Top Nine Tips to Help Moms Make Dinnertime Healthy and Interesting

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Ensuring your family eats healthy can often feel like an uphill battle, particularly when it comes to satisfying picky eaters and balancing the demands of a busy household. Moms already have a never-ending list of responsibilities, from managing work and household chores to helping with homework and extracurricular activities. Amidst all this, the idea of crafting nutritious meals that everyone enjoys might seem overwhelming. The good news is that making dinnertime both healthy and interesting doesn’t require a complete overhaul of your routine. With a few strategic tips and some delightful recipes, you can transform mealtime into a nourishing and enjoyable part of your day. 

Here are some tips to help you achieve just that.

1. Plan Meals Ahead

Planning your meals ahead of time can save you from the stress of last-minute decisions and ensure that you have all the ingredients you need for healthy meals. Use a weekly meal planner to organize your dinners and include a variety of foods to keep things interesting. Meal planning also helps you avoid the temptation of ordering takeout, which can be less healthy and more expensive. Start by creating a list of family favorite recipes and incorporating them into your weekly plan. Don’t forget to include seasonal fruits and vegetables to take advantage of their peak flavors and nutritional benefits.

2. Make Side Dishes Healthy and Appealing

Incorporate vegetables into side dishes but make them appealing for kids by adding small amounts of ingredients they love. For instance, you can make a delicious salad that includes a mix of vegetables with a touch of mayonnaise and sugar to make it more appealing. For weekends or special dinner nights like a celebration or when you’ve got other members of your family coming over, try this seven layer salad recipe:

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 head of lettuce, chopped
    • 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
    • 1 cup of diced celery
    • 1/2 cup of chopped green bell pepper
    • 1/2 cup of chopped red onion
    • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1 cup of cooked bacon, crumbled
    • 1 cup of mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • Instructions:
  1. In a large bowl, layer the lettuce, peas, celery, bell pepper, and red onion.
  2. Spread mayonnaise evenly over the top layer.
  3. Sprinkle sugar over the mayonnaise.
  4. Add shredded cheese and bacon on top.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

This salad is a great way to get kids to eat vegetables without them even realizing it. The touch of mayonnaise and sugar makes it more appealing to their taste buds.

3. Get the Kids Involved

Involve your kids in the meal preparation process. Let them help with simple tasks like washing vegetables, mixing ingredients, or setting the table. This not only teaches them about healthy eating but also makes them more likely to enjoy the food they helped prepare. Kids are often more excited to eat meals they have had a hand in creating. 

4. Use Whole Grains

Switch to whole grains for a healthier diet. Replace white rice with brown rice, use whole wheat pasta, and choose whole grain bread. These options are more nutritious and provide essential fiber, which helps in digestion and keeps you feeling full longer. Whole grains also have a richer flavor and texture, which can make meals more satisfying. When introducing whole grains, start slowly by mixing them with refined grains and gradually increasing the proportion of whole grains to help your family adjust to the change.

5. Experiment with Herbs and Spices

Enhance the flavor of your dishes without adding extra calories by using herbs and spices. Experiment with different combinations to find what your family enjoys. For example, try adding basil to tomato dishes or cinnamon to sweet potatoes. Herbs and spices can transform a simple dish into a gourmet meal. They also offer various health benefits; for instance, turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, while garlic can boost the immune system. Don’t be afraid to try new flavors and introduce your family to different cuisines.

6. Include a Variety of Proteins

Ensure your family gets a variety of proteins by incorporating different sources such as lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and legumes. This not only makes meals more interesting but also provides a range of essential nutrients. Rotating protein sources prevents mealtime monotony and ensures that your family benefits from the diverse nutrients each type of protein offers. For instance, fish like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, while beans provide fiber and plant-based protein. Introducing dishes like grilled chicken, lentil soup, or baked salmon can keep dinners both nutritious and exciting.

7. Make Healthier Versions of Favorite Dishes

Take your family’s favorite dishes and make healthier versions of them. For example, you can make baked chicken nuggets instead of fried ones or use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in recipes. Simple swaps can significantly reduce unhealthy fats and calories while maintaining the delicious flavors your family loves. For example, try using whole wheat flour for baking, swapping out ground beef for ground turkey, or making homemade pizza with a cauliflower crust. These healthier versions not only taste great but also ensure your family enjoys their favorite meals guilt-free.

8. Serve Fruits as Dessert

Replace sugary desserts with fruits. You can make fruit salads or smoothies or simply serve a bowl of mixed berries. Fruits are naturally sweet and provide essential vitamins and minerals. This is a great way to end meals on a healthy note while satisfying your family’s sweet tooth. A fruit parfait with layers of yogurt, granola, and fresh berries can be a delightful and nutritious dessert. Smoothies made with bananas, strawberries, and a splash of orange juice are another tasty option. Incorporating fruits into desserts also helps in meeting daily recommended fruit intake in a fun and enjoyable way.

9. Use Cooking Methods that Retain Nutrients

Choose cooking methods that retain the most nutrients, such as steaming, grilling, or baking, instead of frying. These methods preserve the nutritional value of the food while keeping it flavorful. For example, steaming vegetables ensures they retain their vitamins and minerals while grilling meats can enhance their natural flavors without adding extra fats. Baking is another excellent method that keeps food moist and tender without the need for excessive oils. By adopting these healthier cooking techniques, you can prepare meals that are both nutritious and delicious.


Making dinnertime healthy and interesting doesn’t have to be a challenge. These tips can help you promote a balanced diet while making mealtime a fun and engaging part of the day. Follow these strategies, and soon enough, healthy eating will become a natural and enjoyable routine for your family. With a little creativity and effort, you can turn every dinner into a delicious and healthy experience for everyone.


Dusty is the owner and editor of As Mom Sees It, a product review and family matters blog. She is the mother of two in Ohio and has partnered with companies like Nike, Verizon, Kingston Technology. You can find her on Twitter at @AsMomSeesIt.