Healthy Dinner Ideas That Are Easy For Your Family

Finding healthy dinner ideas for the family can be difficult for most of us at one time or another. Factors like ages of family members, certain dietary restrictions, picky eaters, and schedules all play a role. This post is going to give you 18 yummy healthy dinner ideas that will work for the whole family.

It was during the school year and I had a second grader, preschooler, was working part time for my private practice and building my online practice plus sports was in full mode. I remember trying to cook a great meal that everyone loves but it was so so hard.

I like to eat plant based, my husband kinda just eats what I make but sometimes misses our old meals with a little animal protein in them, and my oldest is a little picky plus has food allergies. I felt stuck. I wanted my oldest to be eating all this plant based goodness but I found it hard to transition so quickly.

It was actually creating more stress for my family because 1. Transitioning to a plant based diet and especially when trying to transition your kids over to that diet needs to happen very slowly and 2. When you have food allergies that is relatively still newly diagnosed it’s so important to have meals that are “just wins” for your kids (as my husband would say).

Afterall, mealtimes should be about family time, communicating, sharing thoughts, feelings, and laughter about the day. It shouldn’t be a time of stress and frustration. Giving you some of our favorite Healthy Dinner Ideas is a place to start.

Over the past year I’ve worked super hard to provide my family with meals made from real whole foods but also meals that everyone enjoys! I’ve put together some healthy dinner ideas that my family enjoys with the hope that they will inspire you! I hope these meals give you ideas that you can put your own spin on for your family!

