40 Family Dinner Ideas for Kids
These delicious and healthy dinner ideas are toddler and kid-friendly! Perfect for the entire family, get some inspiration and shake up your typical weeknight meal.
Medically reviewed and co-written by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and Lauren Braaten, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT).
Healthy Dinner Ideas for Kids
It’s the age-old question – what’s for dinner🤔?!
Feeding your tribe healthy and yummy meals every night can sometimes feel like the hardest part of an already hard day. And let’s face it, we are all guilty of cycling through the same 3 or 4 meals that we know the entire family will enjoy.
These easy dinner ideas for kids will hopefully break out of your meal planning rut and give you some fresh dinner inspiration 💡.
With dozens of dinner recipes for kids to choose from, like my crazy good Chicken Parmesan Meatballs, Easy Cheesy Garlic Broccoli Pasta and Healthy Chicken Nuggets with Green Bean “Fries,” there are zero reasons to be in a dinner food slump. If you need toddler and kid smoothie, breakfast or lunch ideas, I have those too, plus plenty of healthy popsicle recipes to choose from as well.
Plus, these dinner recipes aren’t just for kids and toddlers; all of them are great for the whole family 👨👩👧👦, meaning that you don’t have to cook separate meals… which, quite frankly, is exhausting!
Need More Dinner Ideas? I’ve got your family covered with amazing family-friendly dinner recipes in my best-selling cookbook, Little Foodie: Baby Food Recipes for Babies and Toddlers with Taste.
Family-Favorite Pizza Pinwheels Video
Watch this video to see how easy these pinwheels can be to make!
Best Toddler and Kid Eating Essentials
Make mealtimes less of a battle with your toddler and kids, more enjoyable and a lot less messy! These are my top picks for toddler and younger kids’ mealtime products.
- cups (great for smoothies)
- booster seat
- suction plate
- kid chopsticks or food picks (makes new items fun to eat)
- silicone muffin molds (separate or highlight foods that are new)
Tips for Easy Family Dinners
- Prep Ahead – To save your sanity during the week – prep one or two items that you are planning on using for dinners that week on the weekend – chopped an onion, marinate some chicken, make a veggie-loaded pasta sauce, etc. It doesn’t have to be an all-day event. Even 30 minutes of prep time goes a long way.
- One Meal for Toddlers, Kids and Adults – Make one dinner for toddlers, kids and you! I developed these recipes for toddlers and kids, but I eat them as well! Don’t think that you have to make an extra meal just for yourself. I sometimes add sriracha, a large green salad or more veggies to my portion depending on what the recipe is, but the base recipe is always the same.
- Plan Ahead – The one thing that has helped me endlessly is meal planning. I choose my meals for the week, go shopping once and then everything is there when I need it. I never worry about what I’m going to make that evening and I can also plan to cook double batches for freezer meals.
All-Time Toddler Favorites
- Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
- Healthy Chicken Nuggets with Green Bean “Fries”
- Taco Tuesday
- Baby’s First Bolognese
- Crispy Seasoned Fish with Pineapple & Avocado Chunks
Kid-Friendly Recipes on Repeat
- Easy Cheesy Garlic Broccoli Pasta
- Mild Curry Chicken & Veggies
- Kale Pesto Chicken Quesadilla
- Mini Bagel Pizzas with Pepper “Sprinkles”
- Family-Favorite Sheet Pan Shrimp Tacos
- Easy Pizza Pinwheels
Nutritional Tips for your Family
Eating healthy for the whole family does not have to be complicated. Kids learn by example so if they see you eating the same meal they have, they will be more likely to eat it. Here are a few tips to make it easier on the whole fam.
- Ideally, plates should be made up of ½ fruits and vegetables, ¼ whole grains and ¼ protein with a serving of dairy at each meal. But don’t worry if your or your child’s plate doesn’t always look like this (or they don’t always eat a balanced meal). Just try to make it even out throughout the week.
- Eating together as a family, without distractions like the TV or phones, tends to create healthier eating habits for kids, and they learn healthy eating behaviors from others at the table.
- Don’t worry if your child doesn’t eat everything on their plate. Kids need to learn to honor their hunger and fullness cues so no more “Clean Plate Club.”
