Toddlers and children are usually fussy about eating, and they have a preference for some particular foods. Putting together a meal that can both please your kid and nourish them at the same time can be a challenge sometimes. Another problematic thing besides that is getting them to stop consuming packaged and processed food.
There are endless options of processed and packaged foods available on the market that contain added sugar and have very little nutritional value. Apart from this, these several packaged products are designed and marketed as if they were healthy, thus compelling consumers to want it more. But the reality is, they are far, far away from being healthy!
A solution to all this lies in the preparation of a meal for kids that is simple, tasty, and nutritious at the same time. Obviously, we understand that as a busy parent, many of us don’t have time to prepare elaborate dishes. The trick to save time and serve healthy food options is to find recipes that are simple yet tasty, and at the same time not compromising the nutritional value of food.
That said, we have compiled some dinner ideas for kids to get something quick, delicious, and nutritious on the table.
4 Healthy Dinner Ideas for Kids
#1. Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
This is among the top choices for healthy meals for dinner, especially when you are looking for sneaking veggies into the food. Kids are usually not fans of cauliflower, and it can be challenging to feed them such vegetables with cheese or otherwise. You can instead prepare a cheese sauce using cauliflower and bake it with macaroni.
With simple cheese sauce and a good dose of veggies, this recipe is a simple yet healthy option for a fast weeknight lunch or dinner. Your kids and his or her friends will simply love it, and they will have no clue of the hidden vegetable content!
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Ingredients Required to Prepare Cauliflower Mac and Cheese:
- Macaroni pasta (250 g)
- Grated cheddar cheese (1 cup)
- Milk (1 cup)
- Butter (1 tablespoon)
- Dijon mustard (½ tablespoon)
- Garlic powder (optional)
- Cauliflower (1 medium)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
- Add water and macaroni to a pan and cook according to the package instructions. Strain the macaroni into a new utensil once it is cooked and put aside.
- Cut cauliflower into small pieces. Put these pieces in a saucepan along with water, and let it boil for 5–6 minutes until the cauliflower has softened.
- Once the cauliflower is thoroughly cooked, it’s time to drain it and add it to a blender. Blend it to make a thick paste.
- Add milk, cheese, butter, and dijon mustard to the blended cauliflower. Blend all the ingredients for a while until they form a sauce. At this stage, if you feel that the mixture is too thick, add some milk to it.
- Add salt and pepper to this mixture.
- Add drained pasta to a saucepan, and add cauliflower sauce to it and mix well.
- Transfer this mixture to small baking dishes.
- Add some extra cheese to it if you want. You can also add a whole cherry tomato at the top.
- Bake it in the oven for 10–15 minutes until the top is crispy.
- Let it cool and serve.
#2. Cheesy Broccoli Rice
Broccoli has many health benefits and is known to make bones strong, improve digestion, give stability to your blood sugar levels, etc. The real challenge is to feed your kids this super veggie. Fortunately, cheesy broccoli rice is for the rescue as a healthy kid-friendly meal.
Kids love this combination, and at the same time, this dish is super easy to prepare with minimum ingredients. You can also add other veggies that your kid love, such as peas, cauliflower, and carrots to it.
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients Required to Prepare Cheesy Broccoli Rice:
- Broccoli (½ cup)
- Rice (½ cup)
- Grated cheddar cheese (4 tablespoons)
- Place water in a large pot. Add rice and cook until tender.
- Steam the broccoli in a saucepan and drain it well.
- Take a saucepan with drained rice, and stir the broccoli with butter, salt, garlic powder, and cheese.
- Serve warm.
Pro Tip: Instead of broccoli, you can add cauliflower, carrots, or corn to the rice; pick your preference.
Once prepared, you can squish the cheesy rice into small balls, which will help to hold the mixture together enough for the babies to pick up and eat by themselves.
#3. Vegetable and Cheese Frittata Fingers
These are tasty and perfect for little taste buds at the same time; these are super soft for the kids with no teeth. It’s also fantastic for popping into lunch boxes to take out for picnics and school.
You can use broccoli, zucchini, or basil in the fingers. This is one of the dinner ideas for kids that can be used to conceal various vegetables, making it quite tasty and healthy both. It’s also a great way through which you can use all the leftover veggies hanging in your fridge.
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Ingredients Required to Prepare Vegetable and Cheese Frittata Fingers:
- Oil (½ tablespoon)
- Grated cheddar cheese (½ cup)
- Grated zucchini (½ cup)
- Finely chopped broccoli (1 cup)
- Eggs (3)
- Flour (1 tablespoon)
- Herbs and oregano
- Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease and line the baking dish with parchment paper.
- Take a saucepan and add zucchini and broccoli, and fry lightly for 3–4 minutes until vegetables are soft.
- Take a bowl and mix the eggs, cheese, flour, and herbs together.
- Add cooked vegetables to this mixture and stir them well.
- Pour the mixture in a greased baking dish, and place it in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Once cooked, let it cool and then cut it into fingers or squares.
#4. Chicken and Broccoli Pasta
Chicken and broccoli pasta allows you to serve healthy meals for dinner within minimum preparation time. It is very delicious and will perfectly satisfy the taste buds. You can even make it in a single pot if you’re low on time.
The end result that you get is a simple yet delicious pasta dish that is healthy due to all the added veggies.
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Ingredients Required to Prepare Chicken and Broccoli Pasta
- Pasta of your choice
- Boneless chicken breast
- Salt, garlic powder, black pepper, parsley (¼ tablespoon each)
- Finely chopped broccoli (4 cups)
- Milk (2 cups)
- Shredded parmesan cheese (2 cups)
- Flour (2 tablespoon)
- Butter (2 tablespoons)
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC
- Place chicken in a dish and bake for about 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Remove from the oven and chop into little bite-sized square pieces.
- Boil the pasta in a pan per the directions given on the package. Drain and set aside.
- Boil the broccoli as well and drain it. Add this to the drained pasta and mix well.
- Take a saucepan and add butter. Allow it to melt.
- Add flour and stir until smooth and thick paste is formed.
- Slowly add milk, continually stirring it to make a thick white sauce.
- Add grated cheese to this sauce, and stir until it melts.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add pasta, broccoli, and chicken to this sauce, and toss it until all the ingredients are adequately coated with sauce.
- Let the pasta broccoli chicken cool. Serve it to your little one.
We know cooking food that pleases the kids can be difficult, especially if you are a new mom. The trick is to keep it innovative yet simple. Also, your focus should be on feeding your little one with nutritious whole-grain food.
There are a number of healthy dinner ideas for kids ranging from elaborate feasts to speedy and straightforward meals. This guide can save a lot of time if you are looking for simple, swift, and nutritious meals.