Healthy Dinner Ideas

  1. Salmon on the grill or roasted in the oven with Baby Potatoes and Sugar Snap Peas
    • Season the salmon with coconut aminos, sea salt, and pepper
    • Toss baby potatoes with olive oil, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and pepper. Place on a roasting pan.
    •  Toss with olive oil, sea salt, and zest from one lemon.
    • Heat oven to 425 and start cooking potatoes for 15 minutes. At the 15 minutes mark put the sugar snap peas and salmon on the pan. Cook until done, about another 15 minutes
  2. Grilled Portobello with baked potato and broccoli 
    • Season portobello with montreal steak seasoning and coconut aminos (fill up the cap).
    • Wash potatoes and leave wet. Sprinkle garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper on the outside.
    • Cut broccoli.
    • Bake or grill the portobello. We like to grill the mushroom cap facing up then drain the liquid at the end.
    • Bake potato in the oven on 400 for about 45 minutes. Serve with vegan butter (earth balance), nutritional yeast, cheese, sour cream or vegan sour cream, etc.
    • Steam broccoli
  3. Air Fryer Tacos 
    • Gluten free tortilla wraps OR 100% whole wheat, cashew, spinach tortilla (your choice)
    • Lay flat and fill half with either a dairy free cheese or organic shredded cheese
    • Add black beans, rotisserie chicken, spinach, onions, peppers, mushrooms, whatever your family enjoys.
    • Fold tortilla in half and sit upright in the airfryer. Place tacos next to each other so they are laying upright beside each other.
    • Cook on 375 for about 10 minutes until crispy.
    • We like to top with salsa, shredded lettuce, olives, tomatoes, and avocado or guacamole
  4. Enchiladas 
    • HERE is a recipe from my blog for the yummiest enchiladas. If you don’t want to make vegan you can just use organic cheese, cream cheese, or sour cream. You can also leave out the cheese too!
    • You can use any type of beans. I prefer chickpeas but black beans, pinto beans, or lentils work well too.
    • You can also use 1 shredded chicken breast and the other half use beans to add some extra plant power.
  5. Delicious Sheet Pan Dinners 
    • These are also from another post I did awhile back. I love these because you just throw everything on a pan and call it a day! So easy to make. Check these healthy sheet pan dinner ideas HERE.
  6. Breakfast For Dinner 
    • Eggs or tofu scramble (just toss eggs or crumbled tofu in a pan with some vegan butter and season with Everything But The Bagel Seasoning. Heat and cook on med heat until done.
    • Bowl of fruit (I am famous for just throwing some fruit in a bowl and serving family style. Easy and everyone can get what they want.
    • Sourdough or Gluten Free toast with toppings like butter, nut butter, preserves, blueberries, sliced bananas (you can also add some chia or hemp seeds to toast for extra omegas and fiber).
  7. Grilled Shrimp and Veggie Skewers 
    • Local, wild caught shrimp marinated in italian dressing or garlic powder and pepper.
    • Pick veggies that your family enjoys and add a new one to the skewer too. Something like squash, pineapple, sugar snap peas, and onions would be something I might do.
    • Put the veggies on a skewer and the shrimp on a seperate skewer so they cook evenly since the shrimp cooks fast.
    • Cook some brown rice with half water/half veggie broth on the stove.
  8. Brown Rice and Veggie Bowl 
    • Cook brown rice in half water/half veggie broth on the stove
    • Saute veggies of your choice. You can cheat and buy a frozen bag of stir fry veggies. Just make sure there are no extra sauces in the bag.
    • I like to use a tsp or tbsp of sesame oil, sesame seeds, and some coconut aminos to season and cook the veggies. Saute on the stove on med heat until tender but still crisp.
    • You can add seared tuna or organic chicken to this if you want. You can also deconstruct for kids and instead of having everything mixed together, separate it on their plates.
  9. French Bread Pizzas with salad 
    • Gluten Free french baguette (like Udi’s) or a 100% whole grain, whole wheat, or sourdough french baguette.
    • Cut baguette in half and spread pizza sauce on top of bread.
    • Pizza sauce (1 can of tomato paste with 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, pepper, 1 tsp basil, and 1/4 tsp oregano).
    • Top with dairy free cheese, organic shredded mozzarella, or leave off cheese.
    • Top with favorite toppings. I tend to do one veggie (mushrooms, onions, pineapple, jalapeno (on half), and nutritional yeast. The other usually has a couple pieces of Applegate nitrate free pepperoni slices. I cut them in half so I don’t use as much.
    • Serve with a salad of your choice.
  10. Chickpea pasta and veggies 
    • Barilla chickpea pasta (rotini or another style works)
    • Cook pasta according to package
    • Season with vegan butter (earth balance), garlic salt, and pepper.
    • Add frozen veggies or mix of your child’s preferred veggies. Cook with seasoning then add to pasta.
    • You can top with vegan parmesan cheese, regular parmesan cheese, or nutritional yeast.
    • Serve with apple slices, orange slices, or berries
  11. Lentil Spaghetti 
    • Use a whole wheat pasta, veggie pasta, bean pasta, or chickpea pasta. We prefer the chickpea rotini pasta or chickpea spaghetti noodles since we are gluten free. Cook as directed. Toss with some butter or a small amount of sauce so they don’t stick together.
    • Steamed lentils from trader joes, fresh(you just need to soak or boil hard before cooking), or canned (low sodium). Cook spaghetti sauce in a pan and add lentils until heated through.
    • Serve with a salad, raw veggie sticks like carrots, cucumbers, radishes, or fruit in the middle of the table (family style)
  12. Loaded Baked Potato 
    • Wash potatoes and sprinkle with garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper
    • Bake in the oven on 400 for about 45 minutes or until done.
    • Pick what toppings you want (examples include: shredded organic chicken, sliced nitrate free turkey, mushrooms, green onions, onions, peppers, cheese, broccoli, peas)
    • Cook toppings if needed
    • Once potatoes are done, cut in half. Gently scoop out potato mixture and place in a bowl. Then add in toppings and mix together. Spoon back into the potato skins and heat in the oven until thoroughly heated.
    • If your kids are not into mixed foods but they do like potatoes you can do a couple things: You can just let them pick what toppings they want and place on top. You can seperate toppings out on their plate and they can just eat everything separated. YOu can also serve just the crispy potato skin with a side of their choice.
  13. Easy Fried Rice
    • I like this recipe right HERE because it was easy and healthy and also makes a great side dish.
    • I made a couple substitutions and here they below:
      • Used riced cauliflower (Costco has a great one in the frozen section) with peas/carrots (3 cups) instead of brown rice. You can also use a mix of brown and white rice if your kids are still eating white rice.
      • Used olive oil instead of vegetable oil. If you want to leave the oil out you can use water or veggie broth. I do this a lot and veggies saute nicely this way.
      • Used  coconut aminos (gluten free and a lot less sodium) instead of soy sauce (3 tbsp instead of two)
      • Used 3 cups shredded cabbage instead of 2 cups
      • You can totally use frozen veggies; I used a frozen bag of stir fry veggies and pre-shredded green/purple cabbage with carrots
  14. Portobello Philly Cheese Sandwich with diced potatoes, and corn on the cob 
    • Wash portobellos and sprinkle with Montreal Steak seasoning (or seasoning of choice).
    • Add in a few dashes of coconut aminos (GF) or soy sauce to the cap.
    • Cut up some onions and peppers and place in the mushroom cap.
    • Cut up some potatoes (red, yellow, and/or sweet potatoes) and toss with olive oil and garlic powder. Place on baking sheet and roast until crispy (about 20-25 minutes). You may have to flip once to get an even crispness. Sprinkle with sea salt when done cooking.
    • About 15 minutes let on the potatoes put the shrooms in  in the oven on 400 until done. You may have to drain some of the juice out. You can do this by poking a whole in the cap or just slightly tilting the cap.
    • Place a layer of organic provolone cheese or DF cheese or Nutritional yeast on top and cook until melted. Place on a big piece of romaine lettuce, eat as is, or place on your favorite bun!
    • Boil corn on the stove and enjoy!
  15. Sheet Pan Pancakes with Fruit
    • I love these sheet pan pancakes HERE. I love them because the kids can decorate with any type of fun topping or they can cut out with cookie cutters.
    • We like to top with a nut butter, keep plain and add mini dairy free chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand), chocolate hummus, or sprinkles.
    • Serve with cantaloupe and sliced bananas and/or scrambled eggs or scrambled tofu.
  16. Crunchy Taco Cups
    1. Use your favorite soft tortilla wrap (organic corn, GF, flour, cashew, whole wheat). Spray a little olive oil on the muffin cup pan. Place the tortilla in the cup so it resembles a cup cake holder. You may have to use a smaller tortilla if it seems too big. If you are using a GF shell or corn wrap then place in the microwave for about 10 seconds before placing in the muffin cup. This will keep it from breaking.
    2. Bake shells in the oven for about 20 minutes on 350.
    3. Mix beans with taco seasoning. You will need to drain them first before adding the seasoning. Then you can mix with refried beans or leave beans plain.
    4. Place in the bottom of the muffin cup. Top with df cheese, nutritional yeast, or shredded organic cheese. Cook in the oven for another 10 minutes.
    5. Top with your favorite toppings like:
        • green onions, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, olives, jalapenos, salsa, sour cream or DF sour cream (1 container plain unsweetened DF yogurt mixed with 1 tbsp white vinegar), and avocado or guacamole.
  17. Taco Bean Chili and Corn Bread (YES PLEASE!)
    • This is one of my easiest and favorite soups to make during the Fall and Winter. I love anything that is a one pot meal and my kids love some corn bread.
    • For the corn bread, sometimes I’ll throw in some DF cheese, corn, jalapenos, or even a little cooked and diced broccoli. Yummy! To make DF and GF I just use a GF mix with unsweetened almond milk and vegan butter (Earth Balance)
    • HERE is a recipe for Taco Soup. HERE is a recipe for Three Bean Taco Chili. They are very similar but the taco soup is more like a soup and less thick.
    • Let me know which one you like better in the comments below! 
  18. Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry
    • I love dishes that allow you to have a variety of veggies in them because we know it’s variety in colors of fruits and veggies that lead us to optimal health.
    • I love this dish because you can use very little chicken and it still is amazing. If you are plant based you can use tofu, tempeh (found right next to tofu in the produce section), chickpeas, or sliced portobellos.
    • If your kids like different veggies then add those to the dish too for even more variety.
    • You can also separate out the foods so that your kids are eating what you are just in a different presentation. Separating out is a great gateway to making one meal for everyone.

