Family eating a healthy meal

6 Family-Friendly Dinner Ideas To Make in Under 30 Minutes

13 min read


06 Feb 2024

Grab your cheat sheet

  1. Tips for Preparing Quick and Nutritious Family Meals
  2. Grilled Chicken With Roasted Vegetables
  3. Shrimp Stir-Fry With Brown Rice
  4. Veggie-Packed Turkey Meatballs With Whole Wheat Pasta
  5. Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers
  6. Greek Turkey Burgers With Cucumber Salad
  7. One-Pot Chicken and Vegetable Curry
  8. Healthy Family, Happy Family

After a long day, the last thing you want is to spend hours in the kitchen preparing a meal, only for the whole family to wolf it down in seconds. Or worse, food that your family barely touches.

So it can be hard to resist the temptation to throw some chicken tenders and tater tots in the oven or order in a pizza —especially if that’s what the kids love.

But, while it’s okay to enjoy snacks and pizza—keeping your family healthy is important. 

While that may be the case, we know that finding the time to make sure you all eat well without wasting a whole evening around the oven can be tricky. But, we’re here to help.

It can actually be really quick and easy to prepare tasty and nutritious meals that you’ll all enjoy.

By using fresh ingredients and smart cooking techniques, you can whip up wholesome dinners without compromising on flavor or nutrition.

We’ve pulled together six kid-friendly dinner recipes that will take you less than 30 minutes to make.

From flavorful stir-fries to hearty curries and comforting pasta dishes, here’s a lip-smacking range of options to suit all different tastes and dietary preferences.

Whether you're a vegetarian, a meat lover—or have a particularly picky eater or two in the family —there’s something to satisfy everyone.

It doesn't matter if you're a seasoned chef or a complete beginner in the kitchen. These simple and delicious recipes will help you whip up mouthwatering meals without breaking a sweat.

Then you can kick back, relax, and spend quality time with your loved ones.

Tips for Preparing Quick and Nutritious Family Meals

Before we jump into the kid-friendly recipes, we’ve got a few tips and tricks for you to put up your sleeve that will make meal planning and preparation more efficient.

With a little bit of organization and foresight, you can streamline your cooking process and make weeknight dinners an absolute breeze.

Plan your meals in advance

Take some time at the start of the week to plan out meals for the next few days.

Consider your family's food preferences, dietary needs —and any ingredients you already have on hand.

Doing so will help you create a shopping list and avoid last-minute grocery runs (not to mention panic-buying junk food).

Prep ingredients ahead of time

To cut down on cooking time, try prepping your ingredients in advance.

Chop the vegetables, marinate meats, and cook your grains, then store them in the refrigerator or freezer until you need them.

This way, you just need to assemble the ingredients and cook them quickly when it's time for dinner.

Get some time-saving kitchen tools

A few clever kitchen tools can speed up the cooking process even further.

Investing in a good-quality chef's knife, a food processor for chopping and blending, and an instant pot, air fryer, or slow cooker will really pay off—when it comes to both time and money.

Make use of leftovers

There’s no rule saying you can’t save uneaten food for another time. In fact, transforming leftovers into new meals is a great way to save time and reduce food waste.

For example, leftover grilled chicken can be shredded and used in salads, wraps, or stir-fries the next day.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and repurpose ingredients to make some exciting new dishes.

Get the whole family involved

Assigning tasks to family members can make meal prep much more fun and efficient.

Divide up the responsibilities, such as chopping vegetables, setting the table, or cleaning up afterwards, among family members. This will lighten the load for you and also teach valuable skills to the kids.

NOTE: Trying these tips can take all the stress and aggravation out of planning, prepping, and cooking a meal. 

So now that you’re all set up and ready to go, let’s take a look at those healthy family dinner ideas that will be ready in 30 minutes or less (spatula at the ready!).

1. Grilled Chicken With Roasted Vegetables

Grilled chicken and roast vegetables

When done right, grilled chicken with roasted vegetables can make the kids forget all about things like chicken nuggets, grilled cheese sandwiches, or mac and cheese.

This dish is not only delicious—it’s also packed with lean protein and a variety of vitamins and minerals from the colorful veggies. Yum.


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups of mixed vegetables (e.g. bell pepper, zucchini, and broccoli)


  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • Brush the chicken breasts with the oil mixture on both sides.
  • Place the chicken on the preheated grill and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  • While the chicken is cooking, prepare the roasted vegetables. Toss the mixed vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them out on a baking sheet.
  • Once the chicken is done, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes.
  • Place the baking sheet with the vegetables in the oven and roast at 425°F (220°C) for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are tender and slightly caramelized.
  • Serve the grilled chicken with the roasted vegetables.

To save time, you could marinate the chicken in advance or use a store-bought marinade.

The key to perfectly grilled chicken is to preheat the grill and cook on medium-high heat. This ensures a nice sear on the outside while keeping the inside moist and juicy.

The veggie roasting process brings out their natural sweetness and creates a delicious caramelized flavor. Feel free to add or substitute any vegetables based on your family's preferences.

Serve with a side of brown rice, quinoa, or mashed potatoes to complete the meal.

2. Shrimp Stir-Fry With Brown Rice

Shrimp stir fry

Shrimp stir-fry with brown rice is a perfect replacement for takeout noodles or egg-fried rice.

It’s packed with protein from the shrimp and fiber from the brown rice and mixed vegetables. 

Plus, there’s far less sugar, fat, and additives than you’d get with takeout food.


  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables (e.g. bell peppers, snap peas, and carrots)
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Then set aside.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
  • Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until they turn pink and opaque. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, add the mixed vegetables and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until they are crisp and tender.
  • Return the shrimp to the skillet and pour the sauce over the shrimp and vegetables. Stir to coat everything evenly.
  • Cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  • Serve the shrimp stir-fry over cooked brown rice.

