50 Healthy Kids Dinner Recipes

Healthy Kids Dinner Recipes

I started this blog post before I started the Healthy Kids Dinner Cookbook, but you can see here where a lot of the inspiration came from for the recipes included in the book. These aren’t all of the recipes that are in the book and there’s certainly enough in here for another book…but that’s another day!

Healthy kids dinner recipes are more a physical challenge for me. I hate dinner time. There I’ve said it. With a 3 yr old and a six year old it is the biggest hurdle of my day. Negotiating lower prices with suppliers is far easier than getting two children to eat all of their dinner. I’m sure if I fed them fish fingers and chips with lashings of tomato sauce every night they wouldn’t complain, but I want them to eat well. I want them to eat a variety of foods. I want them to embrace food like I do and look forward to trying new foods for the taste explosion it might bring them. God…it’s really all about what I want isn’t it?!

And so I challenged myself to find fifty healthy kids dinner recipes, either ones I currently make, or ones I can try and hopefully add to my collection. Luckily my kids don’t have any food allergies apart from the usual kid gripes, no lettuce, spinach, can’t mix foods (!), one doesn’t eat meat apart from the meats I don’t want him to eat (sausages, bacon and salami).

I’m currently working on a little trick that one of the other mums at school gave to me. I’m giving them a small bowl of vegetables before dinner. Usually about 20 minutes before dinner. So all the veg get eaten first and then I don’t have to grumble too much at dinner time, because I don’t care so much if they don’t eat the meat or starchy stuff (although there will never be a day when they don’t eat the starchy stuff – look out for the flying pigs!). So we’re currently doing edamame and broccoli and I’ll put a bit of tamari on them or some salt or butter. And so far so good! Kale chips are in the mix sometimes as are peas.

And these recipes are just for them. I still cook two dinners as my husband and I aren’t ready for dinner at 5.30pm and finding recipes to please four people is so much harder than finding recipes to feed 2! At the moment Sunday is the only night we eat together.

VEGETARIAN/VEGAN

  1. Slow Cooked Baked Beans – Martha Stewart
  2. Vegie Sushi – Taste.com.au
  3. Gluten Free Rocket Cheddar Muffins – Healthy Seasonal Recipes (serve with kale chips)
  4. Broccoli & Cheese Patties – Foodlets (please sub garlic powder for garlic)
  5. Cheesy Jacket Potatoes – Food Network (the pic includes broccoli, but the recipe doesn’t so throw it in!)
  6. Loaded Vegetarian Baked Sweet Potato – Skinny Taste
  7. Summertime Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce – Cookie and Kate
  8. Vegetables in a Creamy Pesto Sauce – Paleo Leap
  9. Maple Miso Tofu with Soba Noodles – Craving Something Healthy
  10. Quinoa, Black Bean & Corn Tacos – Cooking Classy
  11. Mini Veggie Pizzas – Vegan Yack Attack
  12. Lentil Tacos – Alida’s Kitchen
  13. Veggie Enchiladas – Super Healthy Kids
  14. Burrito Bowl – Forks over Knives
  15. Mushroom Vegan Sloppy Joes – The Restless Palate
  16. Burritos with Spanish Rice and Black Beans – Forks over Knives
  17. Zuchinni Noodles with Pesto – Two Peas in a Pod
  18. Vegan Vegetable Fritters – Ascension Kitchen
  19. Vegan Oven Baked Mexican Quinoa Casserole – Vegan Angela
  20. Lentil Loaf – Oh She Glows
  21. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers – My Whole Food Life
  22. Cheese and Zucchini Frittata – Good to Know
  23. Spaghetti Squash Cakes, Peanut Butter Mole & Mexican Slaw – Made Just Right
  24. White Bean and Avocado Baked Burritos – Ceara’s Kitchen
  25. Zucchini and Spaghetti Pancakes – Real Simple

FISH

  1. Grain Free Salmon Nuggets – Real Food RN (sub onion and garlic for the powdered stuff and I skip the shredded coconut. Serve with steamed carrots and sweet potato chips)
  2. Sweet Potato Rosti with Smoked Salmon – Paleo Leap
  3. Fish Fingers & Mushy Peas – BBC Good Food
  4. Salmon Wrapped Leaks au Gratin – French Foodie Baby
  5. Clean and Light Sushi Bowl – Wake the Wolves (pick and choose what your kids will eat)

CHICKEN

  1. Coconut Chicken Nuggets – Fast Paleo
  2. Mini Broccoli Frittatas with Turkey bacon – Smart Eating for Kids (serve with raw veggies)
  3. BBQ Chicken with Corn Rice – BBC Good Food
  4. Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Chips – BBC Good Food
  5. Kale Sneak in Meatballs – Primavera Kitchen
  6. Hairy Bikers Spanish Style Chicken Bake – Good To Know
  7. Slow Cooked Chicken Tacos – Nourishing Meals
  8. Honey Soy Chicken Wings – The Australian (omit chilli, maybe swap Asian greens for something a bit more kid friendly like edamame. We swap soy for tamari.)

