20 quick and easy dinner ideas your kids will love

If you have kids at home, you know all about the dinner rush. No one has time to spend hours in the kitchen on top of helping with homework, driving to after-school activities, and getting ready for the next day. Quick and easy dinners are the name of the game when it comes to cooking kid-friendly dinners.

If you’re one of the many parents struggling to figure out what to make for dinner, bookmark this page ASAP to have 20 quick and easy dinner ideas your kids will love right at your fingertips.

And then, for more healthy food tips, check out 8 Healthy Dessert Ideas Your Kids Will Love.

Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

Avoid fast food and try homemade versions of the classic burger. Made with ground beef and all the toppings, including a “special sauce”, this dish is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.

Get our recipe for Copycat Big Mac.

keto cheeseburger casserole 2
Carlene Thomas / Eat This, Not That!

A cheeseburger casserole is a dish that can be made ahead, ready to cook and enjoy on busy weeknights. A blend of ground beef and other tasty ingredients makes this a delicious casserole that’s totally kid-friendly.

Get our Keto Cheeseburger Casserole recipe.

holding a steak fajita topping with tongs from an Instant Pot
Kiersten Hickman / Eat This, Not That!

Fajita party can be ready in minutes by leaning on your Instant Pot. Loaded with steak and nutrient-rich vegetables, this dish is always a crowd pleaser.

Get our instant steak fajitas recipe.

Healthy apple and bacon grilled cheese
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

Think you can’t do better than a grilled cheese sandwich? Think again. Add savory bacon and apples into the mix for an elevated sandwich that will make dinnertime easy and airy. Serve this sandwich with a salad or vegetable soup for a balanced meal.

Get our Apple Bacon Infused Grilled Cheese Sandwich recipe.

Healthy Turkey Sloppy Joes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

This simple one-pot dinner is ready in minutes and packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. Skip the sloppy joe canned solutions and try this homemade version.

Get our recipe for Turkey Sloppy Joes.

Bowls of Cheddar Broccoli Copier Soup
Kiersten Hickman / Eat This, Not That!

If your kids love Panera soups, this recipe is sure to be a winner. But instead of being higher in calories, this hearty recipe is much lighter. Pair this soup with a small baked potato or a whole grain bun for a hearty meal.

Get our Copycat Panera Cheddar Broccoli Soup Recipe.

Low calorie chicken pot pie
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

A classic chicken pot pie is a perfect dinner on chilly nights. Pre-bake this pie for a quick and easy dinner that just needs to be warmed up before eating.

Get our chicken pot pie recipe.

Low Calorie Sausage Lasagna
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

Assemble this dish before a busy night out and cook it when you’re almost ready for dinner. This cozy dinner has all the flavors kids seem to love, all in one pot. Combine it with a green salad and voila!

Get our Chicken Sausage Lasagna recipe.

Four pork carnitas tacos on a plate
Kiersten Hickman / Eat This, Not That!

It’s easy to make slow cooker pork carnitas tacos. Preparing this dish takes less than 10 minutes. Simply combine all the ingredients in your slow cooker and you’ll have a hot meal waiting for you come dinnertime.

Get our slow cooker pork carnita tacos recipe.

Healthy Chicken and Meatballs
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

Hearty and wholesome chicken and meatballs are quite an appealing dish. Have your kids help you cut the dumplings for fun in the kitchen.

Get our chicken and meatballs recipe.

TaterTot Casserole
Courtesy of The Cozy Cook

Rely on pre-made tater tots for a kid-friendly ooey-gooey dish that’s simple to make and fun to eat. Popular in Minnesota, this dish is perfect for busy nights with the kids.

Get the recipe from The Cozy Cook.

honey garlic prawns
Courtesy of The Cozy Cook

This Honey Garlic Shrimp is an easy stir-fry recipe with nutrient-dense vegetables and a sweet and savory sauce that you can serve over rice.

Get the recipe from The Cozy Cook.

cheddar stuffed sweet potatoes barbecue turkey meatloaf
Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

Give ho-hum meatloaf a little more excitement by combining ground turkey with sweet potato, stuffing it with cheddar cheese, and topping it with barbecue sauce. By following just a few steps, you can also serve your family this unique meatloaf.

Get the recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.

jar of spiral macaroni and cheese with cauliflower
Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

Upgrade the classic mac and cheese by adding cauliflower for a nutritional boost. If your kids can use more vegetables in their diet, this recipe is for you.

Get the recipe from Half Baked Harvest.

cheeseburger salad in a bowl
Courtesy of How Sweet Eats

Even if your kids aren’t salad eaters, they’ll love this dish. Like a deconstructed burger without the bun, this salad is bursting with flavor. Eating this salad is a fun way to “do” burger night in a unique way.

Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats.

meatball stir-fry recipe
Courtesy of Sweet Phi

Meatballs make a delicious addition to stir-fries. Easy, satisfying, and ready in under 30 minutes, this dish is sure to find a place in your dinner rotation.

Get the recipe for Sweet Phi.

Healthy Chicken Fried Rice
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

Instead of having chicken fried rice, make this dish for a healthy and hearty dinner. Loaded with veggies and simple to make, this dish can be great to cook up when you have extra rice on hand.

Get our chicken fried rice recipe.

chicken margherita pasta
Courtesy of The View From Great Island

Combining classic Italian flavors with a roast chicken will make for a kid-friendly pasta dish that’s packed with nutrients. With very little effort, you can make this pasta dish and take pride in knowing that your family is enjoying a healthy and totally accessible dish.

Get the recipe from The View From Great Island.

Paleo Oven Fried Chicken
Mitch Mandel and Thomas McDonald

Of course, the classic fried chicken is absolutely delicious. But eating foods that are deeply friendly isn’t the best practice to help keep kids healthy. Oven “fried” chicken provides a crispy dish without the added fat that comes with the classic version.

Get our oven fried chicken recipe.

Salmon Burgers with Coleslaw Recipe from Pinch of Yum
Courtesy of Pinch of Yum

Many children do not eat enough seafood each week. Including salmon burgers can help them reach their quota in a quick and delicious way.

Get the recipe for Pinch of Yum.

All of these meals are fairly easy to prepare and can save you time and energy during the busiest days, while giving you peace of mind as a parent that your children will be eating healthy, low-carb foods. fat and added sugar and packed with lots of nutrients. Choose your favorite from the list above and enjoy a delicious family meal.

Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC

Lauren Manaker is an award-winning dietitian, book author and recipe creator who has been practicing for nearly 20 years. Learn more about Lawrence

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