These dinner ideas for kids are easy and healthy recipes that will please everyone around the table! Each one is kid tested and approved.
You can’t fully appreciate trying to feed kids…until you have one of your own. Kids are notoriously selective when it comes to dinnertime. Luckily, we’ve got a 4 year old on hand to test all our recipes. Here are our top healthy dinner ideas for kids! Each recipe in this list has been tested on a real kid (our son!) who’s given it his stamp of approval. Whether you’re looking for healthy recipes or just something fast and easy to get on the table, we’ve got something for everyone in this list. Ready to get started?
And now…healthy dinner ideas for kids, tested by a real kid!
One of our top easy dinner ideas for kids: baked quesadillas in the oven! This recipe makes the humble solo meal into a delicious dinner, resulting in a big batch all at once on a sheet pan. All the quesadillas are done at the same time, and they come out with a beautifully crispy exterior. These are always, always a hit with our 4 year old.
Taquitos are always a hit with kids! This baked version is an easy spin on that tasty Mexican rolled tortilla treat. Roll corn or flour tortillas around a filling of refried beans, cheese, and salsa, then bake until crispy. Serve with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream for dipping!
Healthy mac and cheese? Here’s the thing: mac and cheese can be part of a healthy, balanced diet. And this one is all about balance: it’s got big flavor, a bit less cheese per serving than the standard recipe, and it’s loaded with broccoli for a dose of nutrients and fiber. What’s not to love?
Kids love pasta, but it doesn't always have to be spaghetti. Try this cheese tortellini in creamy marinara sauce! In just 15 minutes, you’ve got a pasta skillet that’s a literal symphony of flavor. The fresh basil-infused marinara sauce is perfectly complimented with pillows of tangy goat cheese. Our 4 year old gives it high marks!
This black bean chili is a big hit with our 4 year old son and many of his friends. It’s beyond simple to make, and the flavor is outstanding. It’s got a hint of smokiness to highlight the tangy tomatoes and savory black beans. Top it with your favorite toppings, and it’s so hearty and savory, you’ll forget it’s healthy, too.
Make a pan of our irresistible sweet potato wedges, lightly crisped and seasoned to perfection. Then main dish by adding toppings (double yum!). Add the black bean chili above or this Quick Chili, then add cheese and salsa. Kids love it!
Here’s our ultimate fast and easy dinner idea for kids: Tortilla Pizza! Get this: it’s faster than delivery pizza, healthier, and it tastes better. So why order out when you can make tasty pizza in? It’s for those nights where you need dinner on the table without thinking too hard. You’ll never need delivery or frozen pizza again!
Shrimp is a big winner around here: it’s delicious, a healthy lean protein, and so fast to cook. Even better: our 4 year old is obsessed! You would not believe the “Wow’s!” exclaimed after every bite of this one: if your kid's a seafood lover they'll love this. This method is so easy and the shrimp come out juicy and perfectly seasoned with garlic and herbs. Serve with ketchup or honey mustard for dipping.
Here’s a go-to when you need a fun dinner idea for kids that’s healthy and protein-packed: this Vegan Meatballs! This recipe takes under 30 minutes to make, and it’s packed with protein! Even better: the flavor is outstanding. Serve with marinara for a tasty healthy meatball.
Looking for a 5-minute breakfast idea, an easy lunch, or a fast and easy dinner? Meet these Amazing Egg Tacos! This is one of our favorite kitchen tricks and we’re so excited to share it with you today. Did you know that eggs can taste like taco meat? Yes, somehow the spiced scrambled eggs filling channels the flavor of taco meat plus chorizo. Our 4 year old can't get enough!
What better to please kids than Sloppy Joes? These vegan Sloppy Joes have a zingy lentil filling that tastes just as good as the meaty version. Put it on a toasted bun with some bread and butter pickles, and WOW! Everyone will love this vegan sandwich (promise).
Who wouldn’t want all the flavors of a supreme pizza wrapped up in a cozy bowl? The broth is flavored with pizza sauce, tomatoes, and a little Parmesan to make it creamy. The toppings are swimming along inside: bell peppers, garlic and mushrooms, making for a savory pop that surprises you in every bite. Serve with garlic toast, grilled cheese or simply crusty bread
Here’s a dinner idea for kids that marries basic Italian flavors into a mess of garlicky, gooey goodness: Baked Rigatoni! It’s a pasta bake that’s got all the comfort of tomato sauce and cheese, but has intrigue and uniqueness in the flavors. The tomato sauce is full of garlic and a little fennel for meatiness, and it’s got lots of fresh peppery basil for a herbaceous kick. Cover it in gooey mozzarella cheese and you’ve got a dish that’s hearty enough to please any eater.
Here's a way to make grilled cheese seem like a fancier dinner idea...try Grilled Cheese in the Oven! It’s never fun to babysit a skillet while you make grilled cheese to order. Fire up your oven! Baked grilled cheese comes out melty and golden brown. Some ideas for kids? Add some thin sliced apples inside for a fun sweet and savory spin, or add a dollop of pesto.
The best recipes are the simplest, and the simplicity of pesto pasta with basil pesto and a splash of cream can’t be beat. It’s something we can’t get tired of! So excuse us if this recipe is simple: we promise it will blow your mind every time. For a healthy dinner idea for kids, add a side of sauteed or roasted broccoli, or carrot sticks and apple slices on the side.