The trick with stir-fry is to have all the ingredients prepped ahead of time and ready to go before you start cooking.

Make sure to cook at high heat for a short amount of time so that the veggies retain their vibrant colors and crisp textures.

The sauce combines the savory flavors of soy and oyster sauces with added sweetness from the honey. Garlic and ginger will add some depth and a hint of spice. Feel free to adjust the sauce to suit your family's taste preferences.

Brown rice is a nutritious alternative to white rice, as it contains more fiber and essential nutrients. It also provides a nutty flavor and chewy texture that will complement the stir-fried shrimp and veggies.

3. Veggie-Packed Turkey Meatballs With Whole Wheat Pasta

Turkey meatballs and pasta

If your kids love spaghetti and meatballs—but you’re concerned about all the calories —these turkey and vegetable meatballs are a great alternative.
They’re much healthier, and your kids will never even notice the difference.


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces whole wheat pasta
  • 2 cups marinara sauce


  • In a large bowl, mix the turkey, grated zucchini, grated carrot, chopped onion, minced garlic, breadcrumbs, grated parmesan, chopped parsley, egg, salt, and pepper.
  • Once the meatball mixture is well combined, shape it into balls.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Cook the meatballs in batches until they’re browned on all sides (roughly 8 to 10 minutes). Remove cooked meatballs to a plate.
  • While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the whole wheat pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, add the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. Return the meatballs to the skillet and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
  • Serve the meatballs and sauce over the cooked pasta.

For an even lighter and gluten-free alternative, replace the whole-wheat pasta with some zucchini noodles. 

By spiralizing fresh zucchini, you can create a nutritious and delicious base for your favorite pasta sauces (and the kids will never need to find out).

Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top for extra flavor and you’re ready to eat.

4. Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers are a classic family-friendly dinner option, with lots of room for experimentation.

This quinoa and black bean version is a healthy and fun twist on the traditional recipe and is jam-packed with protein, fiber, and essential nutrients.


  • 4 bell peppers, any color
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Cut the tops off the bell peppers and remove the seeds and membranes. Place the bell peppers in a baking dish and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic then cook until softened (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the cooked quinoa, black beans, corn kernels, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Stir to combine everything together and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes to heat through.
  • Spoon the quinoa and black bean mixture into the bell peppers, filling them to the top. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top of each stuffed pepper if you fancy.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

It might not seem like it, but quinoa is actually a complete protein and a good source of fiber. The beans provide additional protein and fiber too, as well as lots of essential vitamins and minerals.

The combination of warm spices adds a real kick to the dish, so feel free to change up which spices you use depending on what your family likes.

Serve the peppers with a side salad or some whole-grain bread to round out the meal.

5. Greek Turkey Burgers With Cucumber Salad

Turkey burgers

When you're in the mood for a burger, your first instinct is probably to go out for fast food—but you can make something just as tasty, as well as lighter and healthier, at home in minutes.

Try these Greek turkey burgers with lean ground turkey and flavored with Mediterranean-inspired spices. You’ll never want to hit the drive-thru again.


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 whole wheat burger buns
  • Lettuce, tomato slices, and red onion slices for serving


  • In a large bowl, mix the turkey, crumbled feta cheese, chopped olives, minced garlic, dried oregano, dried dill, salt, and pepper.
  • Divide the mixture into equal portions and shape each portion into a patty.
  • Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Cook the burgers for about 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through and no longer pink in the center.
  • Assemble the burgers by placing a turkey patty on a whole wheat bun, then top with lettuce, tomato slices, and red onion slices.
  • Serve the burgers with a side of cucumber salad.

The feta cheese and Kalamata olives add a tangy and salty flavor to the burgers, while the dried oregano and dill give them a Mediterranean flair. 

Much more interesting than the standard and highly processed patties you find at fast-food restaurants.

As they’re made with lean ground turkey, these burgers are also lower in fat and calories than traditional ground beef burgers—but they’re still every bit as tasty.

6. One-Pot Chicken and Vegetable Curry

Chicken and vegetable curry

Curries are a great way to sneak lots of extra veggies and spices into your family’s lives.

This one-pot chicken and vegetable curry is quick and easy to make while being packed with flavor and nutrients—so it’s another great option over unhealthy takeout food.


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables (e.g. bell peppers, carrots, and peas)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cooked rice or naan bread, for serving


  • In a large skillet or saucepan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, then cook until softened.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the skillet and cook until browned on all sides.
  • In a small bowl, combine the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, ground coriander, and paprika.
  • Sprinkle the spice mixture over the chicken and onion in the skillet. Stir to coat the chicken and onion with the spices.
  • Pour in the coconut milk and chicken broth, then add the mixed vegetables. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve the curry over cooked rice or with naan bread for dipping.

Curries are incredibly simple to change up. You can add in different spices to change the flavor and heat, as well as lots of extra veggies to make it even healthier.

As everything is done in one dish, you could also prepare your ingredients and cook them in the slow cooker overnight or while you are out during the day.

The best part is that because you’re only using one pot, cleanup is an absolute breeze.

Healthy Family, Happy Family

There you have it. Six easy ways to get your family eating well without spending hours in the kitchen.

Say goodbye to the stress of planning and preparing elaborate dinners —and say hello to quick and delicious dinners that your whole family will love.

These kid-friendly dinner ideas are perfect for busy weeknights, or when you’re short on time.

And, not only are these recipes kid-approved, but they also cater to the grown-ups, making them a win-win for everyone. Bon appetit.