Three Healthy (and Kid-Approved) Dinner Ideas to Try this Week
If you’re struggling to get dinner on the table, help is on the way! Instead of spending time on a complicated recipe, invite your family to help create a healthy dinner bowl they’re going to love.
If you have a picky eater, here are some easy kids dinner ideas, that the whole family will love. The idea is super simple: Start with a base (like rice, grains or greens), add some protein and then get creative with toppings. All you have to do is choose a theme, like Mexican or Italian, and then set out the ingredients for your family to add the flavors they like best.
Bowls are a fun supper option to introduce new foods, use up leftovers, create family interaction in the kitchen and placate even the pickiest eater. Because everyone makes their own (with some help for the littlest kids), it’s an easy way to please tiny tots, hungry teens, vegetarians and gluten-free diners without feeling like a short-order cook. Plus, preparing the ingredients in advance equals less stress when dinnertime rolls around.
Here are a few ideas to get you started, but mix and match to create your own signature dish.
Healthy Asian Dinner Bowl
If you’re craving Chinese food, hold off on ordering takeout. Instead, whip up bowl at home that will satisfy your craving and save your budget. Add a vegetable dumpling or two for heartier appetites, or swap the dumplings in place of the chicken for a vegetarian meal. Give everyone a pair of chopsticks to try a new way to eat their veggies.
• Base: Jasmine or brown rice
• Protein: Grilled chicken in Teriyaki sauce
• Veggies: Edamame, snow peas, steamed broccoli, shredded carrots, cucumbers
• Extra Toppings: Sesame seeds, green onions, peanuts, crunchy noodles, soy sauce, sesame dressing
Healthy Mexican Dinner Bowl
Why not try something new for Taco Tuesday? Mexican-inspired bowls are a fun twist on an old favorite, and it’s an easy way to sneak in a few extra veggies. For more hands-on fun, set out cubed avocado, cilantro, chili powder and lime wedges, and let everyone make their own tableside guacamole.
• Base: Yellow rice, quinoa, baby greens or a mixture
• Protein: Lean grilled steak or turkey taco meat
• Veggies: Corn, diced tomatoes, colored peppers, red onions, purple cabbage
• Extra Toppings: Tortilla chips, salsa, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, ranch dressing
Healthy Italian Dinner Bowl
Set out noodles, tempting toppings and marina or alfredo sauce so each diner can create their own Italian masterpiece. Invite helpers into the kitchen to make warm breadsticks from refrigerated dough and reward everyone with a scoop of fruit sorbet for dessert.
• Base: Whole wheat penne, rotini or your favorite pasta shape
• Protein: Italian chicken sausage or seasoned shrimp
• Veggies: Steamed broccoli, sautéed kale or zucchini “noodles” (use a veggie peeler to make slices and quickly sauté in olive oil).
• Extra Toppings: Baby mozzarella balls, fresh basil, shredded parmesan, olive oil, pesto, marinated olives, artichoke hearts, cannellini beans or garbanzo beans
Fridge fillers! Have dinner ready in a snap with these go-to items:
• Microwaveable quinoa, lentils, mixed grains or rice pouches
• Rotisserie chicken
• Canned beans
• Frozen vegetarian crumbles or patties
• Italian-style, Caribbean-style or stir-fry frozen vegetables in steam-able packages
• Pre-washed leafy greens, shredded carrots and ready-to-cook veggies
• Sesame and olive oil
• Salad dressings