When it comes to family dinners, easy meal prepping for picky eaters can be a life saver! Here are delicious, easy, and healthy dinners that are sure to please! Every recipe has time-saving instructions for meal prepping ahead!
If you have picky eaters in your house, then coming up with healthy meals they will like can be tricky! Ok, let’s be real, they can be exhausting! They love something one week and they are over it the next. If your picky eaters are kids, maybe you find one or two things they will eat and you just stick with those. Maybe your picky eaters are no so little anymore or even other adults in your household and you just cannot get them to try new foods.
With all of this in mind, today I have for you a list of dinner meal prep ideas that other picky eaters and parents of picky eaters, have had success with! Of course, not every recipe on the list will please everyone. My daughters eat many of these, but not all. However, it’s a great start, so hopefully, you can incorporate these easy dinners into your meal prepping for picky eaters.
Tips for Meal Prepping for Picking Eaters
1. Pick Dinner Theme Nights
My biggest recommendation for meal planning for painless dinners for picky eaters if selecting Dinner Theme Nights! Themes are cuisines or food types assigned to certain days of the week. For example, Taco Tuesdays, Meatless Mondays, or Slow Cooker Saturdays. The intent is not to limit your options, but rather to give you direction and excitement by laying out your options and create an easy meal plan.
I love Dinner themes for picky eaters because…
- They can become family traditions that create wonderful memories.
- Once you determine which themes work best, it helps to gently expand picky eater horizons while knowing you are hitting preferred flavors or food types.
- Themes offer a bit of structure and guidance for meal plans. This helps make options less overwhelming. It’s great for picky eaters to help get out of a food rut and start eating healthy.
- Once you have set themes, you can have consistent ingredients and healthy foods available at all times, which makes meal prepping for picky eaters even easier.
Start by selecting 4-6 Cuisines that your family members (especially picky eaters) prefer. For instance, in my family, Mexican, Chinese, a variety of American dishes, and Italian are all faves. You can also select preferred cooking methods or meal types. For example, I love my crockpot for busy nights. Casseroles and one-bowl-meals are also a must.
Once you have your theme nights selected, you can find dinner ideas more easily that fall under each idea! Check out my Dinner Themes and the recipes within each!
2. Keep EASY Ingredients on hand
Once you have set themes, you can have simple ingredients on hand for each theme! For example, if Mexican is a theme, you can always have ground meat, shredded chicken, black beans, tomatoes, tortillas, cheese, and Mexican seasonings on hand. From there, you can come up with so many easy variations of dinners.
This is just one example, but it holds true for every theme. Having ingredients for themes on hand makes meal prepping for picky eaters even easier.
You can also use your freezer for so many prepped ingredients! Click Here to get my printable cheat sheet with 10 Freezer Hacks to make easy dinners!
3. Prep Ingredients or Entire Meals Ahead
Prepping ingredients for meals or entire meals ahead is the ultimate time and stress saver! It’s even more important when you have picky eaters, where dinners are perhaps a bit more stressful. Like all recipes on this website, these dinner recipes are easy and include Time Saving Prep Ahead Steps that you can do in the days prior. Then they list out the cooking steps. If you want all of my tips, tricks, and tools for easy Dinner Prep, then check out my ebook Cookbook!
15 Healthy Dinners for Meal Prepping for Picky Eaters
It’s time to go beyond the chicken tenders or chicken nuggets to find fun, delicious, easy, and healthy recipes!
1 . Ground Chicken Taco Casserole Recipe with Black Beans
What could be better than layers of taco meat, tortillas, beans, and cheese? I have a family dinner delivery service and this is a client FAVORITE! You will love it because it’s entirely made ahead, so definitely add this to your super easy meals list! Picky eaters love it because it darn delicious! It’s a Ground Chicken Taco Casserole that’s made with healthier lean ground chicken, can be made ahead for your busy schedule, and can feed the entire family with leftovers for another night. Now THAT’s what I’m talkin’ about! This Ground Chicken Taco Casserole has corn tortillas layered with browned ground chicken seasoned with smokey mexican spices, black beans, tomatoes, and cheeeeese, and then more cheeeeese. Then topped with cheeeeese. Did I mention there was cheeeeese?
1. Broccoli and Pesto Pasta
Meal prepping for picky eaters is particularly difficult when it comes to veggies. I believe in promoting veggies vs. hiding them, but let’s face it, sometimes you just gotta sneak them in. Here is a wonderful, easy make-ahead option both highlights (but also sneaks in) the veg: Broccoli and Pesto Pasta! Broccoli and Pesto Pasta is a 30-minute dinner main or side dish that the entire family will love! It’s creamy, hearty, delicious and healthy. It super easy to make in a food processor and can be made ahead to whip up in just minutes on any busy weeknight.