BEEF/PORK

  1. Gluten Free Italian Meatloaf Muffins – Produce for Kids. If you’ve got time, soak your own beans first, or look for BPA free can of cannellini beans. Serve with veg.
  2. Beef and Sweet Potato Cottage Pies – Louise Fulton Keats
  3. Meatballs Baked in Tomato Sauce on Polenta – Simply Delicious Food
  4. Healthy Kale Fried Rice – Moi
  5. Pork & Pineapple Kebabs with Green Beans – Foodlets

SIDES

  1. Sweet potato chips – Sarah Coates
  2. Kale chips – Oh She Glows
  3. Tom’s Perfect Mashed potato – Country Living
  4. Steamed broccoli – Simply Recipes
  5. Boiled peas – BBC Good Food
  6. Roasted Vegetables – Damn Delicious

My book contains heaps of healthy kids dinner recipes and is available on Kindle:

Raw Thai Coleslaw

Raw thai coleslaw

Raw thai coleslaw

Once the weather warms up just a little I get all excited and think RAW! My husband is a big fan of coleslaw, sadly mostly of the variety that comes in a plastic container from the supermarket. But watching him eat it every week always makes me think a) I should really make it for him, b) how much sugar is in that dressing, c) I wonder if he’d eat a raw version and d) gosh he’s spunky (ok so I’m not really thinking that – I am truely not one of those gushing wives, just thought I’d throw it in as he sometimes reads these to see what I’ve written about him…oops now I’m busted.) Read more

Cauliflower, Chickpea and Kale Curry

cauliflower chickpea curry

cauliflower chickpea curry

As you guys in the Northern Hemisphere enjoy the heat, our lovely winter weather has turned bitter and cold. And there’s only one thing for bitter and cold windy days – hot food!

I’m currently borrowing River Cottage Veg Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from the library. I loved his River Cottage TV show as he keeps his recipes simple, using fresh, whole food ingredients and minimising waste (like using all of the cuts from a sheep or chicken – okay, not entirely appropriate on a vegan post – but he’s waving the flag for ethical treatment of animals so you’ve got to give him props for that!). Read more

Quinoa & Salmon Patties

Salmon & Quinoa Patties

Salmon Quinoa Patties

I couldn’t get this picture of quinoa patties out of my head from Cook Republic. After pinning them on the quinoa pinterest board, later in the day I thought they’d be good for the little man, so I pinned them to the kid food board (which is in need of more inspiration so keep your suggestions coming please!). So flying solo tonight, with the husband interstate for a few days, I thought I’d try them out.

Side note: I do tinker with a lot of recipes when my husband is out of town. If your husband is of the same variety (meat & 3 veg) you might want to serve these for a light lunch rather than dinner. I don’t want any marital discord on my hands…

I wanted to remove the gluten (bread) and add some fish – having just visited the cash’n’carry on the weekend and acquired 24 tins of wild Alaskan salmon. So I served these with a mixed salad, kale chips and baked sweet potato (1hr in the oven).

You could easily substitute the tin salmon for some fresh, sustainable salmon. BTW I’m having big issues with fish and sustainability at the moment – anyone else? I feel comfortable with my free range butcher, but apart from this canned wild salmon (hardly my first choice), where does one turn for fresh, sustainable, wild fish?

I’d love to tell you the little man ate all of his patties, but alas, no. He did at least try one, which is a big step from a few weeks ago, thanks in part to “French Kids Eat Everything” – my current favourite read!

Quinoa & Salmon Patties
Wunda Woman Wellness: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tin wild salmon (105 grams)
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, chopped and cooked with quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 sticks of fresh thyme, leaves removed
  • 3 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
Instructions
  1. Mash all ingredients, except oil, in a bowl.
  2. Make into about 10-15 balls and squash down.
  3. Place on a plate in the freezer for 10 mins
  4. Heat oil in frypan on medium high heat and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
  5. Serve with salad and baked sweet potato.

 

Downton Abbey {Free Range} Roast Chicken

Downton Abbey Chicken

Downton Abbey Chicken

I was planning to do just a recipe post of roast chicken and vegetables as we have this dish every Sunday night. But Sunday night is marked by several occasions for me. First is, this is the only meal that is repeated in our house every week. Second is it is currently the only night we have set as an early dinner so we can eat with the little man. He’s not much of a meat/vegetable eater so we’re trying to encourage him to eat more, have better table manners, achieve world peace etc etc. And finally the reason you are all here, it’s Downton Abbey night.

