A Month of Healthy Dinner Ideas for Kids
Make a healthy meal your whole family can enjoy with these kid-friendly dinner recipes. Your kids still get to eat all their favorite foods—mac & cheese, spaghetti, pizza and chicken fingers. And you can feel good about cooking up a healthier meal for your family.
Healthy Oven-Fried Pork Chops
These whole-wheat panko breadcrumb-coated pork chops get just as crispy as fried chops, but they're healthier. Oven-frying saves you fat and calories while producing chops that are crispy on the outside, yet juicy inside. Serve with steamed broccoli and baked sweet potato for a satisfying weeknight dinner.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
Turn classic chicken parm into meatballs with this easy load-and-go appetizer recipe with a cheesy surprise inside. Making meatballs for a party? Switch your crock pot to "warm" for serving all party long.
Ground Beef & Pasta Skillet
Sneak extra vegetables into your child's day (and yours too!) with this easy one-skillet pasta recipe. Finely chop mushrooms to resemble the texture of ground beef and stir them into a classic meat sauce for an extra-healthy twist on a dinnertime favorite.
Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Casseroles make perfect meal-prep dinners--this enchilada version is so easy to prep ahead. The whole casserole can be built and left to hang out in the refrigerator for up to three days. Then all you have to do is bake it off on a busy night and you have a healthy dinner on the table in a jiff. The quick homemade enchilada sauce in this recipe is great when you don't have any of the canned sauce on hand--just season crushed tomatoes with spices and salt for an instant enchilada sauce.
BBQ Carrot Dogs
Shock everyone with this recipe for veggie dogs that actually taste like hot dogs. They're an amazing (and healthy!) vegan alternative to traditional meat hot dogs. Serve in whole-wheat hot dog buns and top with all your favorite toppings, such as sauerkraut, relish, ketchup and mustard, for the ultimate barbecue meal.
Spaghetti with Quick Meat Sauce
Instead of opening a jar of sauce, try this easy spaghetti with meat sauce on a weeknight. Serve with steamed broccoli and garlic bread. The recipe makes enough for 8 servings. If you're serving only four for dinner, cook 8 ounces of spaghetti and freeze the leftover sauce.
Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes
Potatoes are one of the great comfort foods, especially when stuffed with a satisfying mixture of lean ground beef and broccoli florets plus reduced-fat sour cream and Cheddar cheese. Add a tossed salad and you have a healthy and hearty meal that will leave you feeling good.
Chickpea Curry (Chhole)
Made with convenient canned beans, this quick and healthy Indian recipe is an authentic chickpea curry that you can make in minutes. If you want an additional vegetable, stir in some roasted cauliflower florets. Serve with brown basmati rice or warm naan.
Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas
One sheet pan is all you'll need to whip up these zesty chicken fajitas. They're quick and easy to make and cleanup is even faster!
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili
Make a double batch of this quick vegetarian chili, full of black beans and sweet potatoes, and eat it for lunch the next day or freeze the extras for another night. We love the smoky heat from the ground chipotle, but omit it if you prefer a mild chili. Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread and coleslaw.
Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers
Mounding a classic Philly cheesesteak mixture in a colorful bell pepper and melting cheese on top is an easy way to skip the bread and cut the carbs.
Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl
This chipotle-flavored burrito bowl recipe is even better than takeout and just as fast. Loading it with vegetables and using quinoa in place of rice adds nutrition for a healthy dinner.
Chicken & Spinach Skillet Pasta with Lemon & Parmesan
This one-pan pasta that combines lean chicken breast and sautéed spinach for a one-bowl meal is garlicky, lemony and best served with a little Parm on top. I call it "Mom's Skillet Pasta" and she called it "Devon's Favorite Pasta." Either way it's a quick and easy weeknight dinner we created together and scribbled on a little recipe card more than a decade ago, and it remains in my weekly dinner rotation to this day. It's a simple dinner the whole family will love.
Oven-Fried Fish & Chips
Fish and chips are traditionally sold wrapped in paper to soak up all the grease--not a good sign. To cut the calories in half and reduce the fat, we coat the delicate fish in a crispy cornflake crust and then bake it along with sliced potatoes. Serve with: Coleslaw and malt vinegar or lemon wedges.
