It's hard to find quick and easy family dinners that are both healthy and delicious. These 12 fit the bill!
In many ways, healthy eating becomes both more difficult and more important when you have kids.
While it may have been easy to make a beautiful salad for dinner when you were on your own, this isn't necessarily the case when you have little ones to feed. (Side note – my toddler actually does eat salad, but I wouldn't serve it to him as his main meal!)
Beyond toddler tastes, you also have to grapple with time restrictions. I don't know about you, but my kiddos get hangry if dinner starts much beyond 5:30. Gone are the days of leisurely cooking dinner over a glass of wine with no real deadline in mind.
Thus the quest for healthy, quick and easy family dinners begins. Starting with baby led weaning, I've basically fed my kids what we eat since the beginning. So far (fingers crossed!) they have not been picky, but that doesn't mean that certain meals aren't more of a hit than others.
Below you'll find 12 dinner recipes that are healthy, family-friendly and come together FAST. I hope you find a new family favorite!
Quick and Easy Family Dinners
My Chicken Pot Pie Soup has all of the nostalgic flavor of the comfort food classic but without any of the heaviness.
Cashew cream lends the characteristic creaminess to the dish, making this totally dairy free, gluten free and Paleo-friendly. To your kids and family though, it's just plain delicious!
Like many soups, this one is great leftover so make a big pot on Sunday to enjoy all week.
I have another great soup recipe for you! This one is a perennial Prep Dish favorite and many families have told us it's a hit with the kiddos as well.
Bonus tip: If you have a little one who refuses soup, serve it deconstructed.
Just use a slotted spoon to serve them some of the good stuff, without the broth. Then put a variety of toppings like avocado, cheese, tomato, etc., on their plate.
My version of shepherd's pie uses half cauliflower and half potatoes. It keeps the classic creaminess of the mashed potato topping, but with a substantial nutritional boost.
I also like to use ground lamb but you can of course use ground beef or even ground turkey instead if you like.
Like all Prep Dish recipes, this one is meal prep friendly. Just make all of the components and layer them in the dish, waiting to bake until you plan to serve.
Healthy sloppy joes are another classic kid-favorite that's easy to make a bit healthier.
You won't find any ketchup or sugar in my version, but I promise it has all of the tangy sweetness that makes this dish so good. I find tomato paste actually gives plenty of sweetness naturally! Trust me, give it a try.
I love serving these over sweet potatoes, but you can of course serve on buns if you prefer.
Not only do these come together quickly, they're super freezer-friendly!
Make a double batch and stick half in the freezer, you won't regret it. Doubling up on whatever I'm making for dinner is actually my favorite way to stock the freezer. It really doesn't feel like any more work and it means I always have a variety of options ready for those crazy busy weeks.
Anything with toppings is always a hit in my family. Everyone can choose what they like and I find a little bit of a choice goes a long way with kids.
This slow cooker beef is great on tortillas, rice, cauli rice or even atop a hearty salad!
I particularly love making things like this when I have guests. Lay everything out buffet-style and let people build their own creations.
This next one is near and dear to my heart because it was one of my son Ivan's favorite first foods when we did baby led weaning.
It remains a family favorite in my house, for kids and adults alike! The slight sweetness from the raisins makes it highly palatable to kids while the combination of spices gives it a complexity of flavor that makes it appealing to adults.
To prep ahead, simply chop the onion and make the spice blend during your weekly meal prep. Then throw everything in the slow cooker (or Instant Pot) on the day you plan to serve!
Sheet pan meals have taken off in popularity for good reason. They come together quickly and cleanup is SO easy!
My version has fewer than ten ingredients and I find the roasted fennel really gives it an elevated flavor. The chicken and potatoes are familiar enough to make this totally approachable for kids though.
Chop the veggies (except the potatoes!) ahead of time and this one will only take you a few minutes to get in the oven. Another bonus of sheet pan meals is once you get it in the oven, you can help with homework, read a storybook or simply relax while it cooks!
Sometimes incredibly simple recipes are the best, especially when you're looking for quick and easy family dinners.
This is one of those simple recipes. It only has 7 ingredients, most of which you probably already have on hand.
If your kids don't love seafood, I recommend serving with a veggie or side you know they love. This strategy helps them not immediately refuse dinner upon sight.
I've got another slow cooker one for you here! Chicken Verde is great because it's so versatile. Make it into tacos (or quesadillas for the kids!), rice bowls, salads, etc.
If you haven't tried my favorite “cook once, eat twice” meal prep strategy, this chicken is a great candidate.
Make a big batch of chicken verde and use it for tacos. Then, a couple of days later, use the leftover chicken atop a salad for another meal that doesn't feel like leftovers.
This takeout-inspired meal comes together quickly but is full of big flavors. The cashews give it the perfect crunch.
Cashew chicken is another one that's quite versatile. Serve over rice or rice noodles or, if your family doesn't do grains, go for cauli rice or zoodles!
Prep this one ahead by making the sauce, chopping ginger, garlic and green onions and slicing the chicken ahead of time. Doing just a bit of quick meal prep like this makes weeknight dinners so much easier!
Have you tried cooking rutabagas?
Combining a new-to-the-family food with foods they already know and love, like apples, is a great way to introduce a new ingredient. Plus pork and apples are such a wonderful combination, made even better by the addition of rosemary.
This is a one-pot meal so clean up is super quick!
How Meal Planning Websites (like Prep Dish!) Can Help
Whether you're looking to save time (no more scrolling Pinterest for quick family recipes!) or you want to get out of a cooking rut and broaden your recipe repertoire, meal planning websites can help.
Prep Dish is a meal planning website that provides subscribers delicious, healthy meal prep meal plans each and every week.
What does that mean?
Every Friday we send our subscribers four meal plans, all designed for meal prep. Subscribers can choose between gluten free, paleo, low carb (keto) and our newest super fast meal plans. Plenty of our subscribers don't follow any particular diet and just want healthy meals for their families.
So what is a “meal prep meal plan”? Instead of simply providing healthy recipes for the week, our meal plans all include 3 components:
- Organized Grocery List: This list is not only organized by sections of the grocery store, it also notes which meal each grocery item is needed for. This makes it super easy to customize the meal plan for your own family! For example, if you want to make all of the dinners from the meal plan, but not the breakfast, you can easily cross off all of the breakfast items from your grocery list. (This video one of our subscribers created shows this process really clearly!)
- Prep Day Instructions: Our prep day instructions walk you through how to meal prep meals for the week, in the most efficient way possible. This includes things like washing and chopping produce, making sauces and marinades, etc.
- Dish Day Instructions: Finally, the dish day instructions include the minimal last-minute cooking you'll need to do the day you serve the meal. This might include throwing everything in a crockpot or quickly sauteing shrimp and pre-prepped veggies.
If this sounds like something you'd like to try, I'd love to offer you a free trial to Prep Dish to see how a meal planning website can make your life easier. Just click below to try it for free!