Advertising
Advertising

Published on October 12, 2018

15 Flavorful and Healthy Family Meals That are Perfect for Picky Eaters

15 Flavorful and Healthy Family Meals That are Perfect for Picky Eaters

I think you’ll agree with me when I say that finding one meal that everyone in the family likes is a challenge!

But as busy parents we also don’t want to have to make separate meals for the kids either. The good news is there are some amazing healthy family meals out there that are:

  • Healthy
  • Cost-effective
  • Easy top prepare
  • Great tasting
  • Sure to please kids and parents alike

There are a lot of food and recipe sites out there, but we’ve whittled down the thousands of recipes to these top 15.

These healthy family meals are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters and will make a great addition to your dinner table. More importantly, these winning recipes meet the challenge of today’s busy families.

Let’s review the best healthy family meals for your picky eaters!

1. Chicken Pot Pie Turnovers

    This recipe, courtesy of Melissa d’Arabian of The Food Network is delicious, healthy and surprisingly easy to prepare. It’s no wonder it has over 100 reviews and rates 5 stars!

    Melissa is the host of Ten Dollar Dinners and The Picky Eater’s Project. She’s also a mother of four and recent first-time cookbook author.

    This amazing recipe features:

    • Store-bought puff pastry saves a lot of time
    • Only 20 minutes prep time
    • Kids will love the “hot pocket-style” but the flavor of a traditional chicken pot pie

    ~ Check out the recipe here!

    2. Mini Meat Loaf

      This healthy family meal, courtesy of Susie Cover’s book The Supper Club: Kid-Friendly Meals the Whole Family Will Love and published on Parenting.com is a healthy option in that it can be prepared with either ground beef or turkey.

      Kids will love that these fun-sized mini meatloaves are easy to dip in ketchup. They are also perfect for packing for a school lunch or picnic.

      Susie has over 15 years as a professional chef, cookbook author, and founder of a series of prepared food companies.

      This future family staple:

      • Tastes great warm or at room temp
      • Can be formed to any size – no wasted food!
      • Can easily be made gluten-free by using gluten-free panko breadcrumbs

      ~ Check out the recipe here!

      3. Cheesy Cauliflower Pasta

      Advertising

        This delicious and healthy mac ‘n cheese alternative comes to us from Hillary Smith over at Bon Appétit.

        Hillary is the associate marketing director at Bon Appétit, but clearly knows her way around the kitchen too. Here, Hillary does the unthinkable and gets picky eaters come back for seconds on cauliflower!

        This new family favorite:

        • Is easy to make
        • Features delicious parmesan and pine nuts
        • Roasts the cauliflower to get it tender with a deeper flavor

        ~ Check out the recipe here!

        4. Barbecued Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

          This 5 star recipe is from Rachael Ray, courtesy of The Food Network’s 30 Minute Meals.

          This amazingly flavorful dish:

          • Can be made in 25 minutes
          • Is so delicious kids won’t even question eating lettuce
          • Is packed with veggies

          ~ Check out the recipe here!

          5. Eggplant Parmigiana in a Pasta Sauce

          This amazing recipe re-do comes from Ole & Shaina Olmanson and Babble is a much healthier, but just as tasty a version of traditional eggplant parmesan.

          This fantastic dinner option:

          • Cuts the fried eggplant and lengthy prep stages
          • Calls for ground beef but could easily be made vegetarian
          • Tastes even better the next day!

          ~ Check out the recipe here!

          6. Po-tacos!

            This creative reinvention of the classic taco comes from Weelicious founder Catherine and her friend Joanna. The idea is to use a baked potato split down the middle as the “shell” for your taco.

            Of course a baked potato is healthier than a fried taco shell or fat-laden tortilla. But she also gets incredibly creative with the topping options, going far beyond a typical taco.

            This new classic:

            • Has endless filling possibilities from pesto veggies to pulled pork
            • Could easily be made with sweet potatoes instead
            • Only take a whopping 10 minutes prep time!

