A Kid-Friendly Meal Plan: 5 Dinners for the Whole Family

A family meal plan with 5 healthy dinners

Sitting down together with a homemade meal is one of the best things you can do for your family’s health and happiness. But for busy parents, dinner can resemble feeding time at the zoo—especially when you have picky little ones to please! With menu planning, shopping, and cooking, being the zookeeper of your household is a lot of work. But once you find a few kid favorites, like crispy chicken tenders and gooey mac and cheese, it gets a whole lot easier.

Here’s a game plan for next week that does the mental work for you. This plan covers Sunday through Thursday, and leaves the weekend open for leftovers. Each recipe makes approximately 4 servings, but you can adjust, if you’ve got more mouths to feed. There’s a shopping list for what to buy, with a few pantry-staples at the bottom—check to make sure you have those on hand.


1 butternut squash
1 head broccoli
2 large sweet potatoes
3 zucchini
1 tomato
1 head lettuce
1 red bell pepper
Green onions

1 lb (500 g) salmon fillet
1 lb (500 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lb (500 g) ground turkey

Large eggs
Milk, non- or low-fat
Greek yogurt, plain, low-fat
8 oz (250 g) shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz (125 g) shredded mozzarella cheese, part skim

Whole-wheat pasta shells
Whole-wheat linguine
Whole-wheat breadcrumbs, preferably panko
1 ball (about 1 lb/500 g) fresh whole-wheat pizza dough
4 whole-wheat burger buns

Marinara sauce, low sodium
Teriyaki sauce, reduced sodium

Frozen peas


Extra-virgin olive oil
Olive oil cooking spray
Salt and pepper
Mustard powder
Soy sauce, reduced sodium
Sesame oil
Sesame seeds
Corn or all-purpose flour


Sunday: Butternut Mac & Cheese with Broccoli

Sneak some veggies into your mac and cheese. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Cook ½ lb (250 g) pasta shells according to package instructions, stopping 2 minutes before the recommended time. Place 3 cups (15 oz/470 g) cubed butternut squash on a large baking sheet, toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the butternut puree and 1½ cups (12 fl oz/375 ml) milk and bring to just below a simmer. Add 8 oz (250 g) shredded cheddar cheese, 1 teaspoon mustard powder and ½ teaspoon salt and whisk until smooth. Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat. Pour into an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking pan. Sprinkle with ½ cup (3/4 oz/20 g) breadcrumbs. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve warm with steamed broccoli.  

Monday: Baked Chicken Fingers with Yogurt & Peas

Kids of all ages love crispy, crunchy chicken tenders. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Spray a large baking sheet with olive oil. Slice 1 lb chicken into long strips about ½ inch (12 mm) thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Crack 2 large eggs into a shallow bowl and whisk with a fork. Pour 1½ cups (2 oz/60 g) breadcrumbs onto a plate. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dip in the beaten eggs, letting any excess drip back in the bowl. Coat with the breadcrumbs, pressing gently to help them stick. Repeat with all of the chicken, placing the coated pieces on the baking sheet. Spray over the top with olive oil. Bake until the breadcrumbs are golden and the chicken is firm, 20 to 25 minutes. Warm any leftover butternut mac & cheese and peas in the microwave. Serve warm, with yogurt for dipping.

Tuesday: Teriyaki Salmon with Sesame Zoodles

Sticky-sweet teriyaki sauce is the secret to winning over the fish suspicious. Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). In a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 1 lb salmon, flesh side down, and sear until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn and brush with 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce. Transfer the pan to the oven, and cook until the salmon is nearly firm to the touch and flakes easily when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes longer, depending on the thickness of the fillet. Using a spiralizer tool, cut 1 zucchini into long strands. Cook ½ lb (250 g) linguine according to package instructions, adding the zucchini during the last minute of cooking. Drain well and return to the pot. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 2 tablespoons sesame oil and toss to coat. Transfer the salmon and zoodles to plates, sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced green onions, if you like, and serve warm.

Wednesday: Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

Everybody loves burger night! Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Peel and cut 2 sweet potatoes about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat. Roast until golden and crispy, about 30 minutes. In a bowl, combine 1 lb ground turkey, 1 cup (5 oz/155 g) shredded zucchini, and 1 large egg, lightly beaten. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. With clean hands, gently stir the mixture to combine, and shape into 4 patties. In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the patties and cook, turning once, until no longer pink at the center, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let rest for a few minutes. Place 4 buns on plates and top with the burgers, sliced tomato, and lettuce. Serve with the sweet potato fries and yogurt for dipping.

Thursday: Pizza Party! DIY Toppings

Let kids build their own mini pizzas, and have fun with colorful veggies. Preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C). Take 1 ball pizza dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature on the counter. Roll out the dough into 4 thin rounds. (If it shrinks, let it rest for 10 minutes, and roll out a second time). Transfer to a baking sheet dusted with flour. Brush the dough with 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Spread each round with 2 tablespoons marinara and sprinkle with ¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) mozzarella. Arrange with sliced bell peppers, zucchini, or any of your favorite pizza toppings. Bake until the crusts are golden and the cheese starts to bubble and brown, about 15 minutes. Let the pizzas rest briefly. In a bowl, combine any leftover torn lettuce and sliced tomato, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil, and toss to combine. Serve the pizzas warm with salad on the side.

The post A Kid-Friendly Meal Plan: 5 Dinners for the Whole Family appeared first on Fitbit Blog.

A Kid-Friendly Meal Plan: 5 Dinners for the Whole Family

Source: Fitbit Blog