herbs or spices for a more familiar flavor profile.

3. Slow Cooker Chicken Corn Chowder

Busy parents need easy fall meals that take little time to prep, which is why we love this slow-cooked chicken corn chowder. Combine boneless chicken breasts with colorful potatoes, green chiles and cream-style corn, and then let the slow cooker work its magic! If you’re trying to please a picky eater, sweet corn is a definite kid-friendly veggie.

4. Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes

Nurture Life’s Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans serves up familiar Thanksgiving flavors with a wholesome, homestyle twist. We’ve mixed ground turkey with ricotta cheese and fresh veggies for a lighter but oh-so-flavorful version of your kid’s favorite meatloaf. Featuring sides of mashed cauliflower potatoes and green beans, this meal offers 15g of protein and a full serving of veggies for a balanced and delicious fall feast!

kid-friendly dinner ideas

5. Harvest Chicken Casserole

Casseroles are always a hit at mealtime, and their relatively low-prep nature makes them some of the most appreciated kid-friendly meals for fall weeknights. This harvest chicken casserole combines lean chicken breast with dried cranberries, brussel sprouts, sliced almonds and wild rice for a scrumptious medley of textures, colors and flavors.

6. Spaghetti Squash Pizza Nests

Spaghetti squash is often used as a low-carb pasta substitute, but did you know it can also be baked for a healthier take on crust? Just pack baked spaghetti squash into muffin tins, and then fill your spaghetti squash pizza nests with low-fat cheese, veggies or lean protein. With this recipe in your toolbox of easy fall meals, your little ones won’t miss the frozen pizza pockets!

7. Pot Roast with Mashed Potatoes 

Nurture Life’s Pot Roast with Mashed Potatoes offers balanced nutrition with classic winter warming flavors. Combining slow-braised beef, carrots, onions and celery with a side of cauliflower mashed potatoes, this meal is packed with almost half of your kid’s daily protein requirements and a full serving of veggies. 

kid-friendly dinner ideas

8. Apple Cider Chicken with Caramelized Apples

It may be too cold for your kids’ favorite popsicles, but you can still offer a nutritious, lightly sweetened meal that’s quintessentially fall! Ready in 30 minutes or less, this recipe makes apple cider chicken from a slightly sweet and tangy mix of Dijon mustard, apple cider and onions. For the caramelized apples, we recommend cutting the brown sugar down to a single tablespoon or substituting with honey. Serve with a side of roasted veggies for extra fiber, vitamins and minerals.

9. Chicken Parmesan with Broccoli

Nurture Life’s healthier take on this cozy Italian classic layers tomato sauce blended with butternut squash on a baked chicken patty. Our Chicken Parmesan meal packs protein and a full serving of fiber-filled broccoli.  

kid-friendly dinner ideas

10. Mediterranean Turkey-Stuffed Peppers

Made with a blend of lean ground turkey and aromatic vegetables, these stuffed peppers offer essential vitamins and minerals along with a light spice. Accompany the peppers with ancient grains or riced cauliflower and a side of steamed greens to boost the fiber and nutrients.

Whether you’re catering to a picky eater or a more adventurous palate, these kid-friendly meals for fall are sure to please. Just cozy up to your warm dinner and enjoy the savory, spiced, rich flavors of fall together! Have questions about Nurture Life meals or your kid’s nutrition? Send our nutrition experts a message to nutrition@nurturelife.com

Updated: Bonus Kid-Friendly Dinner Ideas to Try This Week

Believe it or not, but a picky eater isn’t something to just tolerate. By introducing new flavors and dishes, you can turn your child onto a well-rounded diet made from wholesome nutrients that inspires anticipation, not dread, when it comes to dinnertime. That’s because most so-called “kids food” is loaded with sugar, salt and other preservatives that optimizes their shelf life, not their nutritional value — and the fun mascots are just another way to attune your kids’ unadventurous tastes.

But kid-friendly dinner ideas don’t have to be a collection of pre-packaged, boxed meals — not that there’s anything inherently wrong with boxes. Here at Nurture Life, we make kid-friendly meals across all age groups, and our focus lies squarely on taste and nutrition, first to appeal to picky eaters and then to ensure that they’re getting the proper nutrition for their growing bodies and developing minds. They’re great for busy parents that don’t have the time to be a full-time chef to their children, and your kids will appreciate that they’re no more than a few minutes away from a delicious meal or snack.

If you do decide to assume cooking duties on your own, you’ll have some work ahead of you. Instead of purchasing generic kids food, you’ll be making real meals that energize and inspire your kids’ taste buds — and the best part is that these kid-friendly dinner ideas are also great for the whole family, so you don’t have to bother with cooking separate meals. 