            ~ Check out the recipe here!

            7. Crispy Chicken, Ham, and Swiss Roll-Ups

            Advertising

              This tasty addition to our healthy family meals comes from Jiselle Basile over at Cooking Light. Jiselle has taken the classic ham and cheese sandwich and reinvented it as a roll-up.

              This “meaty, cheesy, moist and crunchy” treat gets healthy by going in the oven instead of into a frying pan.

              This amazing recipe:

              • Is only 351 calories per serving
              • Uses all white meat chicken and ham
              • Is low in sugar and saturated fat

              ~ Check out the recipe here!

              8. Easy 30 Minute Orange Chicken with Rice

                This amazing redo of everyone’s favorite Chinese takeout comes from Kristen over at A Mind “Full” Mom.

                Kristen has crafted a recipe that is not too spicy or sweet. That makes the kids happy. But it’s has enough complex flavors to have the adults coming back for seconds.

                Healthy family meals never tasted so good!

                This fantastic recipe:

                • Is ready in under 30 minutes!
                • Uses fresh orange juice
                • Skips the fryer and the unnecessary calories

                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                9. Noodle Pudding

                This creative recipe, courtesy of Barbara Wener and Country Living is a great way to get kids to eat cottage cheese and cut the fat from traditional baked pasta dishes.

                Country Living features the best food and drink recipes that are delicious and easy to prepare. The recipe was handed down to Barbara from her mother and remains a family favorite.

                This tasty treat:

                • Has under 400 calories per serving
                • Will have kids gobbling it up like mac n’ cheese

                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                10. One Pan Chicken and Potatoes with Garlic Parmesan Spinach Cream Sauce

                  The key to truly healthy family meals is getting picky eaters to eat their vegetables.

                  This fantastic recipe, courtesy of Christina Cherrier, editor at Eatwell101, does just that.

                  Advertising

                  Christina has crafty a yummy cream sauce that packs a flavor punch of garlic, tomato, spinach, and cheese. Even the pickiest of eaters will be back for more.

                  This amazing dish:

                  • Lightens the fat with half and half instead of cream
                  • Gets kids to eat their spinach
                  • Saves on clean up by using just 1 pan

                  ~ Check out the recipe here!

                  11. Super Easy Skinny Veggie Crockpot Lasagna

                    This no-hassle lasagna recipe, comes to us from Lindsay over at Pinch of Yum.

                    Lindsay and her husband Bjork run both Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro and are here to save us a boatload of time, cutting calories in the process.

                    This amazing dish:

                    • Is all done in the crockpot
                    • Is loaded with veggies
                    • Calls for uncooked lasagna noodles

                    ~ Check out the recipe here!

                    12. Crispy Baked Parmesan Chicken Strips

                      All kids love chicken strips. Thankfully this classic recipe redo skips the fryer and still delivers a delicious healthy family meal.

                      Amy Roskelley, of Super Healthy Kids, walks us through the simple steps to get extra crispy chicken without the deep fryer. Amy is mom of 3 and has a background in health and nutrition and in shows!

                      This amazing dish:

                      • Skips the salt, fast & preservatives of fast food chicken nuggets
                      • Are amazingly crispy
                      • Packs 36 grams of protein per serving

                      ~ Check out the recipe here!

                      13. Sausage, Brocolli & Rice One Skillet Meal

                        This delicious weeknight staple comes to us from Kasey Schwartz over at All Things Mamma.

                        With a hungry husband who helps parent their 3 kids, Kasey knows a thing or two about healthy family meals. Her recipes are designed for busy parents looking for quick, easy and healthy meals during the school week.

                        This tasty mealtime option:

                        Advertising

                        • Is ready in under 30 minutes
                        • Is a great way to get kids to eat their broccoli
                        • Can be made with turkey or chicken sausage to cut the fat

                        ~ Check out the recipe here!

                        14. Baked Chicken Chimichangas

                          This simple, yet tasty Mexican-themed dinner staple comes from Christy Denney over at The Girl Who Ate Everything.

