5 Dinners Your Kids Will Like as Much as Chicken Nuggets

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
Tacos

While some kids can eat chicken nuggets every day of the week, varying your child's menu regularly ensures he or she meets daily nutritional needs. It may be difficult to find dinners your child is willing to eat, especially for picky eaters. Finding other kid-friendly, nutritious dinner ideas makes it easier to get your child to branch out.

1. Mild Mini Tacos

Mild mini tacos are perfect for kids because they aren't spicy like regular tacos, and the smaller size is a perfect fit for little mouths.

Servings: 10

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1 packet of Ortega original taco seasoning mix or other mild seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon of olive or canola oil
  • Mini flour or corn tortillas
  • Diced tomatoes (optional)
  • Shredded lettuce (optional)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Assorted cut fruit

Directions

  1. Brown ground beef in a sauté pan over medium heat. Return the beef to the pan.
  2. Add water, seasoning mix, and oil.
  3. Heat mixture over medium heat until it thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Fill (or roll) tortillas with meat mixture, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes.
  6. Serve with a side of fruit.

2. Zucchini Turkey Burgers

Kids will love these turkey burgers, especially if you cut them into fun shapes or make smiley faces with the ketchup. Plus, adding zucchini to turkey burgers is an excellent way to get in an extra serving of hidden veggies.

Servings: 8

Ingredients

Turkey burger
  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 cup of finely shredded zucchini
  • Sweet hamburger buns, like King's Hawaiian
  • Salt to taste
  • Ketchup
  • Sliced pickles (optional)
  • Lettuce (optional)
  • Sliced cheese (optional)
  • Optional sides: sweet potato fries, smiley fries, carrot sticks

Directions

  1. Mix ground turkey, egg, and zucchini in large bowl. Shape into patties and set aside.
  2. Place olive oil in pan; then add turkey patties.
  3. Cook turkey patties on medium heat until brown and juices run clear instead of pink.
  4. Place cooked burger on bun with salt to taste, ketchup (optional), sliced pickles (optional), lettuce (optional), and cheese if desired.
  5. Serve with sweet potato fries or smiley-face fries, and carrot sticks.

3. Slow Cooker Corn Chip Chili

Adding corn chips to chili is an excellent way to get kids to eat this nutritious recipe. Plus, kids will love that this version isn't spicy like some versions. A small green salad with a kid-friendly healthy dressing, like ranch, would be an easy side.

Servings: 10

Ingredients

Chili with corn chips
  • 1.5 pounds of lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
  • 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of chili-ready diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon of oil
  • 1/4 cup of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 bag of corn chips
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, optional

Directions

  1. Brown ground beef (or turkey) in a sauté pan on medium-high heat until fully cooked.
  2. Place cooked meat and all other ingredients except for the chips, avocado, and cheese, in the slow cooker and mix well.
  3. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 hours.
  4. Top each serving of chili with diced avocados and corn chips. Add shredded cheese if desired.

4. Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs

Most kids will enjoy the sweet taste of this teriyaki chicken recipe, along with the novelty of eating their dinner off a skewer. It's easy to make, and an excellent substitute for chicken nuggets.

Servings: 4 kabobs

Ingredients

Chicken kabobs
  • 1 pound of chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup of teriyaki marinade
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 green pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • Oven-safe skewers
  • Assorted cut fresh fruit

Directions

  1. Place chicken and vegetables in a large bowl.
  2. Pour teriyaki marinade in bowl and stir well; soak for 45 minutes.
  3. Push chicken and vegetables on skewers, alternating as desired, with about four pieces of chicken on each.
  4. Place skewers on baking sheet.
  5. Cook in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
  6. Serve with fresh fruit.

5. Chip-Crusted Cod

It's hard for kids to turn down fish fillets when they are encrusted with chips! This recipe is sure to be a hit for children of all ages.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

Crusted fish
  • 4 cod fillets, thawed
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons of mayonnaise
  • 1 package of salt and vinegar potato chips
  • Red potatoes
  • Fresh asparagus

Directions

  1. Place cod on a greased baking sheet.
  2. Top each fillet with 1/2 teaspoon of mayonnaise.
  3. Sprinkle salt on fish.
  4. Crush chips, and place on top of each fillet.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with red potatoes and fresh asparagus.

Nutrition Beyond the Nugget

Changing up your child's menu regularly is a must to meet daily nutritional needs. Luckily, numerous kid-friendly dinner ideas will make excellent replacements for chicken nuggets.

5 Dinners Your Kids Will Like as Much as Chicken Nuggets