Categories: Kids, Nutrition, Recipes

Easy Dinner Ideas for Kids

Parenting can be hard, especially when it comes to cooking for your kids. Coming up with creative, easy and especially healthy kids’ dinner can get tiring, especially with picky eaters at your table. Some parents may ask “Is healthy eating for kids even possible?” and we are here to say YES. Here is a curated guide of healthy and easy dinner ideas for kids that the whole family can enjoy. 

Dinner Tips for Parents

  • When making a big meal for the family that takes time (anything over 30 minutes) always save the leftovers to use for another toddler meal. For example, chicken can be added into quesadillas, pasta can be served with different veggies and sauces, soup can be served with different sides like grilled cheese or turkey sandwich or even served on pasta or rice.
  • Keep a list of go-to quick meals on hand for when life gets in the way and you needed to start cooking 10 minutes ago. 
  • Food preferences are developed early in life, so offer variety. Likes and dislikes begin forming in early childhood. You may need to serve a new food a few different times or in different ways for a child to accept it.
  • Don’t be afraid to include kids in meal preparation! Involving your children in choosing and preparing family meals increases the chance that they’ll eat it. This can also encourage picky eaters to try new food. Even young children can help with preparing family meals. For example, they can wash fruit and veggies, or toss salads.

Nutritious and Easy Dinner Ideas for Kids

dinner ideas for kids | kids chicken dinner | Nurture Life

Easy Chicken Dinner Ideas

Kale Pesto Chicken Quesadilla

This chicken quesadilla recipe includes instructions for how to make homemade kale pesto. Kale, a well known superfood, is one of the most nutrient dense ingredients. To add onto this recipe, you may also use whole wheat tortillas for added fiber and vitamin B. 

Sweet Potato Crusted Chicken Nuggets

This is a recipe every parent needs, healthy chicken nuggets! The sweet potato adds moisture as well as vitamin A and fiber. Bonus, this recipe is egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and can be easily made gluten-free, so it’s a great dinner option for kids with food allergies

Tacos on a Stick

With simple ingredients, this recipe will easily become a classic for your family. Protein and veggie packed but still tasty for the whole family. Think of this dinner recipe as a healthy chicken taco alternative. Pair with this dairy free cashew sauce for extra yummyness your kids will love and nutrients like protein!

Healthy Chicken Teriyaki

This is a healthy twist on the traditional chicken teriyaki recipe. The cauliflower rice is another great way to sneak in some veggies. Studies also link fiber-rich veggies like cauliflower to a lower risk of illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Mild Curry Chicken & Veggies

Introducing flavorful dishes early on in the toddler years will only help define and refine their growing taste buds which is why this recipe is a great one. This curry is healthy, flavorful and packed with veggies and protein for a well rounded meal.

Healthy Chicken Nuggets with Green Bean “Fries”

The green bean “fries” with this meal are a picky eater favorite and a good way to get kids eating green veggies. A little pinch of paprika is used for flavor and egg is used as a binding in the breading which adds protein.

Mini Chicken + Carrot Meatballs

These meatballs are amazing as a stand alone or can be added with pasta, in a sandwich or with a side of mashed potatoes. This kid-approved recipe is another way to sneak veggies with mixing in carrots, leaks or spinach depending on what you have at home.

Chicken, Vegetable and Rice Skillet

This healthy kids recipe takes only 20 minutes to prepare and is all done in one skillet! A simple recipe with everyday ingredients you probably have on hand that just tastes great. Substitute with different veggies to make this suit everyone’s taste preferences.

Tortilla Chicken Bean Soup

This 10 minute recipe is sure to be a family favorite! This soup uses staple pantry items you most likely already have sitting around. With all the same flavors as tacos, this soup can be served with tortilla chips, cheese and sour cream to appeal to picky eaters. 

Chicken and Snap Peas Stir Fry

This quick one-pan chicken snap pea stir-fry skillet is packed with tons of pretty veggies and fresh ginger with an easy-to-make homemade sauce makes it so flavorful! Your family will love this simple ginger and garlic sauce mixed with the chicken and veggies. 

