Do you find yourself flipping through cookbooks and struggling to come up with healthy dinner ideas that satisfy the whole family? We all know how picky our little ones (and even teenagers) can be at times. It can often feel as if we’re serving mini food critics or Michelin star chefs. But have no fear, these 15 healthy family-friendly dinner recipes will bring you those well-deserved five star reviews.
Eating healthy is just one of the many battles we face in the kitchen. We know healthy cooking on a busy weeknight may feel daunting, especially if you work full-time or simply don’t want to be in the kitchen. Don’t get overwhelmed though, because with a few kitchen hacks and some good inspiration, you will be cooking delicious, simple, and healthy meals that everyone in the family loves in no time!
Healthy cooking can be as simple as you want it to be, from this 30-minute one-pan tasty chicken to a healthy one-pot pasta. There are so many creative ways to simplify your cooking process while providing a healthy hearty meal that everyone can enjoy.
Instead of thinking about cooking dinner as a chore, make it a hands on family event that involves everyone in the cooking process; you may be surprised who takes over and comes to life. Studies show that kids who cook tend to form healthier diet habits in the future. Plus, it’s a great bonding activity and shows your family the true effort that goes into everyday cooking.
We have spent lots of time curating and testing the best recipes from the most popular cooking and recipe sites on the internet so that you don’t have to waste your time!
15 Healthy Family-Friendly Dinners
There are endless healthy and hearty recipes just waiting to be tapped into, the hard part is finding the good ones. One of the tricks for preparing family meals is to keep it as simple as possible, offer options, and try to use the least amount of cookware as possible. We all know the worst part of cooking is the cleaning process, so why not make it easier for everyone?
Read on for 15 heart-healthy recipes, from one-pot meals, to vegan options, to chicken bakes, we are confident there is at least 1 or 2 you and your family will love. We offer a little bit of something for everyone. Our motto is: keep it simple, but flavorful and beautiful!
Who can go wrong with tasty roasted chicken and vibrant vegetables? This 30-minute meal is bound to be a weekly repeat. All you have to do is chop, season, and bake! An easy one-pan meal with close to enough clean-up!
Try serving with quinoa, rice, or pasta. Or turn this meal into a roasted chicken and vegetable salad with your favorite dressing. The opportunities are truly endless with this go-to sheet pan chicken and rainbow vegetable.
For a busy weeknight, try this healthy one-pot pasta packed with nutrients. It is very easy to make and can be cooked and served in less than 30 minutes. Using common ingredients like onion, pepper, mushrooms, broccoli and tomato sauce, this dish is convenient and simple.
One-pot pasta is a versatile kitchen hack for families looking to make quick large meals with less mess. One of the biggest downfalls to cooking is the cleaning part, so make your life a bit easier with this great tasty recipe.
This meatless Monday, try a plant-based lasagna for a new way to get your kids to eat more vegetables. This lasagna is filled with diced vegetables, tomato sauce, and a delectable cashew sauce (that will blow your mind). Feel free to use whatever vegetables you have on hand, from bell pepper to butternut squash. The options are limitless for what you can do with this lasagna.
Get the family involved in the layering phase and watch them take over the entire process! For super fussy eaters, mince the veggies small so they are almost unrecognizable. With the delicious sauce and noodles, they won’t even know the difference. Getting kids to eat healthily can be as simple as disguising vegetables in sauces and/or various textures.
Who doesn’t love a delicious bowl of warm lentil soup? Lentil soup is a super convenient and budget-friendly meal to have on hand during the week. This one-pot recipe is made with simple and everyday ingredients that are budget-friendly and easy to prep. It will leave you feeling nourished and happy. Pair with your favorite garlic bread or go for a soup and sandwich combo.
This meal is virtually fat-free, naturally vegan, and packed with fiber and nutrients. You can even switch chopped vegetables with a mix of frozen vegetables to make this recipe even easier. Just make sure to use fresh onion and garlic, which will always provides an incomparable flavor, especially in soups.
