Every parent needs a few quick meal ideas up their sleeve. As parents, your day to day is filled with enough stress already. Meals shouldn’t have to add to the load! Usually, parents give up, head for the nearest McDonalds or order take-out, just to make things a little easier. But, what if we said you can have both quick food, easy, and healthy food that won’t break the bank? I know that sounds far-fetched. But hear us out. If you find yourself dreading meal preparation and at a loss for what to feed your picky eaters, then our list of 25 Quick Meal Ideas for Busy Parents is here to help!
Build Your Own Quesadilla
Between homework, housework, after school activities, and traffic, dinner doesn’t need to add to your daily stress. Let the kids take over dinner by setting up a “quesadilla bar” with bowls of toppings and having them build their own quesadillas.
Hummus and Vegetable Dippers
Hummus and veggies were made for cutting corners and saving time. Just open up your favorite hummus brand, and cut your own veggies, or grab a packet of pre-sliced ones on your next grocery run.
Oatmeal and Fruit Slices
A quick morning meal when you’ve hit snooze one too many times, warm a packet of your choice of oatmeal with milk, and slice up some fruit, like bananas or strawberries, to add some extra natural sweetness.
Sloppy Joe Sliders
A pound of ground beef can go a long way when you spread it over some mini burger buns and add a little cheese. Season the meat with salt, pepper, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar, load it onto the mini buns, and bake for ten minutes.
Mini Build Your Own Pizzas
Minimal effort meets minimal clean up with a “build your own pizza” bar. Lay out the ingredients and let the kids put together their own meal. They will feel creative and you will accomplished when you have that much more time to relax in the evening.
Quick and easy and remarkably healthy, beans, a can of diced tomato, and shredded cheese will save you time while still giving your family a good measure of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Add some beef if you have the time.
Egg on Avocado Toast
A staple lunch item, an egg styled your favorite way on top of a fresh, mashed avocado on toast is quick and satisfying. Minimal preparation and clean up is always a plus, too.
Rice and Beans
The ever handy and versatile can of beans comes to the rescue again. Add some garlic, oregano, cilantro, and tomato sauce to give it some extra flavor. While that’s on the stove, throw some rice in your instant rice cooker. Combine the two of some quick, healthy deliciousness.
Broccoli and Chicken Parmesan Skillet
Another one pan skillet of perfection, you can sear up some sliced chicken and broccoli with Parmesan, and spice it up with some garlic, salt, pepper, and even add a dollop of sour cream to make it extra creamy.
Quick Potato Salad
Chop up that leftover potato in your fridge and let it boil on the stove, and when it’s done, spoon out some of your favorite mayonnaise and sprinkle on some salt, pepper, and paprika to spice it up. The kids never have to know how easy it was.
Baked Chicken Strips and Sweet Potato Fries
Being short on times doesn’t have to mean skimping on healthy dinners. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and lay your sliced chicken on top, season with garlic, salt, pepper, and whatever else you like. Next to them, dump a bag of sweet potato fries (sweet potatoes have a higher count of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than regular potatoes) and let them bake simultaneously.
Tuna Pasta Salad
A can of tuna and a box of pasta can go a long way. Cook up your favorite pasta and mix in a can of line-caught tuna (avoid the mess of chemicals that is farm raised fish) and spice it up with some rosemary and thyme.
Gnocchi, Chicken, and Mozzarella Skillet
One pan skillets are great for letting the family serve themselves. Just toss in a your favorite gnocchi, sliced chicken, and mozzarella chunks and stir until everything is cooked through.
Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Mushrooms
Classic scrambled eggs take only minutes over the stove, but try throwing in some spinach and mushrooms next time. Spinach is full of vitamins and minerals, like magnesium and potassium, and mushrooms are great sources of fiber and protein. For picking eaters, hiding veggies in scrambled eggs is the perfect and best tasting way to help them get their daily fill.
Chili Mac and Cheese
For the nights when you don’t have time to go grocery shopping, grabbing whatever cans of beans you have in the pantry and tossing them together in a pot will just have to do. You don’t have to feel bad about the lack of preparation, though, because beans are just what your kids need for their intake of protein, fiber, iron, and magnesium. Add some shredded cheese and spices, too!
Easy Baked Chicken Breasts
A much healthier (and almost just as quick) alternative to chicken nuggets, your kids will devour these in no time flat. Just slice up some thin chicken breasts and lay on the garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and little butter. Bake in the oven and even add some rice from the instant rice cooker.
Yogurt Bowl with Granola and Fruit
Quick breakfasts can feel empty and cheated, but granola and fruit mixed with your favorite yogurt is a perfect way to fuel your body while on the go. Granola helps you get in your daily fiber, and cultured yogurt keeps your gut healthy.
Annie's Boxed Soups
You’re exhausted. They’re exhausted. Boxed soups are the saving grace of suppertime in these instances, and Annie’s are a brand of organic soups that you can always rely on.
Cheesy Bagel Pizzas
Merging breakfast and dinner, these bagel pizzas are a few quick minutes in the oven and then out the door with you just as fast. Top with your favorite cheese and tomato sauce and bake until melted.
Loaded Baked Sweet Potato
Add to the nutritional value of an already-quick baked sweet potato by piling on some chickpeas and kale and your favorite dressing. Filling and healthy, it cuts down on cooking and cleaning time.
Gluten Free Chia Waffles
For the days when both you and the kids are running late, let the toaster oven do the work while you gather the gang, and grab some healthy gluten free chia waffles as they pop on your way out the door. Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3s and fiber, so you don’t have to feel like you’re skimping out with this shortcut, either.
Simple Tomato, Spinach, and Mushroom Pasta
Clean up is quick with this delicious and healthy recipe. While the pasta cooks, chop up some tomatoes and mushrooms and throw them in a pan with oil and paprika. Add a can of your favorite tomato sauce, and then the spinach. Pro tip: use pasta that comes in fun shapes so the kids won’t think about how healthy their meal actually is!
Baked Refried Beans and Cheese Burritos
While the oven is heating to 350 degrees, open a can of refried beans (use organic for some peace of mind and to avoid BPA lining), spread it over your favorite whole grain wrap and sprinkle on some cheese. Bake until crispy and you have a delicious, minimal mess meal.
Turkey and Tomato Waffle Sandwiches
Breakfast and lunch meet between two waffles stuffed with turkey and tomato slices. Quick and creative, you can even add some avocado slices or cheese.
A mason jar filled with healthy and delicious goodies awaits you in the morning after putting this recipe together the night before. Just stir together your choice of steel-cut oats, peanut butter, chia seeds, milk, and honey, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. You can even add some berries or fruits to the mix.