Thai Peanut Chicken Tacos

This recipe is a great tasting twist on the classic chicken taco. These tacos are a great way of introducing new flavor profiles to your kids while still serving something they recognize! These tacos also have a recipe for homemade peanut sauce that your family will love.

dinner ideas for kids | kids beef dinner | Nurture Life

Easy Beef Dinner Ideas

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

These sweet and sour meatballs are super tasty and don’t need many ingredients! The extra pineapple and bell pepper adds flavor to the meal. This recipe can be paired with rice or noodles, whichever your family prefers.

Chili Mac

This Chili mac and cheese recipe gives a good twist on the classic mac. The ground beef adds a substantial amount of protein which will make your kids feel fuller for longer. This is a picky eater favorite!

15 Minute Meatloaf

This is a great meal to cook for busy moms. Meatloaf is packed with protein and is sure to keep your kid full. For those extra picky eaters, try topping with their favorite barbeque sauce.

Cheeseburger Cups

This recipe is a must for picky eaters and one the whole family will love. Instead of eating a giant burger that you kid may not finish, these are easily portioned in muffin-size cups. Bonus, you can serve these with pickles on the side and substitute meat used to turkey.

dinner ideas for kids | kids pork dinner | Nurture Life

Easy Pork Dinner Ideas

Pork Chops with Parmesan Sauce

The key to this recipe is the creamy sauce! All together this hearty meal can be cooked in a single skillet which makes cleanup easier on you. Pair these pork chops with a side of green beans or asparagus to add some more nutrients to this recipe. 

Pork Chops with Couscous and Tomato-Caper Sauce

This is a tasty, fresh and healthy pork chop recipe. The couscous makes for a quick, versatile side dish that easily adopts different flavor profiles. Additionally, this dish easily works with chicken if you don’t have pork on hand.

Pork Souvlaki with Lemon Rice

A kebab dinner is a great, super easy way to make regular pork chops just a little bit more exciting. The  fruity olive oil, lemon and oregano give a tangy, fresh and distinctly Greek taste to these grilled pork skewers.

Corn Pasta with Bacon

This is a quick and easy pasta recipe that your kids will ask for over and over again! Add more veggies like peppers, tomatoes and onion for more nutrients. You can also substitute the bacon for chicken depending on what you have on hand.

dinner ideas for kids | kids vegetarian dinner | Nurture Life

Easy Vegetarian Dinner Ideas

Veggie-Loaded Rainbow Pizza

Turn any meal into a rainbow and kids are bound to eat it! This pizza recipe is jam packed with veggies for your kiddo and is also a good way to sneak green veggies into a meal since we know how hard that can be. Pop these in the oven for only 10 minutes and you have a meal ready.

Easy-Peasy 5 Veggie Pasta 

This healthy meal is great for baby-led weaning or the finger food stage. The veggie pasta is topped with a super easy-to-make basil dressing and is easily customizable to what you have on hand or what your child prefers. The key here is to chop the veggies into small pieces so they can cook faster, saving you precious time!

Easy Veggie “Fried” Rice 

This recipe has a healthy amount of protein and veggies creating a balanced meal which can be hard to find. The meal can be made in 15 minutes or less in a single skillet and is another great dinner for the finger food stage.

Butternut Squash ‘Mac and Cheese’ 

This recipe should be on every parent’s go-to meal list. Picky eaters gobble it up while not realizing the veggies and healthy nutrients it has. Butternut squash is high in Vitamin A, C, several B’s, K and fiber. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and may help regulate blood sugar. Bonus, this meal is vegan and dairy free as well!

Curry Pasta Salad

With taste likes and dislikes forming in early childhood, this curry pasta is good for introducing kids to new flavors they may not have come across yet while still being picky-eater friendly. The recipe includes an easy-to-make homemade curry sauce that can be reused in your other recipes. The homemade curry includes apple cider vinegar which has shown great promise in improving insulin sensitivity and helping lower blood sugar.