11. Chicken Noodle Soup

First up is the classic: chicken noodle soup. With olive oil, garlic, onion, carrots and cut-up chicken breast, as well as celery, salt, black pepper, chicken stock, noodles and chopped parsley, chicken noodle soup is a great way to create something yummy that’s also good for your kid. Instead of grabbing that easy can of chicken soup — which, by the way is loaded with salt and preservatives — it only takes a few minutes to create a hot, steaming bowl of chicken soup using ingredients you probably have on hand anyway.

12. Minestrone Stew

For Nurture Life’s take on healthy comfort food soup, check out our Minestrone Stew. With butternut squash, white beans, shells, zucchini, carrots and potatoes, this meal provides filling vegetarian protein and a full serving of vegetables for a balanced fall stew.

kid-friendly dinner ideas

13. Corn and Broccoli Calzones

Kids love it when things are wrapped up for them, and these Corn and Broccoli Calzones are the perfect way to wrap up some delicious and healthy flavors in a fun and unique way. Starting with a whole-wheat crust for an earthy flavor and extra fiber, you can pack these pockets with just about any vegetable combination that works for you. By using lower-fat cheeses or cheese alternatives, you can add a layer of creamy, melty goodness that is lower in saturated fats and the perfect compliment to the natural flavors of the vegetables. These are definitely worth a try!

14. Spaghetti Lo Mein

When you’re feeling adventurous, don’t forget that pretty much any dish can be jazzed up by substituting ingredients. Instead of plain spaghetti, what about spaghetti lo mein, which takes regular spaghetti noodles and adds in soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, sesame oil, garlic powder, ground ginger, olive oil, broccoli, shredded carrots, red bell pepper, green onion and sesame seeds to turn plain spaghetti into an Eastern delight. Try this spaghetti lo mein to add to your list of kid-friendly dinner ideas!

15. Beef Meatloaf with Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Peas

For the ultimate cold weather meal, check out Nurture Life’s Beef Meatloaf with Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Peas. Featuring protein packed beef and a full serving of organic veggies, this balanced meal is filling and kid-friendly!

kid-friendly dinner ideas

16. Pork and Sweet Potato Skillet

For a quick and easy, but nutrient-rich meal that will certainly fill your child up, this Pork and Sweet Potato Skillet mixes a host of flavors into one fantastic blend. To add variety and a little extra healthy kick, this recipe combines your usual skillet vegetables like sweet potatoes and green onions with the tangy fruit flavors of apple slices or chunks and dried cranberries to provide some sweetness in a unique taste. This recipe also makes it easy to substitute for plant-based meats, or you can add other vegetables like carrots, corn, or green beans to spruce it up even more.

17. Tomato Butter Spaghetti

Another one of our favorite kid-friendly dinner ideas is spaghetti, a staple that just about all kids love. But don’t settle for a jar of pre-made sauce; here’s an opportunity to make your own. Tomato Butter Spaghetti is a simple and tasty way to do spaghetti, and it only takes about 10 minutes of prep. With extra-virgin olive oil, onions, kosher salt, black pepper, minced garlic, chopped tomatoes, dried oregano and the all-important butter (or butter substitute), as well as cooked spaghetti, fresh basil and grated parmesan, you can whip up a tasty batch of spaghetti with great flavors that your child will absolutely love in just minutes.

For more about healthy, kid-friendly dinner ideas, contact the experts at Nurture Life. We’ve got all sorts of great dinner ideas for kids that are perfectly balanced, taste great and provide your kids with the nutrition they need, no matter their age — and the best part is that you don’t have to cook at all; they’re ready in just minutes.

RJ-Bio

Rachael Janas

Rachael joined the Nurture Life team as the Marketing Production & QA Manager. From menu design to nutrient analysis, she covers all things food. Rachael is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with a strong foundation in clinical nutrition and a keen interest in nutritious food with phenomenal flavor. Her passion for incorporating whole foods and creative cuisine while focusing on age-specific nutrient needs of children is essential to Nurture Life’s menu design. Rachael has been practicing dietetics since 2011, with the bulk of her experience in clinical nutrition at Loyola Medical Center, specializing in patients with cystic fibrosis as well as critical care nutrition related to lung disease and lung transplant. She also has experience in cardiac health and nutrition during pregnancy. Rachael received her B.S. from Saint Louis University in Missouri and completed a dietetic internship with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Rachael’s interests include creative cooking at home, using a variety of ingredients, spices and herbs for a unique meal each night. She truly believes nutrition and food should be enjoyable and that all food can be enjoyed in moderation.

Related Posts

Categories: Kids, Snacks, Toddlers

12 Healthy Playdate Snacks

Read more