Rumor has it that children can be pretty picky eaters. On top of mulling through the store to grab ingredients and make sure a hot dinner is on the table, there’s a chance your child won’t even eat it. As a parent, that’s the last position you’d like to be in. Thankfully, there are some tried-and-true kid-friendly foods that seem to go well at dinner tables everywhere. Furthermore, these are all options you can simply pull out of the freezer and heat up in no time. Just make a batch, store them in the freezer and grab them at your leisure. By adding a few fresh sides and the appropriate condiments, your child can enjoy a hot meal that didn’t require a lot of immediate energy when you’re rushing home from work. In order to help with meal prepping and getting a kid-friendly meal on the table, consider enjoying these kid-approved frozen foods to get dinner on the table.
1. Chicken Tenders/Nuggets
Chicken nuggets are definitely a kid favorite. While chicken nuggets are small, chicken fingers and chicken tenders tend to be much longer. If you have a child with a bigger appetite, bigger portions such as the tenders or the fingers will work well. It’s easy to put chicken nuggets in the toaster oven or the air fryer to heat up for a few minutes.Read More »
For a balanced meal, it’s good to have a few side dishes that are easy to prepare. While the chicken nuggets are heating up, throw in a few pieces of garlic bread. Boil some water to make some instant mashed potatoes on the stovetop. To add some color to the plate, saute some baby carrots and broccoli on medium-high heat. With some melted, unsalted butter and a dash of salt and pepper, those veggies will be easy to serve. This entire meal won’t take more than 20 minutes to fully prepare. It’s one of the most perfect dinner options for picky eaters.
2. Naan Pizza
Depending on how many pieces of naan bread come in a pack, you can put the whole pack in the freezer once you bring it home from the grocery store. However, if you want to preserve the naan bread for as long as possible, it’s a better idea to individually wrap each piece in aluminum foil. Place the foil-wrapped naan bread into a freezer-safe bag. Then, when you’re ready to make a few individual pizzas, you can pull out the exact amount you’d like. It only takes a matter of minutes to fully defrost naan bread. Once you’ve unwrapped the bread, place it on a baking sheet. With a tablespoon, pour and spread some water on the bread. Then, place the bread in the oven to defrost. This process will soften the bread and defrost it quickly.
Have fun with your sauces. A standard tomato sauce is easy to use. You can grab that from the pantry. However, it’s okay to mix things up for a little variety. Make a white sauce with alfredo sauce you have in your pantry. Use basil pesto in place of tomato sauce. For your toppings, you can keep it simple with mozzarella cheese and a couple of veggies like broccoli and onions. Once you’ve added the toppings and sauces to the bread, allow the pizzas to bake for a few minutes. Once you pulled them out of the oven, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top. Your kids will be happy with a hot meal that’s guaranteed to be one of the best kid-approved frozen foods.
3. French Fries
It’s pretty common for people to view french fries as a great side item for burgers or pizza. Since french fries are a kid favorite, it’s a great idea to make this potato dish its own meal. Just turn them into chili cheese fries. Once you’ve pulled a bag of frozen french fries from the freezer, place them in the toaster oven or the air fryer. If you deep fry them in oil, this just adds an unnecessary amount of fat to the mix.
If you own a crockpot, make a chili a few hours prior. Open cans of kidney beans, black beans and any other bean you’d like to add. For many people, ground meat is optional. If you’d like to add ground meat, cook it in a skillet before adding it to the crockpot. Add spices such as cumin, garlic powder and onion powder. Along with salt and pepper, stir these spices into the mix. To increase the nutritional value, add options like diced peppers, onions and corn. Once you’ve allowed the mixture to simmer on low heat during the day, the flavors will merge beautifully. Once dinnertime rolls around and the french fries are baked, pour the chili on top.
Just before serving, sprinkle good helpings of shredded cheese on top. Cheddar cheese tends to be a fan favorite. Sour cream, guacamole and salsa always make chili cheese fries better. If you have a picky eater who might not like those toppings, place them on the side first.
You can either purchase pre-made frozen lasagna or make your own to freeze in advance. If you opt to make your own lasagna and freeze until you’re ready to use it, there are so many delicious options you and your children can enjoy for an easy dinner. If you know that you’d like to enjoy lasagna the following day, simply transfer the lasagna from the freezer to the refrigerator overnight. Since most lasagnas are really dense, it’s better to give them time to naturally defrost before sticking them in the oven. Plus, this will cut down the baking time.
In order to make lasagna feel even more decadent and fresh, add the right sides. Garlic bread tends to be one of the best kid-friendly foods. If a side salad won’t go over well, this might be a great time to experiment with new vegetables. This is especially true if you’re able to sneak cooked spinach into the lasagna for a serving of vegetables. Try options like glazed carrots, asparagus or brussel sprouts.
Burritos are really easy to build, wrap and freeze. It’s also really easy to make a range of options in order to give a child a bit of autonomy. If they’d like a breakfast burrito, it’s nice to have that option available because there’s nothing wrong with having breakfast for dinner. If you make five or ten burritos in advance, this one effort can provide five or ten meals.
For a breakfast burrito, season and scramble a few eggs. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. Add a few tater tots or shredded hash browns to the mixture. When it’s time to defrost and serve this option, put salsa on the side. While tomato salsa is delicious, don’t forget about green salsa as it provides a different flair and depth.
6. Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Broccoli cheddar soup tends to be a major hit when the leaves change colors and the temperatures drop. It’s one of the best ways to combine the healthy nutrients of vegetables like broccoli and onions with the decadence of cream, cheddar cheese and butter. After preparing a large batch, pour it into freezer-safe containers. It merely takes a few minutes to pull a container out, place the frozen contents into a pot and let it defrost. Then, you can walk away while the soup defrosts and simmers on low heat. Check it every ten minutes to stir. Once the soup is ready, pair it with a simple sandwich or a slice of sourdough bread. Serve with a chocolate chip cookie for dessert, and this dinner option for picky eaters will rival many of the options in local eateries.
Taquitos are in the enchilada family. Though, they’re much thinner. They’re also typically crispy. Taquitos are often found in the frozen section of grocery stores. They’re really easy to prepare as a fun replacement for tacos on Taco Tuesday. If you’d like to try a homemade version, fill them with your choices such as black beans, chicken or ground turkey. Using seasonings like cumin, garlic powder and red pepper flakes to add some spice. Once you’ve prepared the filling, carefully place the mixture down the center of a small soft-shell taco. Wrap the taco until it looks a lot like a flute. Bake the taquitos in the oven for a few minutes. If you’d like to do a large batch and freeze them, just roll them and immediately place them in the freezer. They can bake when you’re ready to defrost and eat them at a later time. This kid-friendly food definitely deserves its fair share of sour cream, salsa and guacamole in order to take it to the next level.
The process of meal planning can feel arduous, mundane and never-ending. Still, there’s an opportunity for an enjoyable experience. Find ways to make the process and dinnertime enjoyable. After all, the dinner table is the perfect place for families to connect. Turn on some music as you prepare the side dishes. Pour yourself a glass of sparkling water or wine as you get things going. Turn it into a relaxing experience instead of a chaotic time with tantrums, full plates of refused food and more. If a meal doesn’t work out for one of the picky eaters, don’t stress yourself out. There’s always takeout. In the meantime, do your best to prepare with these tips. As you develop a routine, you’ll get a better grasp on what foods can become staples in your household as you work to nourish and develop healthy, happy children.