A round-up of healthy, easy and quick kid friendly meals and recipes you can throw together at the last minute on busy days.
So I’m a planner. I have monthly meal plans for my husband and I for dinner and a separate meal plan that includes breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner for our little ones.
Can you say Type A? Completely guilty.
But, as any parent knows, life happens, days get turned on their heads, plans get abandoned, and yet, we still must eat.
Especially those kids. I mean, really, it’s an endless demand for food!
And as I mentioned last week with my zucchini cheddar whole wheat waffles, my kids have never had fast food or take out (unless the grandparents are keeping something from me!) so I’ve got lots of tricks up my sleeve to throw something together at the last minute.
(I also keep our freezer stocked and that’s really helpful! Everything from muffins to taco meat gets stashed away. But for the ideas here, I’ve assumed you don’t have a stash to draw on.)
Having some easy, quick kid friendly meals at the ready has been helpful this summer, giving us a bit more flexibility to stay longer at the pool, take an impromptu day trip, go for a picnic and more.
And I think it will be even more useful when the back-to-school season starts and life goes into overdrive again.
(By the way, I put together all 5 of these plates in less than 25 minutes. Not bad!)
So without further ado, here are some easy, healthy, quick kid friendly meals that you can whip up with on-hand basics.
(I made an easy printable as well so you can have these ideas at your fingertips.)
Easy Kid Breakfast Ideas
- Whole wheat toast or bagels with plain cream cheese and jam
- Scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast and fresh fruit
- Scrambled eggs with veggies (wrap into a burrito or fill a taco shell), served with fresh fruit
- 5-minute copycat egg McMuffin
- Egg in a hole, served with fresh fruit
- 3-minute oatmeal, served with your favorite toppings
- Raisin bread topped with peanut butter and served with fresh fruit
- Toast topped with peanut butter and banana slices or raisins (make a face!)
- Toast with smashed avocado and a fried egg
- Sweet potato toast with sweet or savory toppings!
- Rainbow toast
- Banana wrap - whole wheat wrap spread with peanut butter, topped with a whole banana and rolled up (also good with raisins or granola for some extra texture)
- Yogurt bowl - plain Greek yogurt with honey, fresh fruit, and crumbled cereal or granola (add chia seeds as sprinkles!)
- Smoothie or smoothie bowl - just blend up some fruits (with or without yogurt or milk) and add your favorite toppings (here's my peach-raspberry smoothie bowl for reference)
- Sausage, toast and veggie kabobs, served with fresh fruit
Easy Kid Lunch Ideas
- Sandwiches: peanut butter (or almond butter) and jelly, ham and cheddar, turkey or chicken, etc., served with applesauce
- Hummus and chicken or turkey as a sandwich or wrap, served with carrot sticks and fresh or dried fruit
- Egg salad, tuna salad or chicken salad sandwich, served with fresh or dried fruit
- Ham and cheese melt (just broil open-faced for a couple of minutes to get it warm and melted)
- Veggie and cream cheese roll-up, served with fresh or dried fruit
- Cheese slices with crackers and homemade deli meat or store-bought (they can make Lunchable-like stacks), served with fresh or dried fruit
- Hummus with veggie sticks, crackers or pretzels, served with cheese and fresh or dried fruit
- Apple slices sandwich with peanut or almond butter and raisins
- Muffins (if you have some in the freezer or on hand), plus yogurt with honey or fruit mixes stirred in, served with fresh or dried fruit
- Canned beans (black or cannellini are my kids' favorites and they just eat them plain) served with cheese, veggie chips, and fresh or dried fruit
Easy Kid Dinner Ideas (Mains)
- Rotisserie chicken shredded, mixed with BBQ sauce (or honey mustard) and made into sliders
- Leftover or rotisserie chicken mixed with salsa, warmed in skillet and loaded into a taco shell with shredded cheese
- Deli or leftover meat, cream cheese and spinach wrap (with optional salsa in the wrap or on the side for dipping)
- Whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce, peas and extra meat (such as rotisserie chicken) mixed in
- Couscous with chicken and frozen mixed veggies (just add them in and stir to heat through once the couscous is cooked)
- Tapas plate: chicken or meatballs, cheese, crackers/pretzels/rice cake/quinoa/rice, hummus, carrot and celery sticks, fresh or dried fruit and nuts
- Quesadillas: chicken and cheese, refried beans and cheese, black bean and veggie, etc.
- English muffin or flatbread pizzas - spread sauce on English muffin halves, top with cheese and pepperoni and broil for 2-3 minutes
- Grilled cheese
- Panini - Make a sandwich and heat it in a saute pan (put another pan on top and add a couple of cans to help weigh it down)
- Nitrate and nitrite-free hot dogs or cooked sausages
- Minute or microwave rice (or grain blend) with beans and cheese mixed in
- 10-minute “baked” potato with rotisserie chicken and cheese mixed in
- Hard-boiled eggs
- A dipping dinner: A plate of chicken strips or rolled up deli meat, baby carrots, cucumber and bell pepper strips and bakery bread or toast sticks with some small containers of your favorite dips: hummus, pesto, honey mustard, ranch, ketchup
- Pasta or bean salad: Mix whatever fresh or frozen veggies you have on hand with some beans and/or whole wheat pasta, add a favorite cheese and some dressing and serve
Coming soon: Three of my kids' favorite broiler sandwiches. I love making these for a quick dinner.
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Easy Dinner Side Dishes
- Raw baby carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, broccoli or celery and a dipping sauce (Ranch, honey mustard, BBQ sauce, peanut butter, hummus)
- Cherry tomatoes or sliced tomatoes
- Steamed vegetable: Broccoli, cauliflower or green beans
- Sauteed zucchini, squash, corn, Brussels sprouts, okra or spinach
- 10-minute “baked” potato with your favorite toppings
- Microwave sweet potato chips
- Microwave or Minute-style rice or grain mix
- Shortcut grains and veggies
- Frozen peas, thawed (served warm or cold)
- Frozen mixed veggies, cooked and topped with butter
- Crunchy lettuce pieces (such as romaine), with dressing or dip
There you have it - plenty of mix-and-match ideas to choose from.
And if you’re looking for some quick and easy snack ideas for kids, I’ve done a round-up of some of our faves. (There’s a free printable for that one too!)
And in case you missed it earlier, here’s the free 2-page printable again for this round-up of meal ideas.
What are your go-to ideas for last-minute meals? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!