At the end of a long day, the last thing most of us want to do is come home and cook a dinner from scratch. And when you have little ones who would rather voluntarily give up television time than eat a vegetable, figuring out something that’s both nutritious and delicious makes the undertaking even harder.
But before you give in to the carryout impulse or the temptation to pack the kids in the car and hit the nearest restaurant, try these six simple meals that are kid-friendly, loaded with nutritional value that can be whipped up in a half hour or less…
1. Macaroni and Cheese
Nope, sorry, the fluorescent-orange boxed stuff doesn’t count. If you’re going to make the kid-favorite mac and cheese for dinner, you do need to start from scratch. But the good news is, you can have a batch ready that will top any of the stuff that comes in cardboard in no time. Not to mention, there are tons of ways to add extra nutrients that the boxed version simply can’t offer.
Kick off your concoction with whole grain, spelt or kamut noodles, all of which pack a lower-glycemic, higher-fiber punch than plain white noodles. You can also make healthy substitutes in your sauce, like low-fat milk or cheese, without compromising on any taste. Finally, add in a protein like chicken ground turkey, beans or chickpeas, and sneak in veggies like sweet potato, squash, peas (if your kids eat green) or even minced spinach. The great thing about mac in cheese is that the sauce conceals practically everything you throw into it, and the taste still remains basically the same. And if your kids do detect a flavor change? Hey, there’s always ketchup.