Making meals for kids can seem like a new challenge every day! From their picky eating habits, to getting them to finish their plate, to trying to spice up each meal with healthy food and a veggie or two, it can all seem like an awful lot! Sometimes, we just need a bit of inspiration for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that is also a kid friendly recipe. We’re giving you 10 fun meal ideas for kids that even a picky eater would love!
What to Keep in Mind
Before we get started, let’s outline what we think are the top factors to keep in mind when making a quick and easy recipe. By basing your decision on these factors, you can ensure that you will always make a quick decision come meal time:
First of all, be sure to pick recipe ideas that are quick! Aim for something under half an hour. There are so many recipe ideas out there that are fast & easy. So, plan ahead and choose some easy dinner or lunchbox ideas that won’t you have you in the kitchen for hours (like any of our choices below!).
When we say “cheap,” we don’t mean that quick and easy meals have to be low quality! But there are so many alternatives in any grocery store which allow you to make quality, delicious meals at a low price point. Focus on buying in bulk, buying unpackaged produce, and buying budget alternatives of brand-name foods!
And, of course, don’t neglect a meal’s nutritional value! Focus on serving natural ingredients, with a good balance of protein options, veggie options, and carbs. The key to healthy eating is balance and portion control.
Healthy Tortilla Pizza
A healthy pizza option? Seems too good to be true, but it is possible, and your kids will love it. Tortilla pizzas are a great option because you get that delicious pizza taste without so much of the carb-heavy crust. Simply take a tortilla, top with tomato sauce & mozzarella, and add toppings! Bake until the cheese melts and you’re ready to go! Ready in under 20 minutes. If you want, you can sub the tortilla with a pre-made pizza crust, available at any grocery store!
Taco night is always a favourite of kids everywhere, and it’s so easy to put together! For a healthy option, try tacos with ground turkey! Cook it up with some taco spices and you’re ready to go. Serve up with all the taco fixings, like veggies and sour cream, and you’ve got a quick, easy, and well-rounded meal.
Salmon and Veggies
Fish can be a touchy area for some kids, which is why it’s all the more important to enter it into their diet early. From a health standpoint, fish is tough to beat. High in protein, and various vitamins and nutrients (including the all-important Vitamin D).
Salmon is a quick and easy meal, try glazing with a squeeze of lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake in the oven at 450F for 15 minutes (or until salmon flakes apart with a fork). Steam some broccoli and carrots as a healthy snack on the side and you’ve got a well-rounded, super healthy meal in under half an hour!
Next up is pesto pasta. Pesto pasta is so easy to make, whether you buy your own pesto or make it yourself. Whip up some pasta, top with your favorite pesto, and you’re good to go! Try adding some veggies for that extra nutritional value (we recommend steamed broccoli, peas, and spinach).
Mac and Cheese (With Peas)
Mac and cheese is a classic kid favourite. You can easily make your own with a healthier list of ingredients (including non-processed cheese). You can even throw in some peas, spinach, and other green veggies to turn this into a healthy mac and cheese!
Quesadillas are an quick, easy, and surprisingly healthy option. It can be as simple as baking a tortilla with some cheese and chicken (just bake at 350F until the cheese is melted). But quesadillas are so versatile! Try adding some salsa, bell peppers, onions, and tomato. Depending on what your kids will eat, quesadillas can be a great way to add a whole bunch of veggies to one of their favourite foods!
BBQ Chicken Breasts and Potato “Fries”
How about an old classic? Just some chicken breast and fries! Season your chicken breasts with some BBQ sauce, salt, and pepper, for an easy seasoning that kids love. Cut up some potatoes lengthwise into “fries”, season with oil, salt, and pepper, and bake. You can prep this meal in about 10 minutes, and it cooks in about 20 (cook chicken at 425F for 20 minutes)! It’s an easy, quick meal that kids love.
Burgers get kind of a bad wrap, but they’re actually a decently healthy option! Try making your own ground beef patties. All you have to do is form the patties and season the tops with salt and pepper. Cook on the barbecue on medium heat for about 4 minutes a side, until the inside of patty is no longer pink. Top with mustard, ketchup, tomato, lettuce, and onion and you’ve got a classic burger in under 20 minutes! Serve with a side of steamed veggies and it’s a quick, easy, healthy meal that your kids are going to love.
Breaded Chicken Fingers
What kid doesn’t love chicken fingers? You can make your own at home. Simply cut a chicken breast into strips, add some breading, and bake in the oven at 425F for 20 minutes. Serve with some steamed veggies, and you have an easy kid-favorite meal.
We cap off our list with meatballs. Meatballs are a kid favorite. Serve them in spaghetti, on rice, or even just on their own! Making meatballs is quick and easy. Form some ground beef into balls (we recommend with some salt, pepper, bread crumbs, and herbs), and bake in the oven (450F for 20 minutes). You can easily make meatballs in under 30 minutes. We recommend serving with some steamed veggies if you really want a healthy, well-balanced meal.
Thanks for checking out our list of fun and easy meals for suppertime! As you can see, it doesn’t have to take all day to make something kids will love. And just because you are on a time constraint, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice healthy eating! These are just a few options of the many possible dinner combinations, but we hope you have found some inspiration with our list!
About the Author
Alissa is a resilience coach, cartoonist, and advocate for ‘connection, not perfection’. She’s dedicated to helping others find a sense of safety and belonging inside themselves so they can heal, connect, and build authentic, joyful lives.