Ah, the age-old battle: picky kids vs. healthy meals. Search “recipes for picky kids”, and you’re likely to find fifty different ways to make various dishes taste like pizza. Don’t get me wrong, I too have created my fair share of pizza quesadillas and pizza pasta casseroles, but I’d much prefer to cook something delicious and on the healthier side.
I’m sharing my tried-and-true kid friendly recipes for picky eaters! As the temperatures heat up, keep them happy without sacrificing your own culinary tastes – or abandoning those seasonal veggies – with these summer dinner ideas for kids.
Healthy Orange Chicken
Say goodbye to Panda Express takeout! This orange chicken recipe comes together with one pan in 30 minutes and offers a healthier – but just as tasty – kid-friendly dinner. The sauce is so good that I’ve even tossed in some broccoli, with minimal complaints from the kids! Taking the time to whip up some homemade fried rice or chow mein to pair with this orange chicken is a must.
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
This is arguably the most iconic recipe for picky kids. Are they adamantly against veggies of all kinds? The sneaky veggie recipe route is always a success. Cauliflower lends extra creaminess to this mac & cheese, without leaving a discernible trace for picky eaters to complain about.
Peach and Tomato Salad with Sizzled Halloumi
I would say it’s worth buying Cook This Book from Molly Baz for this recipe alone (and it is!) but this cookbook is so packed with unique and delicious kid friendly recipes that it was hard to choose just one for this post!
This salad is perfection. Sweet, savory, packed with delicious cheese… what’s not to like? Pair with grilled chicken for extra protein. This has been my absolute favorite summer dinner idea for kids this year.
Lamb Ragu with Carrots and Green Garlic
Another great summer meal idea that “hides” a vegetable. This ragu takes a bit longer to make, so plan it for a slower weeknight or weekend dinner. It’s worth the time! Finely chopped carrots form a sweet and mellow base for the sauce, and green garlic enhances this sweetness.
You can easily substitute regular garlic if you can’t find green garlic at the farmer’s market. I’ve also substituted the lamb with ground bison and ground turkey, but I really do recommend sticking to the lamb if your picky kiddos will allow for it! It’s divine.
Crispy Rice Bowls with Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are, in my opinion, the most kid-friendly vegetable out there. Sweet, versatile, and delicious whether baked, mashed, roasted, or grilled. This vegetarian rice bowl has a lot of fun flavors going on – fried eggs, pillowy rice that’s beautifully crisped, an herby tahini sauce, and tender sweet potatoes caramelized with spicy honey.
The entire dish is picky kid approved, but cooking up the sweet potatoes this way on their own is also a perfect idea. We’ve made these sweet potatoes with pan-roasted chicken and broccolini, or as an accompaniment with steaks and burgers.
Even More Summer Dinner Ideas for Kids
Quick Mid Week Bison Burger Recipe
Hopefully these recipes are loved by even your pickiest eater! For more easy dinner ideas, check out this post about healthy weeknight meals.
What are your go-to kid friendly recipes for picky eaters? Add your suggestions in the comments below!