Every parent wants their kid to eat a healthy and balanced diet and, hopefully, to branch out into a variety of dishes.  Similarly, every parent knows how picky children can be, and that getting them the nutrients they need is an uphill battle.  Luckily, anyone who’s familiar with cooking Italian food can easily whip up a few quick and easy recipes that will satisfy both kids and adults.


  1. Pizza—Clearly, this is a dish that chances are your kids will love.  Depending on how much time you want to put into it, i.e. whether you want to make your own dough or simply pick up a pre-baked pizza crust from the supermarket, it can be a fun kitchen activity for you and your kids.  Give your kids a chance to be creative by picking their own toppings: offer bowls of sliced bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, sweet corn, pineapple, ham, and pepperoni—see how colorful they can make it!
  2. Spaghetti and meatballs—Another Italian classic that tastes great and is easily customized, spaghetti is the perfect after-school meal.  Get your kids involved with preparing the meatballs—mix a pound of ground beef or turkey with one egg and one minced onion, plus salt and pepper to taste and have your kid roll them into bite-sized balls to bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Alternatively, you can make a quick meat sauce by sautéing ground beef with chopped vegetables and garlic, then adding a jar of tomato sauce plus some tomato paste.
  3. Lasagna—While this may be a little bit more alien to some kids’ tastes, remind them that it’s Garfield’s favorite food and they’ll probably be willing to give it a try.  Baking a lasagna from scratch can be time intensive, but there are plenty of short-cut recipes involving ground beef, spaghetti sauce, cottage cheese, and whatever other fillings you’d like to throw in that are easy to prepare.  You could also go for a store-bought lasagna, but be careful when choosing these—they often have a very high salt content. cooking-industrial-kitchen-413474-l
  4. Baked Stuffed Shells—This one may take a little persuasion if your kids have never seen a stuffed shell before.  But they’re easy to cook and tasty, and they can be a good way to sneak greens like spinach into your kids’ diets.  Most recipes include ricotta and mozzarella cheese with chopped up basil and spinach as the stuffing for the shell-shaped pasta, which you then bake in a casserole dish of marinara sauce.
  5. Minestrone Soup—If you have a lot of leftover side dishes that you don’t know what to do with, combine them into a soup!  A good, hearty minestrone is the perfect opportunity for something like this, and the beauty of it is you can use virtually anything you want.  To a base of beef or chicken broth, add any leftover beans or veggies or meat that you have in the fridge and be sure to flavor it up with plenty of garlic, oregano, basil, and parsley—your kids won’t even know what they’re eating, but it’ll taste so good they won’t care!

To taste some traditional Italian dishes that your entire family will love, why not go to Italy?  Send us an enquiry if you’re interested in learning some Italian, or check out our different levels of Italian courses.