- Serve small portions so kids do not feel overwhelmed but what is on their plate. They can always ask for seconds if they want more.
- Offer a variety of foods from all five food groups each day. Variety is key when trying to prevent picky eating, but remember it may take up to 10 times for a child to accept a new food so don’t be discouraged if they don’t eat something on the first try.
- A good rule of thumb to follow when feeding kids is: Parents choose when and what foods to offer and children decide how much to eat and whether they eat at all.
Chicken Parmesan Meatballs for the Whole Family
Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
Easy Garlic Broccoli Pasta
Easy Salsa Chicken Tacos
Family Favorite Sheet Pan Shrimp Tacos
Mild Curry Chicken and Veggies
Easy 35 Minute Veggie Pizza Pinwheels
Salmon Pasta with Peas
Family-Favorite Pumpkin Pasta
Kid-Friendly Pumpkin Risotto
Healthy Chicken Nuggets with Green Bean “Fries”
Creamy Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese
Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce
Crispy White Fish with Pineapple & Avocado Chunks
Easy Veggie “Fried” Rice for Baby + Toddler
Favorite Cauliflower Tots
Crispy Herb Salmon Bites for Baby + Toddler
Taco Tuesday for Baby
Baked Seasoned Tofu Finger Food Nuggets
Baked Seasoned Chicken Tenders
Curry Pasta Salad for Baby + Toddler
Mexican Sweet Potato Boats
Kale Pesto Chicken Quesadilla
Baby’s First Bolognese
Easy Broccoli Mac and Cheese
Pesto Rainbow Pizza
Black Bean Tostadas with Strawberry Salsa
Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apple Slaw
Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce
Kid-Approved Summer Veggie Pizza
The Best Kid-Friendly Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Mini Bagel Pizzas with Pepper “Sprinkles”
Family-Friendly Fiesta Bowls
Family-Friendly Chicken Chili Verde
Easy Tomato Soup with Cheesy Bread Dippers
Easy-Peasy 5 Veggie Pasta for Baby
Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Bites
Avocado Tuna Salad in Mini Pita Pockets
Tortellini On-a-Stick with Marinara Dipping Sauce
Summer Pesto Finger Salad for Baby + Toddler
Mini Chicken + Carrot Meatballs
Kale + Spinach Quesadilla
Harvest Chicken Salad
Tofu Sticks with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Get the recipe: 40 Family Dinner Ideas for Kids: Pumpkin Pasta
- 16 ounce pasta, regular, gluten-free, lentil, chickpea, etc. (any shape you like)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup veggie or chicken broth
- 3-4 tbsp cream or canned coconut milk
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- pinch nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil and cook pasta according to instructions on the package. Before straining, reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan pour in the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add in the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Add in the pumpkin puree, tomato paste, and broth and bring to a simmer, stir until combined. Reduce heat to low and add in the cream, balsamic vinegar, nutmeg, and salt and pepper, stir and let simmer while pasta cooks.
- Strain pasta and transfer to saucpan of pumpkin sauce. Stir in the pasta, adding the reserved water in 1/4 cup increments to thin out the sauce. I used the entire 1 cup of water for the recipe in the pictures above.
- Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with parmesan (if using).
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7 Comments on “40 Family Dinner Ideas for Kids”
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Please share how to do it. My toddler has been picky now a days. I find it difficult to choose a food for her. Thanks
Thanks for sharing these amazing recipes, planning the dinner really makes my head spin. These recipes will help me a lot.
So glad you are here and found this post helpful:)
I love your website – I have used it so much in the transition from puree to finger food to family meals my 10 month old can manage. However… I would love to purchase the Kindle version of your recipe books and when i sign in with my Australian log in it only offers me the print version. Just wondering – is this something you as the seller can do anything about? My bookshelves won’t hold any more printed recipe books!
Thank you for being here! For my books, my publisher takes care of all of the printing and kindle versions. I know that my book isn’t licensed in all countries. You can do a google search of my book and kindle version to see if any local independent stores carry it. So sorry I can’t help more. Good news – I have a ton of recipes on my site for free! So that may work as well.
I love your writing on toddler and kids. Your post is very much helpful and informative. Keep up the good work and present us your best.
Thank you so much for your kind words! I really appreciate that you are here.
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