                          Christy makes healthy family meals for her husband and their 5 kids. And with 5 kids, you can bet Christy knows how to please even the pickiest of eaters.

                          This awesome dinnertime staple:

                          • Are oven baked instead of fried
                          • Can be prepared in under 15 minutes
                          • Goes great with guac and low-fat sour cream

                          ~ Check out the recipe here!

                          15. Baked Gnocchi with Sausage, Kale, and Pesto

                            This delicious baked pasta dish comes from Maria & Josh over at Two Peas and Their Pod.

                            Maria & Josh love cooking, entertaining and creating healthy family meals that are simple, fresh, and kid-friendly. We think you’ll agree!

                            This delicious dish:

                            • Is a great way to sneak kale into kid’s diets
                            • Can be prepared in under 15 minutes
                            • Cut even more fat with lower fat sausage and cheeses

                            ~ Check out the recipe here!

                            Did you find some new favorite healthy family meals here?

                            In this post, we looked at the challenge all parents face in creating healthy family meals that everyone in the family will actually eat.

                            Finding ways to overcome picky eating habits with our kids can be a challenge.

                            To help, we researched and found 15 amazing recipes that even the pickiest eaters will love and want more of. So if you’re getting resistance at the dinner table and aren’t sure where to turn, the recipes above will quickly get you what you need.

                            All the winning recipes linked above were hand-selected.

                            They are the answer to your dinner-time problems and will help all parents by removing a little bit of that stress at the end of a long day.

                            Make sure and bookmark your favorites as you’ll assuredly be back for more.

                            Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                            More by this author

                            Jeff Campbell

                            A husband and father trying to help other dads and moms navigate through the worlds of mindfulness, health, parenting, marriage/relationships& more.

                            15 Flavorful and Healthy Family Meals That are Perfect for Picky Eaters 34 Kids Yoga Exercises That Boost Self Esteem (And Physical Flexibility) The Best 10 Types of Exercise for Kids Who Get Too Much Screentime Ultimate Guide to Saving Money Fast and Easy - plant your money and watch it grow The Ultimate Guide to Make Saving Money Fast and Easy How Mindful Meditation Can Improve Your Parenting Style

                            Trending in Physical Strength

                            1 8 Best Cardio Workouts for Efficient Weight Loss 2 Intermittent Fasting Diet for Beginners (The Complete Guide) 3 15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year 4 Do Vitamins for Weight Loss Work And How? 5 5 Simple Morning Workout Exercise to Start Your Day the Right Way

                            Read Next

                            Advertising
                            Advertising
                            Advertising

                            Last Updated on February 21, 2019

                            Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

                            Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

                            Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

                            If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

                            When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

                            In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

                            1. Salmon

                            Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

                            It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

                            Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

                            Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

                            Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

                            Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

                            Advertising

                            2. Blueberries

                            Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

                            Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

                            Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

                            Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

                            Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

                            3. Turmeric

                            Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

                            Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

                            Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

                            Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

                            Curcumin has also been shown to:

                            Advertising

                            • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
                            • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
                            • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
                            • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

                            4. Coffee

                            Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

                            Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

                            Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

                            Coffee can also:

                            • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
                            • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
                            • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
                            • Improve your memory.
                            • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

                            5. Broccoli

                            What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

                            Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

                            Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

                            Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

                            Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

                            6. Bone broth

                            Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

                            Advertising

                            Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

                            Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

                            Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

                            Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

                            With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

                            Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

                            7. Walnuts

                            Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

                            Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

                            Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

                            Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

                            Advertising

                            8. Eggs

                            For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

                            Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

                            Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

                            9. Dark chocolate

                            You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

                            Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

                            Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

                            Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

                            Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

                            Conclusion

                            Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

                            In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

                            If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

                            More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

                            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                            Reference

                            [1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
                            [2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
                            [3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
                            [4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
                            [5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
                            [6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
                            [7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
                            [8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
                            [9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
                            [10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
                            [11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
                            [12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
                            [13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
                            [14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
                            [15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
                            [16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
                            [17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
                            [18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

                            Read Next