It’s creamy, hearty, delicious AND good for you! Woo hoo! It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts. But rather a huge punch in the face of flavor, it’s a bit more mellow and healthier for you by adding broccoli! The broccoli is simply blended with the other ingredients and helps to really sell this dish to my kids.
2. Teriyaki Meatballs Veggies & Noodles
These Teriyaki Meatballs are sweet, salty, tangy, and so incredibly moist and addictive. It can be hard to get picky eaters and kids to try new flavors. But sometimes using familiar foods to introduce new flavors works wonders. Enter meatballs! The garlic, ginger, scallion, red bell pepper, and soy sauce all infuse the meatballs with the most amazing flavor. Combined with a simple Garlic & Ginger Soy Veggie Stir Fry and served over rice noodles, it’s a perfect family dinner. Drizzle over or dip the meatballs in the tangy Teriyaki mustard sauce and they burst with even more flavor.
3. Korean Beef Tacos
These Korean Beef Tacos are crazy good and the flavors are just sweet and savory enough to attract even the pickiest of eaters! The super easy marinade and sauce comes together in just minutes and marries with the steak for the most intensely perfect flavor. Flank steak is one of those cuts that I find you cannot go wrong with, as it’s always tender and easy to eat. The Soy sauce brings salt, the sesame gives nuttiness, the vinegar gives acidity, the brown sugar brings sweetness, and the ginger and garlic bring loads of spice and flavor!
Each amazing taco gives you this perfect steak PLUS, crispy and crunchy Sesame Cabbage Slaw, PLUS creamy, cool, Cilantro Lime Sriracha sauce! Some kids may not want the cabbage slaw on the tacos, so plan ahead and make a quick veggies for the side that they will eat.
4. Ramen Noodle Bowl with Chicken & Veggies
This Ramen Noodle Bowl Dinner is a kid favorite at any age…tons of noodles, flavorful broth, chunks of hearty chicken! This recipe also has crunchy cabbage, sweet carrots, hearty mushrooms, creamy soft boiled egg, sesame seeds and scallions to give a fresh bite. Here is where you can customize the ingredients to what your family likes. The broth is super flavorful with scallions, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, and chicken broth. Is your mouth watering yet? Ramen Noodles are a great dinner option to turn into a make-your-own noodle bar. You can make all of the various toppings/ingredients ahead, reheat, then serve in separate bowls that everyone can help themselves to.
5. Quinoa and Black Bean Burritos
Don’t discount this one just yet! Whenever you can squeeze a meal into a handheld vehicle, there is inherent fun involved! Quinoa and Black Bean Burritos are a scrumptious eat-with-your-hands family dinner! They are packed with protein and fiber, but also ooey-gooey cheese, tomato, cilantro, and sour cream! The ‘meat’ in this recipe is a flavorful taco-seasoned quinoa, black bean, and cauliflower filling. I mean, could it get any healthier!? But yet, it tastes like a burrito, it looks like a burrito, and it oozes like a burrito!
These Quinoa Black Bean Burritos are also great for meal prepping for picky eaters because you can prep them entirely ahead and wrap them individually in foil. Then toss them into the oven to warm through and enjoy!
6. White Lasagna Recipe with Zucchini and Ground Beef
Most picky eaters can be swayed with a bit of cheese and pasta! So, this is my White Lasagna Recipe with Zucchini and Ground Beef and it’s creamy, rich, hearty, and mouthwatering delicious. You get layers of noodles, zucchini, and lean ground beef mixed with herbs, seasonings, and creamy cheese, plus a silky white sauce in every layer. This is one of my absolute favorite new dinners! It’s not only a favorite because it’s yummy, but also because it’s easy! You can make this entire lasagna ahead and reheat it or even freeze it.
7. Easy Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken
Make-Ahead Marinades are easy family dinners. They’re perfect for busy nights and when mixed with a protein, such as chicken, can even be frozen up to 4 months ahead! This EASY Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken is quick to make and mouth wateringly yummy! The fantastic marinade and sauce is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, and nutty, all flavors that are appealing to picky eaters. You can prepare it days ahead. It takes just minutes to prepare, minutes to cook, and everyone will love it!! Add some simple stir fry veggies and you have a meal!
8. Meatballs in Cauliflower Dill Cream Sauce
These Meatballs in Cauliflower Dill Cream Sauce are easy, healthy(ish), and scrumptious. The Meatballs are swimming in a beautiful creamy light pink Cauliflower Cream Sauce flavored with garlic, fresh dill, and a touch of tomato paste. That’s right, this sauce is made from blended cauliflower and it’s smooth and delicious. Oh, and cream cheese because, well, it just tastes so darn good!
