5 Kid-Friendly Dinners Under $5
By Nicole Kiley, MSc, RD
Here is a great story for all you moms and dads out there. I am currently childless, and while I can theoretically empathize with the working parent, I know that I have not yet “gone to war” myself. The other day I was invited over to a friend’s house for supper. She and her husband have four, yes four, children. Three boys and 1 girl, all under the age of 6. Their kitchen and dining room during this time was nothing short of a battlefield. Arms were flailing, emotions were high and kids and food were everywhere. We all laughed as my friend exclaimed, “Welcome to my world.” This experience inspired today’s blog.
• Bring you 5 kid-friendly dinner recipes
• Plan each recipe to be healthy and nutritionally balanced
• Design each meal to be under $5
Slightly Sloppy Mikes
This recipe is a healthy twist on the old-school sloppy Joe. After your initial investment of maple syrup and Worcestershire sauce, this is a very affordable and delicious family favorite.
whole wheat or gluten-free buns (regular bread slices will do just fine, too!)
1/2 lb. organic ground turkey
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup pinto beans
1/2 cup black beans
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. spicy mustard
dash of sea salt
dash of black pepper
1 jalapeño pepper, minced (optional)
• Cook turkey meat on medium heat for about 10 minutes until done.
• In separate large pan, sauté onion, garlic, green pepper and jalapeño until soft. Add meat to the veggie pan along with rest of ingredients and reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
• Once thickened, scoop onto bread of your choice and serve.
• This can also be eaten breadless in a bowl!
East Coast Breakfast Toast
Keep dinner fun and try this “breakfast for dinner” French toast recipe!
8 slices of whole grain or sprouted grain bread
1 cup milk
coconut oil (as needed)
dash of cinnamon
• Coat pan with coconut oil and place over low heat.
• In bowl, beat eggs and milk together with fork.
• Dip bread slices into egg mixture and soak through. Put bread slices in pan and heat until lightly browned. Be sure to flip them over to cook both sides.
• Repeat until all bread slices have been browned.
• Top each bread slice with cinnamon and fresh fruit, or serve with organic maple syrup
Easy Lentil Soup
The air is crisp and there’s nothing more satisfying than warm homemade soup.
2 Tbsp. avocado oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. dried brown lentils
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 bay leaf
2 quarts vegetable broth
dash of Pink Himalayan sea salt
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped parsley
freshly ground black pepper
• Heat avocado oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat for about 1 minute. Add onions, carrots and celery, and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Add lentils and barley and stir to combine. Add bay leaf, broth and a dash of sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover with lid slightly cracked, and cook until lentils are completely tender and falling apart, about 1 hour, adding water as necessary. Lentils and barley should be totally covered with water at all times.
• Using a hand blender, blend soup until as smooth as desired. Whisk in lemon juice to taste, along with parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Spinach, Pinto Bean & Potato Soup
Kids not a fan of lentil soup? Try this delicious bean and potato soup recipe!
2 Tbsp. avocado oil
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
8 oz. red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
Pink Himalayan sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
5 cups torn baby spinach leaves
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. red-wine vinegar
• Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrots to pot and sauté until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
• Add potatoes and 4 cups water. Add dash of sea salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low. Let cook until potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Mash half the contents of the pot until slightly thickened. Add spinach and beans and continue cooking until spinach is tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in vinegar.
Mom’s Meatloaf in A Pinch
This recipe calls for minimal preparation and can bake while you’re helping the kids finish homework!
1 lb. ground turkey
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup oat bran (or buckwheat)
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce dash of sea salt
1 Tbsp. avocado oil
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
• In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
• Wipe avocado oil on inside of loaf pan and transfer mixture to the pan. Bake for 45 minutes.
• Remove from oven, slice and serve with your favorite sides.
Nicole is the Head Registered Dietitian at The Dolce Diet. She believes that long-term health is achieved through an individualized approach to nutrition that is not only evidence-based, but also sustainable and enjoyable. Serving both our private clients and professional athletes, Nicole aims to empower individuals with confidence and education, fully equipping them to reach and maintain their health goals.