5 Kid-Friendly Dinners for Busy Families

Happy children prepares and eats vegetable salad in kitchen

Getting a family dinner on the table is no small feat! That’s why we’re here to help. A family meal is a special occasion to bond with your kids, and it’s a great time to start teaching them the cooking skills they’ll need as adults. For parents of picky eaters, dinner is also the best meal to expose children to foods they’re not familiar with. We’ve rounded up five kid-friendly dinner ideas that’ll do just that. In under an hour, you and your loved ones can enjoy a special, home-cooked meal.

1. Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili with Quick Guacamole

Introduces kids to: sweet potatoes, black beans, tomato, avocado
Total time: 40 minutes

This meatless meal brims with sweet potato chunks and hearty black beans. As the chili simmers, filling your kitchen with fragrant spices, work on the quick guacamole with your child. Get them involved in mashing avocado and measuring out the salsa. Buy the fresh prepared salsa instead of the jarred variety, which has more salt. For some extra crunch, serve with a side of baked tortilla chips.

2. Sichuan-Style Shrimp with Cashew-Snow Pea Stir-Fry

Introduces kids to: bell pepper, snow-pea, ginger, radish
Total time: 40 minutes

Enjoy healthier, homemade takeout with this Asian-inspired spread of sautéed shrimp and snow pea stir-fry. Both dishes call for a touch of spicy ingredients like crushed red pepper, but you can omit these if you like it mild. Older kids can help you trim the veggies or devein the shrimps. In any case, the flavorful sauces will convince those kiddos to eat their veggies! Serve with cooked brown rice for a complete meal. 

3. Chicken Taco Bowls with Jicama-Cucumber Salad

Introduces kids to: jicama, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, olives
Total time: 45 minutes

These adorable taco bowls are easy to whip up, and everyone can have what they want. Bring the taco bowl ingredients and the jicama-cucumber salad to the dinner table deconstructed. Allow your child to create his or her own bowl. Encourage them to load their bowl with the veggies! NOTE: Jicama (aka: yam bean) is a root vegetable native to Mexico that is eaten raw and has a mildly sweet taste. Can’t find jicama at your local grocery store? Never fear — you can still make the salad by substituting the jicama with apples.

4. Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Baby Spinach Salad 

Introduces kids to: tomato, spinach, nectarine
Total time: 30 minutes

Crispy, baked chicken tenders are familiar and a hands-down kid-pleaser. Now, challenge them by introducing a simple spinach salad made with sweet slices of nectarine. While the tenders are baking, work with your child to prep the salad. Even younger kids can mix vinaigrette and toss the salad.

5. Seared Salmon with Braised Broccoli

Introduces kids to: salmon, broccoli, onion
Total time: 40 minutes

Serve up succulent salmon and braised broccoli for an easy Friday night meal. Salmon is naturally high in DHA, a healthy fat that’s good for brain development. Broccoli gets a flavor boost from pine nuts, raisins and onions. All the cooking is done in one saucepan, so clean-up is done in no time!


Looking for more advice on how to keep the whole family eating healthy during your busy schedules? Schedule a virtual visit with a Foodsmart Registered Dietitian; they will help you craft a unique plan for success!


Leave a Comment