This comforting chicken broccoli casserole is quick, easy, and kid-approved. Try using skinless, boneless chicken breast since it is lower in fat and calories than other cuts of chicken, and removing the skin further reduces the amount of fat.
This is another dish where you can use a dairy-free cashew sauce that is creamy and delicious. Combined with whole wheat or gluten-free pasta, this nutritious meal is ready for all eaters to enjoy in just 30 minutes.
Never underestimate the power of a casserole. This mighty mushroom casserole is indulgent, savory, and paleo-friendly. Free of dairy and gluten, this casserole will have you saying winner winner chicken dinner! The secret ingredients remain in the cashew butter, which as we have seen is a staple to have in the pantry.
Cashew butter is a healthier alternative to bringing dishes that richness and creaminess we often derive from dairy products. A perfect dairy-free alternative and option for feeding picky eaters or those with allergies. This recipe also uses spiralized, or ribbonized, zucchini to replace pasta noodles, making it gluten-free and a low-carb meal. Plus it only takes 30 minutes to make! What more could you ask?
Prep this meal ahead of time for a quick reheatable dinner during the week. This recipe requires little effort (and skill) and really is a delicious fail-proof meal that will most likely become a recurring weekly staple. Try serving the enchiladas with fresh guacamole, salsa, or plain Greek yogurt!
This simple one-pan dish is flavorful and also another creative way to hide vegetables in a cheesy kid-proof sauce. For even quicker preparation, freeze enchiladas and simply reheat them in the oven or microwave for those unexpected busy days.
Following the Mexican trend (because who doesn’t love Mexican food?), we present the healthy one-pot Mexican Quinoa. Quinoa is an awesome nutrient-dense grain that is high in protein, gluten-free, and lower in calories than rice or pasta. It is a great way to build a nutritious meal, especially when paired with vegetables and legumes.
Mexican quinoa can be prepared in less than 30 minutes and uses super budget-friendly ingredients such as canned beans, corn, and easy-to-find spices like cumin and chili powder. Simply boil, cover, and cook for 20 minutes for a full meal. This is one more great dish for weekly meal prepping. This dish can be served as a side or main since quinoa is rich and filling and contains 15 grams of protein per serving.
This vibrant one-pan meal featuring omega-rich honey mustard salmon and rainbow veggies is perfect for a colorful and nutrient-dense dinner. We are sure this meal will become part of your kitchen repertoire for its simplicity and deliciousness. Try swapping various veggies, spices, and seasonings for infinite versions of this easy 30-minute meal.
The sweetness of the honey makes for a more kid-friendly approach to salmon. Feel free to mix up which veggies you use according to taste preference. For a simpler version, you can use frozen vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, or squash. Serve with brown rice or quinoa for a more complete meal
10. Easy Sushi Bake
Stay true to the trends with this viral, easy-to-make, deconstructed version of sushi that has all the components of sushi but is baked in one casserole pan! There are so many variations on this recipe, and it offers an easy and more affordable way to enjoy sushi with the family. It’s a time efficient dish, yet it still offers the same flavors and textures as traditional rolled sushi. For a vegetarian version, try swapping the tuna with a chickpea tuna spread and be amazed by how similar this is to real tuna.
Sushi is naturally a healthier alternative since it is loaded with vegetables and fresh fish. For this easy sushi bake, just scoop a serving onto some seaweed, wrap it up and you are ready to go!
Or, simply serve it alone; Both are equally delicious.
Fulfill all your BBQ cravings with this minimal keto-friendly chicken dish made with only seven ingredients. There is almost no clean-up for this healthy BBQ chicken dish, and it will leave you wanting more and more. Trust us when we say this recipe is fire and fool-proof.
