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
Easy Chicken Dinner Ideas
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Easy Beef Dinner Ideas
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.
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!
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.
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.
Easy Pork Dinner Ideas
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.
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.
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.
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.
Easy Vegetarian Dinner Ideas
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.