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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

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        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

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              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.

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                  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:

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                        • 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.

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                            Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                            Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                            Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                            1. Exercise Daily

                            It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                            If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                            Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                            If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                            2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                            Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                            One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                            This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                            3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                            Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                            Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                            Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                            4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                            Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                            The basic nutritional advice includes:

                            • Eat unprocessed foods
                            • Eat more veggies
                            • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                            • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                            Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                              5. Watch Out for Travel

                              Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                              This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                              If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                              6. Start Slow

                              Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                              If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                              7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                              Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                              My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                              If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                              I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                              Final Thoughts

                              Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                              Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                              More Tips on Getting in Shape

                              Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                              Reference

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