Here are 7 ultimate kid favorite dinners that are simple to make and healthy too!
Planning dinners that everyone in the family likes is no easy feat. (I think I have said this before.) The reality is that not every night can be a favorite dinner night. There may be some nights when your kids definitely aren’t keen on dinner, and that’s ok. But to make the overall average score of your weekly dinners rate a little higher, it helps to add in a few recipes that you know they like.
For us, it means that I sprinkle in some of their favorites into our weekly and monthly schedule. Fortunately, while these may be kid-favorites, they are also usually adult favorites too. They are also often healthier than many other kid-classics, such as those you typically find on the kid’s menu at a restaurant. (Read more about how to eat healthier when dining out with kids here.)
So if you are looking for meal ideas and recipes that are sure to be a hit with your family, look no further, presenting the 7 ultimate kid-favorite dinners at our house…
I bet you knew this one would be on the list! Meatballs are definitely a hit with kids, even the pickiest ones. I serve these with ketchup or lingonberry jam because that is how I grew up eating them. But you could also serve them with a classic Swedish meatball gravy sauce or your favorite marinara sauce.
Right up there with meatballs are sliders. These turkey meatball sliders are tasty yet simple. The key is adding some sauteed, finely chopped onion and garlic and mixing in some olive oil to the ground turkey mixture to make it less dry. If your kids want beef sliders, try making larger versions of the Swedish meatballs; I call them Swedish Meatball Sliders.
3. Cod Nuggets
Ok, I may not have chicken nuggets on this list, but I couldn’t resist adding these cod nuggets. Yes, they are pan-fried, but using panko bread crumbs means they soak up less fat than regular bread crumbs. And just look at how good they look. Will you believe me when I say that taste as good as they look? They really do, so this is a great recipe to try if you have fish-shy kids.
These chicken thighs may seem kind of plain and ho-hum, but they are really quite tasty and so well-received every time I make them. Chicken thighs and legs are the dark meat of the chicken, which means they have more fat, but it also means they tend to be more flavorful and less likely to get dried out. Give this recipe a try and see what your kids think–if they like their food extra plain you could always make a couple of thighs without thyme. You can pair this with any veggies and grains that you like!
This was one of my favorites growing up, and it’s a favorite with my older son and my nieces and nephews. (Yes, my younger son still prefers his pasta with butter!) There are so many variations on this classic dish out there, but one of my favorite aspects of this meal is that you can add in extra veggies to the sauce–such as grated or chopped root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes)–without the kids realizing it. In fact, extra veggies make it taste better in my opinion. And, of course, you could serve it over rice, quinoa or gluten-free pasta.
My kids just love these pork tacos from 100 Days of Real Food. If you haven’t tried them, do so. It’s a chance to put the slow-cooker to use and end up with a meal that is sure to be a hit.
February 2017 update: After a year of Taco/Mexican Tuesdays, my kids have now been introduced to almost every type of taco there is! And the good news is they love them all–yes they prefer the meat anc chicken over the veggie ones, but I think the key with this meal is the “assemble it yourself” aspect of it which lets your child have full control over what they decid to put on their plate.
My kids love chicken soup–with noodles and without. I don’t have a go-to recipe, but I love this one from Katie at Mom to Mom Nutrition. She provides a simple overview of how to make chicken noodle soup 5 different ways, from Italian inspired to Asian inspired.
Chicken soup is on my list of foods that I need to start making from scratch more often. When I do, I will make extra and freeze for future use. But because I’m always busy testing new recipes I don’t have a great routine for regularly making this soup, so it’s one of the few foods I often buy ready prepared at our local Whole Foods. It makes a perfect quick dinner on those busy nights when you don’t have time or energy to cook–just pair it with some dipping bread or grilled cheese. It’s also a nice comfort food on cold, rainy days, not to mention days when you are feeling under the weather.
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So there you have it, a nice round-up of the ultimate kid faves. I hope you find a new recipe to try or perhaps some new inspiration. In addition to the above, my kids love grilled foods, kebabs, roasted pork tenderloin, roasted chicken, grilled cheese, make your own pizza night, and, of course, breakfast for dinner! What foods do your kids love?