dipping a crispy baked chicken nugget in honey mustard

Healthy Kid-Friendly Dinner Ideas

Healthy kid-friendly dinner ideas that are perfect for busy weeknights! You’ll find plenty of quick & easy meals, plus delicious recipes with global flavors that even picky eaters will love. These kid-friendly dinners will be family favorites!

Meal times have become quite the production here at Ambitious Kitchen. Now that we’re exploring all types of foods with Sidney I’ve found myself getting extra creative to find different way to introduce him to new foods. Good news – he loves his mama’s cooking!

I put together over 50 healthy dinner ideas for kids that are not only nourishing and packed with nutrients for growing kids, but are also incredibly delicious and fun. They’re recipes your kids (and you!) will actually want to eat.

Tips for cooking healthy dinners for kids

  • Are your kiddos hating all veggies right now? Sneak them in with recipes that use veggies as a binder like meatballs, burgers and even pizza crust.
  • Try out different types of protein for extra nutrition. I’ve included tons of recipes using plant-based protein, seafood, chicken and more that you can experiment with and even double up on.
  • Let them have fun and eat with their hands! Lots of these recipes make great finger foods for kids that will make dinnertime (a little messy) but even more fun for them.
  • Don’t be afraid to share something new with them. Who knows, your Kraft mac-and-cheese-loving kiddo might like a cozy pot of pumpkin pasta even better!

I broke down these kid-friendly dinners into tacos & enchiladas, pasta & noodles, soups, chilis & grain bowls, global flavors (must try!), sandwiches, burgers & wraps, meatballs & loaves and healthy twists on comfort food classics. There’s truly something for every kiddo and adult in this roundup.

If any of your kids are nut-free check out our full nut-free category for tons of great recipes.

P.S. Looking to add veggies to every meal in a delicious way? I have a FREE email series with tips, tricks and veggie-packed recipes to enjoy at every meal – desserts included! Click here to get signed up.

I’ve also marked these recipes gluten free, vegetarian and nut free for ease, but be sure to check out each recipes’ notes section for ways to adjust as-needed.

Vegetarian = VT. Many recipes can easily be made vegetarian, just check the notes section of that recipe.

Gluten free = GF. Use corn tortillas, gluten free buns, pastas breadcrumbs and flours where recipes call for it.

Nut free = NF. Keep recipes nut free by using olive oil instead of coconut oil, regular milk instead of nut milk & omitting any nut garnishes.

Tacos & Enchiladas

lifting a slice of vegetarian enchilada skillet out of a pan

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchilada Skillet VT, GF, NF

Chipotle Black Bean Roasted Veggie Enchilada Casserole VT, GF, NF

Amazing Easy Turkey Tacos (with a slow cooker option!) GF, NF

Damn Good Salmon Taco Bowls For Two GF, NF

Chipotle Chicken Tostadas with Pineapple Salsa GF, NF

Jalapeño Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos with Avocado-Lime Crema VT, GF, NF

Vegetarian Plantain & Black Bean Taco Cups VT, NF

Pasta & Noodles

healthy tuna noodle casserole in a pan with a wooden spoon

Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole GF

Zucchini Mac and Cheese VT, GF, NF

The Best Healthy Turkey Lasagna You’ll Ever Eat GF, NF

Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese VT, GF

Vegetarian Spinach Pumpkin Lasagna VT, GF, NF

Stovetop Southwest Tuna Mac and Cheese GF, NF

Saucy Baked Pumpkin Pasta GF, NF

Incredible Caramelized Onion Spinach Chicken Pasta Bake GF, NF

Spinach Garlic Parmesan Orzo with Crispy Bacon GF, NF

Roasted Butternut Squash Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Couscous NF

Soups, Chilis & Grain Bowls

chicken soup in a bowl

The Best Chicken Soup You’ll Ever Eat NF

The Best Healthy Turkey Chili GF, NF

Healthy Chicken Pot Pie Soup (whole 30, dairy free) GF, NF

BBQ Ranch Chicken Quinoa Bowls GF, NF

Healthy White Chicken Chili GF, NF

The Best Minestrone Soup VT, GF, NF

Mom’s Slow Cooker Beef Stew GF, NF

Slow Cooker Black Bean Pumpkin Turkey Chili GF, NF

Lightened Up Cheddar Cauliflower Broccoli Soup VT, GF, NF

Actually, the Best Vegetarian Chili Ever VT, GF, NF

Delicious Global Flavors

Puerto Rican rice and beans in a bowl

Mom’s Authentic Puerto Rican Rice and Beans VT, GF, NF

Healthy Orange Chicken Stir Fry with Coconut Cauliflower Rice GF

Sheet Pan Moroccan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes & Cauliflower GF, NF

Mama’s Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice (Arroz con Pollo) GF, NF

One Pan Tandoori Chicken with Spiced Coconut Rice GF, NF

30-Minute Sesame Chicken Green Bean Stir Fry GF, NF

Mama’s Chickpeas in Sofrito with Arroz con Gandules VT, GF, NF

One Pan Thai Coconut Yellow Curry Chicken & Rice GF

Sandwiches, Burgers & Wraps

buffalo zucchini chicken burger with a bite taken out

Buffalo Zucchini Chicken Burgers GF, NF

Incredible Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Sandwiches GF, NF

Vegan Pecan Apple Chickpea Salad Wraps VT, GF

15-Minute Sweet Potato Salmon Cakes GF, NF

Meatballs & Loaves

chicken quinoa enchilada meatloaf muffins in a muffin tin

Cheesy Chicken Quinoa Enchilada Meatloaf Muffins GF, NF

One Pan Ginger Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce GF

Cheddar-Stuffed Sweet Potato BBQ Turkey Meatloaf GF, NF

Juicy Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce with Burrata GF, NF

Mom’s Ultimate Vegetarian Lentil Loaf GF, NF

Sheet Pan Zucchini Chicken Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce GF

One Pan Cilantro Chicken Meatballs in Mango Coconut Sauce GF

Healthy Twists on Comfort Food Classics

dipping a crispy baked chicken nugget in honey mustard

The Best Crispy Baked Chicken Nuggets NF

30 Minute Healthier Turkey Sloppy Joes with Homemade Sauce! GF, NF

How to Make the Best Cauliflower Pizza Crust VT, GF

Vegan & Gluten Free Curry Chickpea Pot Pie with Sweet Potato ‘Crust’ VT, GF

Tofu Vegan Nachos with Cashew Cheese Sauce VT, GF

Baked Paleo Chicken Tenders with Honey Mustard Dip GF

Lightened Up Chicken Pot Pie NF

Delicious Zucchini Pizza Crust Recipe VT, GF

I hope you and your kids love these delicious, healthy kid-friendly dinners ideas. If any of them are a hit with the family be sure to leave a comment so I know which ones they loved!

5 Secrets to Healthy and Delicious Desserts

5 Secrets to Healthy and Delicious Desserts

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