Finding kid friendly healthy meals, and especially healthy meals for picky kids, is tough because kids are all so different. We're here to help with this roundup of gluten free kid favorites! Each of these recipes has been tried and loved by our subscribers (and their kids!) – we hope you love them too. Simple & delicious healthy kid-friendly meals for picky eaters included.
One of the biggest challenges we hear is encouraging kids to eat a variety of healthy food. Finding healthy meals for picky kids, or really any kids for that matter, is challenging!
We took the challenge to our subscribers this year and asked which recipes were a hit with their own real life kids. Some of the results are classic kid favorites while others may surprise you! This just goes to show that it never hurts to serve your child a small portion of a new recipe, even if you're sure they won't eat it. You can't always predict what they're going to love!
I hope you find a new favorite for your own little ones!
Cherry Vanilla Granola is a great alternative to the often not so healthy cereals kids love.
It has all of the crunch and subtle sweetness, without any excess sugar. You can of course add gluten free oats if you'd like a version with grains for your child!
Like all of my favorite breakfast recipes, this one is totally prep-able.
Granola actually freezes quite well. Make a double batch and make your future self so happy with a ready made breakfast for those busy mornings. If you do freeze it, you may want to add the dried cherries separately so they don't harden in the freezer.
This one is also a great one to make with your kids! The recipe is super flexible and mostly involves dumping and stirring, so perfect for even the smallest helping hands.
If you haven't jumped aboard the energy bite train yet, the time has come!
Energy bites make a great, on-the-go breakfast or snack. They're full of protein and healthy fats and naturally sweetened with dates and pure maple syrup. In other words, they're a much healthier alternative to most prepackaged kid snacks.
Carrot cake energy bites in particular have an extra healthy boost from carrots and fresh ginger. These make a wonderful healthy treat in packed lunches!
3. Salt & Pepper Drumsticks
You guys, this one is SO simple, but it's a serious favorite with kids and adults alike. This just goes to show that kid friendly healthy meals don't have to be complicated. Sometimes, simple really is better!
This one is literally just salt, pepper and drumsticks. Bake in a single layer on a baking sheet at 425 F for 35-40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 F.
Drumsticks are also a super budget friendly option so if you're looking to cut your grocery bill (and really, who isn't?), add them into your rotation!
4. Stir Fry
Stir Fry is every busy cook's best friend.
It cooks so quickly and if you chop the veggies ahead (or hey, buy pre-chopped stir fry veggies), it's super fast!
Once you have a go-to stir fry sauce, you can throw pretty much anything into the mix too. Get your children's input on what veggies and protein they'd like to use, cook them in my deliciously simple stir fry sauce and that's it!
5. Grilled Chicken & Corn on the Cob
This is one of my own son, Ivan's, absolute favorite meals. He especially likes it if I use chicken wings which are are easy for his little hands to hold while he eats the meat off the bone.
One thing I like to do is keep the chicken and corn simple on the grill, but make my spicy chili sauce (found in this recipe) for the adults or more adventurous eaters to dip.
Who knew that parsley would be such a kid favorite?
We polled our subscribers though and this one was a hit with the kids! That's good news for you too because the parsley marinade is super healthy. It's packed with herbs, lemon and garlic making a nutrient dense addition to the dinner table.
Bonus? It's just as good on fish and veggies as it is on chicken!
Salmon is an excellent protein for kids. Not only is it full of brain boosting omega-3's, it's also soft and flaky, making it easy for even the youngest members of the family to eat.
Side note – did you know that wild salmon is actually higher in Omega-3's than farmed salmon? Fresh, high quality fish also has less of a “fishy” taste, making it more likely kids will eat and enjoy it. Talk to the person at the seafood counter and buy the best fish that fits your budget!
This salmon recipe is a particular hit with kids. The small amount of maple in the marinade gives it just enough sweetness to make it an instant kid hit.
Meatballs have to be near the top of the list of kid friendly healthy meals. They have so much flavor and, again, are easy to chew, even for babies and toddlers.
Another plus of meatballs is you can easily serve them different ways to please everyone in the family. Serve on zoodles for anyone eating low carb and on gluten free pasta for the kiddos.
If your kids like these as much as mine, make a double batch and stick them in the freezer! They are the perfect thing to pull out and serve for a quick healthy lunch. I also like to have gluten free kid options in the freezer for date nights or anytime I make something spicy.
9. Sloppy Joes
When it comes to kid food, it doesn't get much more classic than sloppy joes!
Unfortunately, the traditional version is not so stellar health-wise. From ketchup and brown sugar in the sauce to white bread buns, it's not exactly a healthy meal for kids.
Enter, the Prep Dish version! Ours has all of the tangy, sweet yet savory flavor kids love, with none of the added sugar. It's delicious for kids and adults alike!
10. Watermelon Pizza
When it comes to healthy meals for picky kids, you can't leave out dessert!
Watermelon pizza became an instant hit with our subscribers' kids and it's easy to see why.
It's super fun and festive but totally fruit-based, making it the perfect healthy treat.
This is a wonderful one to make with your kids! Slice the watermelon and make the coconut whipped cream and then let everyone top their own watermelon pizza. If you're new to making coconut milk whipped cream, make sure to check out my video demonstration!
- 1 small seedless watermelon
- 1 pint strawberries
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1-2 T pure maple syrup (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla*
- 1 bunch mint
- Cut watermelon into circles or wedges for dessert.
- For strawberries, cut off green tops and slice into thin slices.
- In a large bowl combine coconut cream (discard liquid or save for a smoothie) + 1tsp vanilla + 1- 2T maple syrup (optional).
- Use a hand mixer and beat mixture for 1-2 mins until desired texture.
- Lay watermelon slices on plate & layer w/ whipped cream, strawberries, blueberries and mint (can tear mint or chop).
FAQ – Everything You Need to Know about Kid Friendly Healthy Meals
What should kids eat for dinner that's healthy?
Any of the recipes on our Prep Dish blog would be an excellent choice! Kids generally eat the healthiest meals when they eat whatever the rest of the family is having, rather than separate “kid food”.
How do I make a healthy meal plan for kids?
Try our Prep Dish meal plans! While not made specifically for kids, we do design our meal plans with families in mind. I've had SO many Prep Dish subscribers tell me that using our meal plans has broadened their kids' tastes by simply exposing them to so many new flavors and textures.
How do you build a healthy plate for kids?
Make sure your child's plate includes fruits and veggies, protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates. The best way to ensure a balanced plate is to serve whatever healthy meal you've made for yourself, with any necessary modifications like serving a sauce on the side.
What are some tips for healthy kid-friendly meals for picky eaters?
Don't cook completely separate meals for your picky kids. Start with the meal you've made your family as the baseline. Make a few adjustments like deconstructing or serving an item you know they'll eat on the side to make the meal more approachable. The Ellyn Satter Institute is a wonderful resource for feeding picky kids.
What are some other resources for kid friendly healthy meals?
Creating recipes and strategies for kid friendly healthy meals is a big priority for us at Prep Dish! As a mom myself, I know how important it is (and how much pressure you can feel) when it comes to nutrition.
Here are a few of my favorite resources we've created!
Kids Favorite Recipes – Because you can never have too many kid friendly healthy meals!
I know first-hand that feeding kids can bee challenging. I hope this roundup helps you with finding healthy kid-friendly meals for picky eaters. Follow me on Instagram @prepdish for tips on the regular!