What’s for dinner? 10 easy ideas both kids + grown-ups will love

As a busy mom and owner of a nutrition counseling private practice, I am a big fan of one meal for the whole family. I am not a short order cook and I encourage you not to be too—it just makes your life so much easier!

Here are 10 dinners that are quick, simple and fun for the whole family to enjoy:

1. Build your own taco bar

Start the assembly line with an option of a lettuce leaf, whole wheat tortilla bread, or collard green wrap. Then...

  1. Choose 1 or 2 protein options such as black beans, chicken breast strips or taco style meat (select lean ground turkey or chicken and lightly sauté with avocado oil and onions, garlic, tomato paste, and paprika).
  2. Choose an assortment of vegetables such as cauliflower or broccoli rice (add cut up cauliflower or broccoli to a food processor, pulverize until it is evenly chopped into small pieces, sauté lightly with avocado oil and pepper to taste), avocado, oven baked sweet potatoes, lightly sautéed peppers and onions.
  3. Choose 1-3 options of toppings: Greek yogurt, salsa verde, guacamole or low fat part skim mozzarella cheese.

Psst—If you want a little change, this taco is a huge hit in my house too and is filled with nutrient packed superfoods: Salmon Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw and Spinach Walnut Pesto.

2. Pumpkin chickpea pasta

Boil 1 box of chickpea pasta for 7 minutes. Drain liquids, transfer back to the bowl and add 2 cups of pumpkin puree, 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded), ½ cup 2% milk, 1 Tablespoon avocado oil, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder and black pepper to taste.

3. Oven-“fried” fish with roasted broccoli and sweet potato fries

Bread any white fish (I like cod or halibut) by dipping the fish fillets into eggs and almond meal. Season with basil and black pepper, and bake at 400F with skin side down for about 20-25 minutes until fish flakes easily when tested.

Roast broccoli with a touch of avocado oil and garlic, bake on 375F for about 30 minutes.

Cut sweet potatoes into julienne strips, season with cinnamon and bake on 425F for 20 minutes.

Psst—To make it fun for younger kids, you could use a cookie cutter prior to breading and make the fish into a particular shape. My son loves dinosaurs so any food shaped like a dinosaur is sure to be a win!

4. Spaghetti squash bowl with meatballs

Cut spaghetti squash in half, remove pits, and place the skin side up in a medium sized oven pan.

Spray each side lightly with avocado oil and bake on 350F for 30 minutes, flipping midway through.

While the spaghetti squash is cooking, prep the meatballs: Add 1 lb lean ground turkey or chicken to a medium size bowl with ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup finely chopped mushrooms or zucchini, 1 onion, 2 whole eggs, paprika, black pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Mix the meatball mixture, form into meatballs and add to a large pot of simmered low sodium tomato sauce. Cook for about 20 minutes.

Once the spaghetti squash is ready, use a fork to remove the flesh and plate with meatballs and sauce on top.

5. Veggie frittata

Scramble 5 whole eggs and 7 egg whites in a bowl. Add veggies of your choice to mixture (I particularly love mushrooms and broccoli together). Welcome ½ cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese or 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast.

Fill up medium sized pan and bake on 350F for about 20 minutes.

6. Tofu scramble

Use a fork to crumble the tofu into bite sized pieces. Add tofu, thinly sliced pepper, tomatoes, onions and spinach with avocado oil to an iron skillet on the stove top. Season with garlic powder, black pepper and basil.

Sautee lightly and enjoy with roasted potatoes or 1-2 slices of toasted whole wheat bread and avocado.

7. Black bean and beef sliders

With a potato masher or fork, mash ¼ cup cooked black beans with 1 tablespoon avocado oil, and garlic powder until very creamy. Mix the black bean mixture with ½ pound ground lean beef. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Broil for about 20 minutes, flipping midway through. Toast whole wheat buns and add mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, cucumbers to your liking. (This makes about 8 sliders.)

8. Spinach stuffed chicken breasts

Cut a pocket into each chicken breast, going almost all the way through.

Divide ½ cup chopped spinach and 2 tablespoons chopped basil for 4 chicken breasts and fill each chicken breast pocket with it, adding 2-3 lemon slices. Use toothpicks to hold the pockets closed. Season chicken with black pepper and salt to taste.

Bake chicken on 350F for about 25- 30 minutes. Serve with quinoa and a side of steamed broccoli. (This recipe is for 4 chicken breasts.)

9. Turkey bean chili

Heat 2 teaspoons of avocado oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place 1-pound ground lean turkey in the pot and cook until evenly brown. Stir in 1 chopped onion, 1 cup carrots and parsnips and cook until tender.

Add 2 cups of water into the pot. Mix in 4 diced tomatoes, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 16 ounces of kidney beans and garlic. Season with ½ teaspoon of chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.

Psst—If you want to make vegetarian, omit the turkey and add an additional 16 ounces of beans instead.

10. Homemade pizza

Choose the pizza crust you desire below and the instructions that follow.

A. Pre-made whole wheat pizza crust. Bring dough to room temperature and then use a rolling pan to evenly roll dough into your desired pizza crust shape. If you have a pizza stone, place the crust on the pizza stone and add low sodium tomato sauce and desired toppings (such as broccoli, red peppers, mushrooms, artichokes) and ½ cup low fat mozzarella cheese. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes on 400F.

B. Home-made cauliflower crust. In a bowl, combine 1 head of cauliflower with ¼ cup shredded mozzarella, ¼ grated Parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon oregano, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, 2 eggs and salt to taste.

Transfer to the center of the baking sheet and spread the mixture into a circle, resembling a pizza crust. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.

Remove and add low sodium tomato sauce with desired toppings (such as broccoli, red peppers, mushrooms, artichokes) and ¼ cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake in oven for an additional 10 minutes.

Psst—If you want the crust to be a bit more crispy, return the pizza to the oven and increase the temperature to 450F for an additional 5 minutes.

In This Article

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


    This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

    One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

    If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

    Stylish storage cabinet

    Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

    White board calendar + bulletin board

    With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

    Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

    From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

    Bamboo storage drawers

    The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

    Laminated world map

    I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

    Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

    When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.


    From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

    Expandable tablet stand

    Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

    Neutral pocket chart

    Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

    Totable fabric bins

    My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

    Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

    Work + Money

    Cameron Diaz on having a baby at 47: 'You really have to work hard for it'

    "The only pressure for me now is I have to live to be, like, 107, you know? No pressure!"

    This is the decade that saw the face of first-time motherhood change. The number of first-time mamas under 30 is shrinking, while more and more women are becoming moms after 40.

    Cameron Diaz is one of them. The actress and businesswoman, now 48, became a mom in January at the age of 47. In a new episode of Naomi Campbell's YouTube series, No Filter, Diaz opens up about what it's like to become a mom in your fourth decade.

    "A lot of people do it the other way around ... they get married [and] have a family in their youth," says Diaz."I'm kind of doing it in the second half of my life."

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