We recommend checking out Primal Kitchen’s keto-friendly BBQ sauce for a healthy and delicious alternative. Or if you want to go all out, try making your own low-carb and sugar-free BBQ sauce. One major hack for healthier eating is learning how to make our own favorite sauces and spreads, which are often heavily processed and filled with unnecessary sugars and additives. This easy keto meal can be prepped in five minutes and ready on the table in 30! Voila! Dinner is served.
You really can never go wrong with fried rice, especially when it is packed with nourishing ingredients and ready to serve in 15 minutes. Traditionally, fried rice is used with a lot of oil and sodium which is not the most heart-healthy. This budget-friendly recipe prepares the ingredients in a healthier way, with less oil and sodium, leaving you with a beautiful veggie-dense bowl of fried rice.
Replace soy sauce with tamari (gluten-free), low-sodium soy sauce, or coconut aminos. The flavors remain the same but the sodium content is dramatically reduced and won’t make you feel heavy and bloated. Feel free to replace fresh veggies with frozen vegetables like peas, carrots, and broccoli for an even easier recipe. Garnish with fresh green onion and have yourself a perfect dinner.
Calling all curry lovers, here’s a recipe those on the pick eaters list will enjoy. This simple chicken curry is seriously a game-changer, especially for the pickiest eaters that won’t even look at a vegetable. This hidden vegetable chicken curry uses four different vegetables: cauliflower, carrot, red pepper, and zucchini, which are all blended with spices to create a beautiful sauce.
Any leftover sauce can also be used for another dish, either with another meat or just with rice. Hey, maybe the kiddos will even enjoy it as a puree! Try playing with various spices and vegetables and see what comes through. This is a full-proof method for sneaking more vegetables into your family’s diet.
Have you ever tried twice-baked loaded sweet potato skins? These are seriously one of the best ways to use sweet potatoes, especially for a hearty family dinner that is easy to prepare with minimal ingredients.
The filling mixture uses mashed sweet potato with an assortment of veggies, black beans, yogurt, cheese, and spices. Serve with fresh guacamole, sour cream, or salsa for an even more colorful meal There are endless ways to modify this recipe; You can try using any type of mixture or filling you like, or mixing up the sauces and seasoning.
Make a quick and healthy version of the classic sloppy joe by cutting back on the sugar and ketchup and using lean beef and beans. This 20-minute meal is a filling, delicious, and comforting dish that is bound to bring back some nostalgia. This is weeknight meal perfection and seriously so easy to make! You can also use the leftover filling to make another dish during the week, such as tacos or a sloppy joe pasta bake.
Try opting for reduced-sodium Worcestershire and no-salt tomato sauce to ensure this dish stays low sodium and even more heart-healthy. Traditionally, sloppy joes are made with high-sodium and sugar products like ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire. To make this recipe even healthier, replace the brown sugar with honey and make your own low-carb ketchup.
Let’s Wrap it Up
Remember, we know it’s hard at the end of the day to make a healthy family meal, but it is important for several reasons:
- Provides Essential Nutrients: A balanced and healthy meal includes essential nutrients that support growth and development, such as protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. A diet that lacks these essential nutrients can lead to deficiencies and health problems.
- Promotes Healthy Habits: Family meals are an opportunity to model healthy eating habits and encourage children to try new foods. Children who regularly eat family meals are more likely to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and less likely to consume junk food and sugary drinks.
- Helps Maintain a Healthy Weight: Eating healthy and balanced meals can help prevent obesity and related health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. Family meals provide an opportunity to control portion sizes and monitor the types of foods consumed.
- Strengthens Family Relationships: Eating together as a family creates a sense of unity and strengthens family relationships. It provides an opportunity to connect with one another and share experiences, thoughts, and feelings.
- Saves Time and Money: Planning and preparing healthy family meals can be cost-effective and time-saving in the long run. It reduces the need for eating out, which can be expensive and often includes unhealthy choices.
Overall, healthy family meals provide numerous benefits, including improved physical health, mental health, and family relationships. So crack open that cookbook, or take a one of our recipes here and go enjoy that meal together!
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