American goulash, also known as old-fashioned goulash, is the perfect economical family meal. The pasta cooks right in the sauce, so this satisfying dish can cook in just one pot.
Homemade Chicken Tenders with Everything Bagel Seasoning over Salad
Using everything bagel spice is a quick way to season and add extra crunch to breadcrumbs for chicken tenders. If you can't find any premixed, make your own by combining equal parts dried minced onion and garlic, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, salt and ground pepper (see Associated Recipes). This healthy chicken recipe tops a simple salad for an easy dinner that's ready in 25 minutes.
Southwestern Three-Bean & Barley Soup
Serve this zesty bean and barley soup garnished with chopped fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime, if desired.
Chicken Taco Bowls
This chicken taco bowl recipe uses the underside of a muffin tin as a mold to bake cute little homemade "tortilla bowls." The "tortilla bowls" are filled with a zesty chicken filling and topped like nachos. If you have 2 large muffin tins, you can make all 8 "bowls" at once. Bake them in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, rotating top to bottom about halfway through baking.
Easy Vegetarian Chili
Canned beans and tomatoes make this quick vegetarian chili recipe ready to go in just 30 minutes. Serve over rice or couscous, or with tortilla chips for added crunch, and add extra toppings as you see fit--sliced scallions, chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado and sliced jalapeños are all tasty choices.
Vegetarian Lo Mein with Shiitakes, Carrots & Bean Sprouts
A hit of Sriracha gives a sweet and spicy edge to this healthy vegetarian recipe. Traditional lo mein is made with fresh lo mein noodles, which can be found in Asian markets. You can also use fresh or dried linguine noodles--fresh linguine is in the refrigerated section of some grocery stores. This easy dinner comes together in just 30 minutes, so it's perfect for weeknights.
Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese
Fiber-rich sweet potato is used as the base for the cheese sauce in this healthy, homemade macaroni and cheese recipe. The bright orange color tricks your eyes into thinking this healthy macaroni and cheese recipe is loaded with cheese, but there's actually only about half as much cheese as compared to a traditional recipe.
Black Bean Quesadillas
In a hurry? These satisfying quesadillas take just 15 minutes to make. We like them with black beans, but pinto beans work well too. If you like a little heat, be sure to use pepper Jack cheese in the filling. Serve with: A little sour cream and a mixed green salad.
This retro dish will please kids and adults alike.
Easy Italian Wedding Soup
Forget the marble-size meatballs you find in many versions of this soup. In this easy recipe, they're full-size, full-flavored and plenty filling.
Baked Popcorn Shrimp with Sweet Chili Sauce
This healthy popcorn shrimp recipe uses tiny shrimp to make crunchy bites perfect for popping in your mouth. We also swap out mayo-based tartar sauce for a healthier Greek yogurt dip flavored with Thai chili sauce.
Barbecue Chicken Pizza
We gave classic barbecue chicken pizza a healthy twist with hidden shredded zucchini in the sauce. It's a great way to sneak extra veggies into both you and your children's diet!
Crispy Ranch Drumsticks
This easy kid-friendly dinner pairs healthier oven-fried chicken with crisp, raw vegetables and a homemade ranch dressing for dipping.
Build-Your-Own Chicken Tacos
This kid-friendly recipe keeps every element of tacos separate so your child can decide to eat them separately or have fun building their own mini tacos with their favorite toppings. Plus, it's perfect for packing into a bento box for a healthy lunch for school.
Corn & Broccoli Calzones
These calzones are stuffed with a summery combination of corn and broccoli, but you can use whatever you have in your fridge. Part-skim ricotta and mozzarella make our pizza pockets lower in saturated fat. Plus a whole-wheat crust adds a nutty flavor and extra fiber. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping.
Nutty-flavored fontina cheese gives this homey baked tortellini casserole a real taste twist and the cheesy breadcrumb topping makes it all but irresistible. You can easily double this recipe and make one for today and an extra to pop in the freezer for a heat-and-eat meal someday in the future.
Grilled teriyaki chicken with pineapple can be made with just a few pantry staples. Although it's delicious when made with canned pineapple, fresh pineapple and its juice can easily be used in its place. Serve with brown rice and snow peas.