By now, most of us have eased into our back-to-school schedules and routines. And, if you are like me, you are making and effort to include regular family dinners as part of those schedules and routines.
You have no doubt heard before that having consistent family dinners, in which everyone sits down together and talks through the day, can go a long way towards strengthening your family. It provides time for you to connect with your partner and with your children, and there is evidence to suggest that making family dinners a priority can help children and teens perform well in school (and may even help their emotional health!)
And it’s not just big kids who benefit from family dinners; having regular dinners together helps babies and toddlers learn how to behave at meal time, and it may even help encourage them to try new foods.
But making sit-down family dinners a priority is easier said than done. Preparing a healthy, nourishing dinner takes time, but fast and easy options are often unhealthy. What’s a parent to do?
5 Healthy, Fast, Kid-Approved Weeknight Dinners
Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice time for quality (or vice versa). We’ve scoured the web on your behalf, and have rounded up 5 weeknight dinner recipes that are fast and easy to prepare. They’re healthy, too. And the best part? They’re kid-friendly; even picky eaters will be happy at dinner, if you serve up these recipes!
Photo credit: Parenting.com.
(from Parenting.com) Every kids loves pizza; put a new spin on an old favorite by serving them pizza in sandwich form! This recipe is incredibly fast to prepare – 7 minutes, from start to finish! It is a versatile dinner idea, too; the recipe suggests toppings, but you can use any pizza toppings that your family prefers. And the best part, in my opinion? This dinner is portable. Have evening sports practice to get to? Make these sandwiches, wrap them up, and eat them on the go. Read the full recipe here: Pizza Panini Recipe.
No-Bake Veggie Macaroni & Cheese
Photo credit: (from Eatingwell.com.
(from Eatingwell.com) Mac & cheese is a favorite meal in my home, but I don’t make it often, since it’s so high in fat and calories. This healthier version solves that problem, however; it provides all the warm, creamy goodness of mac & cheese, but it gets a healthy boost from the whole wheat pasta and the addition of broccoli. Little one not a broccoli-lover? That’s okay; substitute a vegetable she does like. This recipe is another quick one to prepare; it’ll take just 20 minutes to whip up the homemade cheese sauce, steam the veggies, and boil the noodles. Read the full recipe here: No-Bake Macaroni & Cheese Recipe.
Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets
Photo credit: Skinnytaste.com.
(from Skinnytaste.com) If my kids could eat chicken nuggets 3 time a day, they would. To say they’re nugget fans would be an understatement! Unfortunately, fast-food nuggets aren’t healthy options, and the frozen, bagged kind from the grocery store aren’t much better. Enter these healthy, from-scratch nuggets! Made with white meat and a few basic pantry ingredients, these nuggets are baked, making them substantially healthier than their fast-food counterparts. And they’re quick to make; cut chicken breasts into small pieces, coat, and bake for 12-15 minutes. Just be sure to have plenty of dipping sauces on hand; your kids will no doubt love being able to dunk these in a sauce of their choice! Read the full recipe here: Healthy Baked Chicken Nugget Recipe.
Ravioli & Zucchini Lasagna
Photo credit: Delish.com.
(from Delish.com) Have a veggie-hater in your family? Let me clue you in to something I’ve learned: cover veggies with marinara and cheese, and almost every kid will eat them with a smile! That’s the beauty of this recipe, a twist on classic lasagna. Instead of lasagna noodles, it uses ravioli (a kid favorite) and layers it with strips of zucchini. Odds are, your kids won’t even notice the zucchini in there. This recipe takes a little longer than the others; it’ll need to bake for 20 minutes. That can be a good thing, though; use that time to do a quick clean-up of your kitchen, so that you have less to straighten up and wash after dinner’s over. Read the full recipe here: Ravioli & Zucchini Lasagna Recipe.
Maple Bran Waffles
Photo credit: Babble.com.
(from Babble.com) What’s this? A breakfast recipe in our post about weeknight dinners? No, it’s not a mistake; it’s breakfast for dinner! Most kids love the fun of eating breakfast food at dinnertime, and these healthy, fiber-filled waffles make a great breakfast-for-dinner choice. Packed with bran, these waffles are far healthier than the pre-packaged, frozen versions. They’re quick to prepare, too. Top them with some fresh fruit and a dollop of whipped cream for a truly decadent dinner! Read the full recipe here: Maple Bran Waffle Recipe.
Your turn, moms and dads: what are your fast, healthy, go-to weeknight recipes? Share your favorites with us!
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