Dill gives this recipe a little somethin somethin. It’s a fresh herby flavor somewhat similar to fennel, that brightens and lightens the meatballs and sauce so it’s perfect anytime of year. While the Meatballs may be the Star of this dish, cauliflower is the Best Supporting Actor. Not only to they give the creamy backdrop, they are so healthy for you! Keep reading for more on this!
9. Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas
Raise your hand if you hate washing dishes! Well, my friend, sheet pan dinners are for you because everything cooks on a sheet pan for super easy cleanup. This Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe has all the incredible flavor you love from sizzling fajitas without the fuss because the oven does the work! The pork is tender, smoky, and so flavorful. Fill warmed flour tortillas with the pork, peppers and onions, then top with Cilantro Lime Crema!
10. Creamy Ground Chicken Tomato Soup
This Creamy Ground Chicken Tomato Soup is creamy and chunky and has a ton of deep flavor. AND it’s healthy! But maybe don’t use ‘healthy’ as your opener with teens. This recipe is loved by so many families with kids! I have clients in my delivery service that love it and others that have made the recipe at home and the oIt uses all white meat ground chicken that you cook until it is incredibly browned for some serious flavor. Then tomato paste adds the flavor back drop for the soup and a flour roux plus broth creates the amazing creaminess! Finally Spinach is your veggie boost. So delicious and so EASY!
11. Sour Cream Tomato Sauce Pasta
This Luscious Sour Cream Tomato Sauce Pasta tastes amazing – and it’s amazingly simple to make, taking only 25 minutes!! I describe it as luscious because the tomatoes, which are still slightly chunky become this thick, creamy, smooth, velvety, and flavorful sauce. The combination of the San Marzano tomatoes and sour cream takes a simple red sauce to a perfect pink heavenly cream sauce! I don’t think I need to tell you why this is a teen/tween favorite!
12. Teriyaki Peanut Sauce Chicken & Broccoli Noodles
Teriyaki Peanut Sauce Chicken and Broccoli stir fry with rice noodles is a super simple, delicious, one pan weeknight dinner option. But the flavor tastes anything but simple! It gets a complex, rich flavor from the peanut butter, teriyaki sauce, and the sesame oil. Mixed with the Chicken and Broccoli and then the rice noodles, it really is a perfectly delicious one pan dish. Kids love this because the noodles soak up the amazing teriyaki peanut sauce so they can slurp it up with every single bite. YUM.
13. 5-Ingredient Easy Meatloaf without Breadcrumbs
Ok, so you might think meatloaf sounds boring, but this is some freakin’ good, super simple, 5-Ingredient Easy Meatloaf! When it comes to teens and tweens, this recipe has two huge selling points. First, it’s sort of like a giant hamburger. Second, it has a sweet ketchup glaze on top – and when I say glaze, I mean it. The ketchup cooks on top and turns into this thick, rich flavored glaze that’s still reminiscent of ketchup, but evolves to a whole new level. This Easy Meatloaf recipe may be short on ingredients, but it is loaded with flavor. Because there are no breadcrumbs, you don’t have them soaking up the juices, so the meat stays really moist – and it’s gluten free too. The best part (aside from the amazing taste) is that this is only 5 simple ingredients and you can make it ahead and Freeze before cooking! I like to double up the recipe and then make one meatloaf to cook and eat and the other to freeze. Your kids or picky eaters will just love this yummy loaf of goodness 🙂
14. Chicken & Cherry Tomato Pasta
This EASY Chicken and Cherry Tomato Pasta has a garlic-y backdrop with sweetness from the natural sugars that are released from the cherry tomatoes. Then you get freshness from the basil, salty and nutty flavors from the Parmesan and a hearty bite from the chicken and pasta!! For teens or tweens that prefer to not have a sauce all over their pasta, this is a great option!
15. Cheesy Hamburger Potato Casserole
Warm, cozy, ooey gooey, cheesy and delicious! This Cheesy Hamburger Potato Casserole is an easy and yummy weeknight family dinner. Ground beef and onion are cooked and then added to a casserole dish with diced potatoes. Then an easy-to-make sauce is added on top and mixed into the beef and potatoes with shredded cheese. You get all of the yummy flavors of Hamburger with cheese and fries in this delicious casserole! I mean, you can see why this one made the list of easy dinner ideas for teens, right?
What are YOUR picky eaters’ favorite dinners? Please share in the comments!
Be sure to check out the web story for Meal Prepping for Picky Eaters – Healthy Easy Dinners Story!
Leave a Reply