Now just so you don’t get the wrong impression, I really don’t plan my meals around TV. In fact Downton is only the TV I watch, apart from the occasional Doc Martin or Death in Paradise, oh and maybe a little Homeland, but I digress.

So I had taken some rather rushed pictures of the roast last weekend, but as it was night time and I had the lights on they were really awful. At 6.30 I felt I couldn’t keep the little man waiting any longer, his usual dinner time is between 5-6…anyway the pictures were rubbish, although Lord Grantham thinks it is all right (see above).

As I sat down to watch Downton later that night, they were eating a roast. So I thought I’d do some awesome photoshoping to give you these Downton Roast Chicken pics. And I’d also get you to think about a having a Downton dinner every Sunday.

What is a Downton dinner? Well, lets think about it. All the food eaten at Downton Abbey would either be grown on their land, or by their tenants or Mrs Patmore would buy it from a local supplier. It is likely that all the food consumed at these lovely dinners would have been raised or grown within a 100km radius.

Shooting at Downton

Their chickens would be real free range. In the way most of us visualise free range, you know chickens roaming around on rolling hills, with not another chook in sight…instead of the likely scenario where your free range chook could be sitting in a shed with hundreds of other chickens and has never been outdoors.

The free range chickens I buy from the farmers markets I know have a good existence, but if I miss the markets then we buy a free-range or organic chicken from our local supermarket.  I don’t like buying the free range chickens much from the big supermarkets as the free range boundaries are really pushed to their limits. I know it’s not really feasible that a chook I pay $8 for has had an excellent, free range existence.

For example, did you realise that in Australia and NZ there are no binding laws that define what free range actually means (Source: Sustainable Table). As such, your “Free Range” chicken could have spent its entire life crammed up indoors, never finding that little pophole that leads outside.

Downton Abbey Dinner The US is in a similar situation, as the USDA regulations do not specify the quality or size of the outside range nor the duration of time an animal must have access to the outside. So your “Free Range” chook could have also spent its entire life indoors (Source: USDA).

Matthew Crawley What’s all this got to do with Downton Abbey Roast Chicken? Stay with me just a little longer…here I’ll even through in a brooding picture of Matthew just to keep your attention a little longer…

 

 

What’s a girl to do to source an ethical bird, free of hormones just like the Grantham’s? Well, your local farmers markets are your best bet. You can make sure their birds come from proper free range producers by asking some questions, and you can check the links at these ethical sites:

Now you have you real free range chicken, let’s get cooking on your Downton Dinner. Try to only use fresh ingredients from your state/county/territory/region. I’m pretty sure Mrs Patmore never got asparagus from Mexico (as seen recently in Australia in my local supermarket!). The recipe below is for two adults and one little person. We always have ample left over chicken for salads, sandwiches or rice paper rolls the next day. And don’t forget to keep your carcass for stock.

Downton Abbey Roast Chicken
Wunda Woman Wellness: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Ingredients
  • 1 free range or organic chicken
  • 2 white potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
  • 1 large organic sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil (or at least a few good lugs)
  • 1 organic zucchini
  • ½ head broccoli, cut into chunks
  • 2 organic carrots, sliced any way you want
  • 1 cup organic frozen peas
  • lemon juice (optional)
  • gravy (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C
  2. Place the white potatoes in some water in a pan and bring to the boil.
  3. Drain potatoes and keep the water.
  4. Pour the grapeseed oil into an ovenproof baking dish and pop into the oven to heat for a few minutes. Bring it out and put in your chicken and potatoes for 20 minutes.
  5. After this, turn oven down to 175°C and throw in the zucchini whole.
  6. Depending on the size of your chicken it will take about 1 - 1½ hours to cook through. The potatoes and zucchini are fairly flexible and can be cooked more or less than this.
  7. Test your chicken by piercing the skin. If the juices run dry, pick out the chicken, place on a carving board and cover with a tea towel or foil. Also put a tea towel underneath the carving board to stop the juices running.
  8. Now heat up the water you saved from the potatoes and throw in the carrots for 3 minutes once it is boiling. Then throw in the broccoli and peas for another 3 minutes or so. Do not put the lid on!
  9. You can then use this water again for a gravy or keep it for vegetable stock.
  10. Serve up. I eat my broccoli, carrots and peas with a squeeze of lemon juice, but the English husband still demands gravy... so Downton.