Looking for healthy recipes kids love? These recipes were picked by the kids! The favorites from Prep Dish subscribers' kids in 2021.
“Will my kids actually eat the meals?”
This is one of the questions we get the most from potential Prep Dish subscribers. They love the idea of meal prep and feeding their families healthy meals, but are concerned about the toughest of all food critics, the kiddos.
As a mom myself, I totally understand this struggle. Fingers crossed, my kids have been pretty enthusiastic eaters so far but, like all kids, they have their moments. At Prep Dish, we strive to create recipes that the family will love, without “dumbing down” the flavors. We've had quite a bit of success, with many families reporting their kids are eating more variety with less complaining.
If you'd like to test out a few Prep Dish recipes on your own kids, the below selections are the 2021 favorite recipes from our subscribers' (and Prep Dish team's) kids! Some are pretty predictable (I'm looking at you, fudgesicles) but others may surprise you. You truly never know what the kids will love unless you try them!
(If you're looking for a new favorite for yourself, rather than the kids, you can find our overall 2021 subscriber favorites here!)
Healthy Recipes Kids Love
1. Potato Nachos
These are straight from our Super Fast menus and they make for such a fun dinner or party appetizer!
Mix up the toppings, use half sweet potato slices, or add some of my homemade tomatillo avocado salsa. You really can't go wrong.
Potato nachos would also be perfect for a night of football watching! You can find more great game day recipes in our Entertainment Guide, which has a full tailgate party menu, as well as a Super Bowl menu!
2. Beef & Broccoli w/ Peanut Sauce
Sometimes all it takes to entice the kids to try something new is a great sauce for dipping.
I recommend serving this one deconstructed, with the beef, broccoli and rice noodles separate on the plate and the peanut sauce on the side as a dip. This makes the meal look more approachable and also gives the kids a sense of control, which is key for encouraging adventurous eating.
If your child has a favorite vegetable, you may also want to try subbing it in here the first time you make the recipe. Including a familiar and already approved ingredient can go a long way toward encouraging a child to like a new recipe.
3. Pecan Crusted Chicken Strips
I wasn't too surprised to see this one on the kid-favorite list this year. What kid doesn't love chicken strips? And even though this is a much healthier version, I promise it still has all of the elements that make this a childhood classic.
Don't go thinking this one is just for the kids though, it was super popular with our adult Prep Dish subscribers as well! These chicken strips are delicious atop a salad if you feel like making a double batch too.
Want to take it to the next level? Try serving with my homemade paleo ketchup.
4. Moroccan Chicken
I'm not sure what it is about this chicken but it's always been a huge hit with my own sons. Maybe it's the hit of sweetness from the raisins or the warming spices like cinnamon and ginger.
I also find that slow cooker shredded meat is a lot easier for little ones to chew. If you have a child who resists eating meat, it's quite likely because it feels too challenging for their developing chewing skills. I highly recommend trying shredded chicken like in this recipe to see if it's more approachable for them.
5. Cranberry Almond Energy Bites
Energy bites really do make the perfect snack (or healthy dessert!) for kids. They have the sweetness and mix of add-ins that make kids love granola bars, but none of the less-than-healthy ingredients you'll find in store-bought snacks.
Energy bites are also super fun to make with kids. They're no-bake which means there's nothing in them that eager fingers can't taste while making. Plus, the recipes aren't too exact so the tasty little bites won't be ruined if your child gets a bit too enthusiastic when adding the cranberries.
If you need a nut-free version to pack in your child's lunch, these sunbutter bites are a great option as well.
You can't have a kid favorites list without a couple of desserts making the cut, right?
These fudgesicles are so tasty, but the ingredient list is one you'll feel good about. With a base of coconut milk and cocoa powder, they're sweetened with honey. You can control the amount of sweetener you want to add, just taste as you go. The dash of cinnamon adds just enough complexity to make these a big hit with adults as well.
I also love that the coconut milk adds enough healthy fats to make these nice and filling too, not just a hit of sugar and carbs like many desserts.
7. Mocha Mousse
The kids have picked one more dessert to round out the list for you!
This one has only 5 ingredients so it comes together quickly. It doesn't have too much coffee in it but, if you prefer, you can of course use decaf.
Mocha mousse is delicious by itself but it also lends itself to toppings. Set out a few options and let your kids top their own or even assemble a parfait with the mousse. Slivered almonds, mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs and shredded coconut would all be tasty additions.
More Resources for Healthy Cooking for Kids
Many of our subscribers are parents so we've come out with a lot of resources supporting healthy cooking for kids over the years. I've included a few below but also, don't hesitate to post in our Facebook group for tips on feeding the kiddos. We have such a supportive community!
How to Make Healthy Dinners for Picky Eaters: Some children are just naturally pickier than others. It's important to know that so you don't blame yourself! In this post, I share specific, realistic tips for gently helping children to expand their palates, as well as ideas for healthy foods to round out dinner for picky kids.
Family Dinner – How to Make it Work at Every Stage: Do you find that “family dinner” isn't quite what you imagined it would be? Is there too much whining or too much getting up from the table to actually enjoy the meal you worked so hard to prepare? In this post, I share tips for making family dinner work for you, no matter what ages your kids are.
How to Teach Kids to Cook – 3 Healthy Recipes for Kids to Make: Getting kids in the kitchen is a great way to encourage them to try new foods! Cooking with kids can also seem a bit overwhelming when you first get started though. Get my tips for culinary success with your littlest sous chef!
2020 Kid Favorites: For more healthy recipes kids love, check out last year's favorites!