9 Quick & Easy Back-to-School Dinners Your Kids Will Actually Want to Eat

By Carrie Havranek
August 23, 2021
back-to-school dinners
Photo Credit: Two Peas & Their Pod

A quick and easy dinner is one thing, and certainly a win in our books. But a meal that’s also healthy, and one your kids will actually want to eat? That is the back-to-school dinners jackpot.

We’ve rounded up nine of our favorite recipes that check all those boxes, so those first crazy weeks of September will fly by. You’re welcome.

1. Easy Vegetarian Tacos from Two Peas and Their Pod

In less than 30 minutes, these tacos, loaded with black beans, Southwestern spices and, of course avocado, will be on the table. We guarantee the kids will gobble them up. Serve with brown rice and count day one of your easy dinners rotation a success.

Quick Baked Chicken Parmesan dinner

Photo Credit: Well Plated by Erin

2. Healthy Baked Chicken Parmesan from Well Plated by Erin

Kids love chicken parm, but it’s often not a quick or easy dinner. It’s also often fried and overloaded with cheese. Enter this faster, healthier version. Whether you bake it or pop it in the air fryer (bonus!), it contains a modest ounce of cheese per serving. Use gluten-free breadcrumbs if you want, and serve over pasta or with a side salad.

Quick Healthy Mac and Cheese with broccoli and spinach

Photo Credit: Picky Eater

3. Healthy Mac and Cheese from Picky Eater

This mac and cheese has a few good healthy swaps going for it: it’s loaded with spinach and broccoli, it’s not overwhelmed by cheese, and it calls for whole wheat pasta. You can certainly use gluten-free pasta if you prefer. Chop the veggies up finely so it’s better integrated with the sauce and the pasta, but most kids like broccoli!

Quick Minestrone Soup

Photo Credit: Life Made Sweeter

4. Instant Pot Minestrone from Life Made Sweeter

This easy, veggie-filled dinner is perfect for those nights when it actually starts to feel like fall. It cooks in the Instant Pot, and it’s ready in a jiffy while you warm up some bread and make a green salad. Bonus: The recipe also contains stovetop and slow cooker adaptations.

Rainbow pita pizzas for quick dinners

Photo Credit: Healthy Little Foodies

5. Rainbow Pita Pizzas from Healthy Little Foodies

Ok, we know we said Friday was pizza night, but the kids won’t mind if you also make these D-I-Y pizzas from pita bread. Top them with a rainbow of veggies for a fun and healthy presentation—or just use your favorite standbys you know the kids will eat. Another easy dinner winner!

Healthier Instant Pot Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes

Photo Credit: Oh Sweet Basil

6. Healthier Instant Pot Turkey Sloppy Joes from Oh Sweet Basil

Lean ground turkey hangs out with chopped peppers and onions in an easy tomato sauce on whole wheat buns. Score! Do it in the Instant Pot and this quick dinner is ready in less than half an hour.

Hot Honey Chicken Bowls

Photo Credit: Jar of Lemons

7. Hot Honey Chicken Bowls from Jar of Lemons

Honey and chicken are dreamy together. Combine it with zucchini, carrots, and squash, and customize (or eliminate) the heat factor altogether by monitoring your Sriracha in this recipe. Serve over rice and an easy dinner is ready in half an hour.

Simple Greek Avocado Sandwich

Photo Credit: Cookie + Kate

8. Simple Greek Avocado Sandwich from Cookie + Kate

When they’re packed with good-for-you ingredients, sandwiches can be a filling and fulfilling meal. Assembling this one should be quick and easy enough that you can get the kids involved, too.

Pro tip: Sometimes kids get annoyed by sandwiches with lots of things in them. Put the ingredients out and let the kids assemble the sandwiches themselves, or eat them deconstructed.

Talia di Napoli pizza

9. Frozen Pizza From Italy

While we believe that cooking is one of the best things you can do for your health, we also believe in moderation. And that means pizza sometimes — specifically Talia di Napoli frozen pizza. Unlike most frozen pies, these are made in Italy with all the best local and organic ingredients: wheat flour, extra-virgin olive oil, sun-ripened tomatoes, and fior di latte mozzarella from happy, grass-grazing Italian cows. They’re then flash-frozen, or “put to sleep,” and the “sleeping pizzas” are then shipped direct to your door. The flavors are perfetto, the texture comes pretty close to Neapolitan pizza right out of the pizza oven, and even though it feels like a cheat meal, it’s healthy enough to eat weekly.

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