Try this genius Easy Burrito: in just 15 minutes, you’ve got a burrito that’s bursting with flavor that kids will love. Many breakfast burrito recipes call for rice or cooked meat or potatoes: and who has time for that? You’ll need just 5 minutes to cook two layers of eggs here: one chorizo-spiced and one cheesy. Take a bite and it’s irresistibly savory and delicious, with all the right cozy textures.
Veggie burgers can be seriously satisfying, and that doesn’t mean processed meat substitutes. These vegan chickpea burgers full of whole foods can be your new go-to! Our kid loves them. Painted with BBQ sauce and served with shiitake bacon and special sauce, they’re pretty darn tasty
If your kid loves tacos, then try taco soup! This Tex Mex invention is a mashup between a Mexican tortilla soup and American chili. Each bowl is warming, savory and smoky, and a cozy canvas for toppings like sour cream and crushed tortilla chips. The best part: it’s done in 30 minutes and customizable for eaters of any diet! This makes it endlessly versatile and an ideal weeknight meal.
Salmon cakes might not sound like a dinner for kids, but our 4 year old inhales these! They're made with canned salmon, which makes them fast and easy to make — and cheaper than using fresh salmon. Pair them with tartar sauce or remoulade, and the contrast of the crisp, herb-scented patties against the creamy dipping sauce is unreal. This was a huge hit in our house, especially with our 4 year old. Who knew salmon cakes are perfect kid food?
Here’s a creamy broccoli potato soup that will blow your mind. It’s impossibly creamy, plant-based, and it tastes like the coziest bowl of comfort. And it’s 100% made of veggies! How’s that for amazing? This easy and healthy soup is vegan and gluten-free, so it works for a variety of diets. It tastes like an elevated version of broccoli cheese soup from a can, and kids love it.
If your kid is a shrimp lover like ours is, try these Quick Shrimp Tacos! Their carefree vibe makes any dinner more festive, even if it’s just any old Tuesday. They take just 20 minutes to make, and they're bathed in a creamy ranch-like drizzle. This recipe is a fast family dinner recipe for weeknights and dinner parties with friends!
Here’s a soup that will make kids sing your praises: this creamy tortellini soup! This is one for the books. You can make it in under 30 minutes, and the flavor that results is simply killer. Tomatoes, basil, Parmesan and cream make a lusciously flavored broth that floats with doughy orbs of tortellini. In fact, we put down our spoons in amazement at first bite.
You'll notice lots of Tex Mex and Mexican recipes in this list: because they're always a hit with our kid! Try these Vegetarian Faijtas! These are so full flavored and satisfying, they please everyone around the table: even the meat lovers! This fajita recipe stars our favorite fajita veggies, roasted up on a sheet pan and served with refried beans and guacamole.
Last up in our dinner ideas for kids: an idea that everyone loves! Try this Chickpea Salad Sandwich! It might sound odd, but chickpeas mashed with a hint of mayo and mixed with chicken salad-style seasonings make an incredibly delicious sandwich! Our 4 year old goes crazy over this: and it takes just a few minutes to whip up.
Sides to make a healthy meal
How to round out these dinner ideas for kids into healthy meals? There are lots of ideas that don’t even require cooking! Here are some of our favorites (also tested on a real kid):
Veggies and hummus: Hummus is a nice plant-based option for adding protein to a meal.
Carrot sticks, red pepper slices, snap peas: A side dish for kids can be nothing more than adding some fresh vegetables to a plate.
Yogurt fruit dip: This fruit dip is perfect for adding protein from Greek yogurt with your kid’s favorite fruit.
Apple slices, grapes, banana slices, blueberries, pineapple: Or go without dip and add fresh fruit!
5 Minute Peas: These easy frozen peas take just 5 minutes and are incredibly delicious: and protein-packed!
Refried beans: Our son absolutely loves refried canned beans as a side dish, and they add plant-based protein.
Roasted Broccoli: This roasted broccoli is as irresistible as French fries (promise!)
These baked quesadillas in the oven are easy to make on a sheet pan and have the best crispy exterior! Game changer, right here.
½ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 drizzle olive oil
¼ teaspooneachcumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and kosher salt
1 large or 2 small green onions
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup smoked mozzarella cheese
½ cup pico de gallo
8 6” tortillas (flour or corn)
For topping: Guacamole, sour cream, salsa, cilantro
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Drain the rinse the beans, then mix them with the olive oil and seasonings. Thinly slice the green onion.
Brush a baking sheet with a bit of olive oil. Place the tortillas on the sheet and rub them to coat them in olive oil.
On each tortilla, place 2 tablespoons cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon seasoned beans, 1 tablespoon green onion, 2 tablespoons smoked mozzarella, 1 tablespoon pico de gallo, and 1 pinch kosher salt. If desired, add a drizzle of hot sauce. Fold over the tortilla into a half circle (this makes it easy to flip, instead of making full quesadillas with 2 tortillas). Complete for each tortilla, then brush the tops with oil.
Bake 8 minutes. Then flip and bake 6 to 7 minutes more until browned and crisp on the outside. Cut into 3 wedges each with a pizza cutter. Serve topped with cilantro and sour cream, and with guacamole and extra pico de gallo for dipping.
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