You’ve slaved for hours painstakingly planning, preparing, and cooking the healthiest, most colorfully delicious and nutritiously well-rounded meal you could have hoped for. It has protein; it has vitamins and minerals; it’s the perfect balance of carbs, sugars, fats, fibers, and flavors guaranteed to help your kids grow up big and strong — and they won’t touch it. The usual dinnertime fight follows, where they’re stuck at the table balling until they force down the misery you’ve inflicted upon them — you terrible, cruel human being, you. Sound familiar? Well, hopefully not for long.
Cracking the “what will my kid eat” plus “what is good for my kid” conundrum isn’t easy. We’ve asked our Top 100 Mom Food Bloggers for their go-to kid-friendly recipe. Check out their responses, and skip the mealtime drama! —Max Minckler
Mango Vanilla Yogurt Popsicles 1 of 16
I have several go-to recipes, but these mango- and vanilla yogurt-flavored popsicles are my favorite. They never fail to please, and they are relatively healthy. They make for the perfect after-school snack because they suppress those deathly "suicide hour" whines.
— Michelle Peters Jones, The Tiffin Box
Get the recipe for mango vanilla yogurt popsicles
Strawberry Crepes 2 of 16
CrÃªpes! Yes, my kids love when I take the time to make strawberry crÃªpes for breakfast. My family knows this is a treat because it takes awhile to make one crÃªpe after another so that we can all eat at the same time. Last year, we picked fresh strawberries from our fabulous fruit farm outside of Houston and made a batch that I wrote about!
— Sarah Kenney, Snippets of Thyme
Chicken Now and Later 3 of 16
My kids like really simple food. The simpler, the better. An ideal meal for them: roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and a vegetable they like. The great thing about roast chicken is that it takes five minutes to prepare (about an hour to cook, yes, but you can work on other things in the meantime). Then you have this great chicken carcass with which to make chicken soup later in the week, another favorite of the kids.
— Tammy Donroe, Food on the Food
Get the recipe for roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and vegetables
Get the recipe for leftover chicken soup
Chicken Nuggets and Corn Dog Bites 4 of 16
Sourdough Pizza 5 of 16
Good Old Spaghetti and Sauce 6 of 16
Kids often enjoy the simplest dishes, so my go-to recipe is definitely
spaghetti with homemade tomato sauce, made with fresh tomatoes! Healthy, simple, and delicious!
— Manuela, Manus Menus
Mexican Tortas 7 of 16
My go-to kid-friendly recipe? Tortas, which are the Mexican version of the sandwich, but with crusty bread and many delicious things tucked inside. They are simple, easy to adjust for your kids' tastes, and portable — so they're great to pack for lunch as school starts back up. I always make my own when I take the train, too!
— Patricia Jinich, Pati's Mexican Table
Mexican-Style Street Corn 8 of 16
Tlayudas 9 of 16
Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders 10 of 16
Pizza, Pizza, Pizza 11 of 16
When all else fails, we make pizza. And not the handcrafted rolled-dough variety, but the kind made from pita breads (or flatbreads) pulled straight out of the fridge or freezer, topped, and shoved into a hot oven. My daughter loves constructing her own pizzas, meaning she's more likely to eat the finished product, too. This would be a great recipe for big groups of kids at parties, sleepovers, or BBQs.
— Amanda Niehaus, Easy Peasy Organic
Comfort Salad 12 of 16
I must admit I've never thought in terms of kid-friendly recipes. I just cook what I want to cook and put it in front of my kids. Sometimes they hate it. Sometimes they love it. But most of the time it's just dinner. And, of course, they're always welcome to be a part of the process, from planning to shopping to cooking. These days, my daughter pushes for more pastas, pizzas, and hamburgers, while my son always wants salads. But by next month I'm sure their cravings will have shifted. I try not to get attached. Here's a salad that has made every creature in the house happy over and over again.
— Phyllis Grant, Dash and Bella
Two Teriyakis 13 of 16
DIY Tacos 14 of 16
My kids (and all kids?) just love TACOS. The key is to make your own taco seasoning, and, if you feel like taking on a fun but easy taco project with the kids, homemade tortillas are great. I make many different kinds of tacos, including ones with carnitas, yum!
— Stacie Billis, One Hungry Mama
Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese 15 of 16
Plain and Perfect Pancakes 16 of 16
Pancakes — everyone loves them, and kids can get in on the cooking action very easily. My 3-year-old helps mix the batter, while my almost 5-year-old is learning to man the skillet. They can be made traditional or savory, and you can add a lot of healthy toppings. On my blog you can find recipes for oatmeal pancakes, savory cottage cakes, blueberry Johnny cakes, and light-as-air Mississippi pancakes. We eat them for dinner more often than we eat them for breakfast!
— Anna Thomas Bates, Tallgrass Kitchen