Pumpkin Pasta (Family-Favorite )

This pasta recipe is a great way of sneaking veggies like pumpkin into sauces and introducing new flavor profiles to you kid. According to the USDA, by incorporating one cup of pumpkin, you’ll add 7 g of fiber, plus vitamin A and potassium to your meal.

Whole Wheat Veggie Lo Mein

A recipe for a healthier version of lo mein that will be loved by your family. The veggies are colorful and taste great together! Some other veggies that are recommended to try in this recipe are Cabbage, bok choy, celery, and onions. You can also add tofu, chicken, beef or pork for some added nutrients to your meal.

Cauliflower Pizza

This cauliflower pizza crust is a great way to sneak in some veggies. Kids won’t even notice the difference between this dough and regular pizza dough! The pizza toppings are completely customizable to what your family prefers.

Pesto Caprese Grilled Cheese

This is a quick recipe and a healthy twist on the classic grill cheese. The pesto and tomato in the grilled cheese provides extra flavor and nutrients while still being tasty for your kids. Bonus, You can lighten it up by using part skim mozzarella or light whole grain bread.

Superfood Veggie Quesadilla 

This quesadilla recipe is loaded with hearty veggies and superfoods! Your kids will love the taste because of the sweet potatoes and cheese, even though there’s spinach snuck in as well. It’s easy to add protein to these quesadillas as well with chicken or ground turkey.

Easy Dinners, Without the Prep and Cleanup

Designed for kids and families, Nurture Life meals make it simple to please everyone from your picky eater to flavor explorer. The dinners are designed by registered dietitians and chefs and handmade with real ingredients you can feel proud to serve. Serve up meals quickly in 2 minutes or less for a world of nutritious food your family will love to dig into. And even if your kid doesn’t touch a single veggie the rest of the day, you can rest easy knowing they’re getting balance in at least one meal!

dinner ideas for kids | Chicken Bites with Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Green Beans | Nurture Life

Chicken Bites with Green Beans & Roasted Sweet Potatoes

This meal is a nutritionally balanced approach to the classic chicken nuggets by complementing our baked chicken breast bites with two naturally sweet veggies—green beans and roasted, diced sweet potatoes. Served with ketchup on the side for chicken dunking fun!

dinner ideas for kids | Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash | Nurture Life

Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash

Two favorites in one! This healthy lunch contains whole wheat pasta shells with four-cheese sauce and lean ground beef and pork for a mac and cheeseburger mashup. The nutritious secret? There’s a full serving of butternut squash blended into the cheese sauce!

dinner ideas for kids | Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans | Nurture Life

Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans

This meal is a transformed home-staple meatloaf with a lighter mix of ground turkey, ricotta cheese and veggies. Served with a side of mashed cauliflower potatoes and green beans, this meatloaf delivers comfort without compromising on nutrition.

dinner ideas for kids | Butter Chicken with Peas, Rice & Mini Naan | Nurture Life

Butter Chicken with Peas, Rice & Mini Naan

This delicious version of Indian butter chicken adds nutrition with butternut squash blended into the creamy, aromatic sauce. The chicken is paired with a mixture of peas & brown rice along with mini naan for plenty of delicious ways to soak up all that flavorful sauce.

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Katie Klepek

As the director of marketing at Nurture Life, Katie gets to combine her passions—family, food and healthy lifestyle choices—with crafting a personalized experience for Nurture Life’s brand. She has over 18 years experience in business, communications, marketing and event planning, having co-founded the successful event production company Reinventing Events. Katie’s diverse background allows her to effectively combine communication and organization skills to develop, plan and deliver results. Born and raised in the Midwest, Katie attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, specializing in English and Communication. When she’s not spreading her cheer (and eating cookies) at Nurture Life, Katie runs marathons and co-hosts a horror movie podcast with her husband. She has a 3-year-old daughter who has grown up on Nurture Life with another girl on the way!