Side Dish Tips For Healthy Dinner Ideas

I get a lot of comments that people want/need more help with side dish ideas. We all get in a rut of serving the same things, right? Well, here are some tips to help picking some side dishes that will work for your family.

On Sunday plan out at least three meals for the week.

Pick at least three different veggies to try for the week and make them in similar but different ways. For example, if you pick potatoes maybe one night you have potato skins, one night you have as a baked potato, and the next you have as diced and roasted in the oven. Broccoli can be steamed, oven roasted, or sauteed with different or the same seasonings.

Try to offer your family variety. It’s easy to give our kids raspberries at every meal because we know they will eat them but reality is they won’t eat a food if they aren’t exposed enough to it. So, try to switch up fruits and veggies during the week so your kids aren’t seeing the same ones at every meal.

Side dishes don’t have to be cooked. I’m famous for putting some fruit in a bowl or paper plate and throwing it in the middle of the table at dinner and calling it a side. It actually helps the kids reach for it more.

I’m also guilty of buying pre cut veggies like carrot sticks, radish chips, celery sticks and cutting up cucumbers and placing in a bowl or plate in the center of the table. Throw in a dip or dressing and call it a side.

Make a batch of brown rice or another whole grain on Sunday to have for the week. One night this can be used for stir fry, one night it can be used for enchiladas or in a burrito bowl for lunch, and one night it can be used as a plain side dish. You can add a little extra veggie broth when heating up so it doesn’t dry out.

Enjoying Your Mealtimes

My wish for every family is to get back to the basics. Enjoy your mealtime and share laughter over food that fuels your body. Too often, and I’m guilty of this myself, parents spend the majority of mealtime bribing, begging, and fighting with their kids over eating.

Choose to find peace in the process of finding healthy meals the whole family can enjoy. Know it’s a process and take one baby step at a time.

Take a look at these healthy dinner ideas and think about how you can make them so they fit your family’s preferences. Meals don’t have to be perfect but they should be enjoyable!

Please share your favorite healthy dinner ideas with me in the comments section! I love hearing from you.

For more inspiration and ideas for healthy family eating join me in my facebook group right here:  Health Hacks With Lindsay Gantt.

 

 

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