• Heather Acken

5 Kid friendly, healthy, easy weeknight meals (that take 20 mins or less)



When it comes to eating healthfully, my motto is it doesn’t have to be hard and take a ton of time. I’ve always been a fan of quick and easy meals. I’m certainly not a chef at heart as my husband can attest to :). Back in my pre-kid and eating healthful days, cereal was always a go to meal for me. Once I decided to get my diet in check that all changed. Having a kiddo also made me want to serve something better and lead by example. The problem I’ve always had though, I can’t meal prep consistently for my life. Thus was born the idea behind my philosophy to, “eat like a toddler.” So many convenient kids favorites can be made quickly and also more healthy. Think of what your kids love or yourself and try to recreate a healthier version.


Time is usually an issue for me during the week. Though I would love to spend time recreating meals it just doesn’t work for us. We both work full time and I honestly just don’t want to spend my evenings in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. Below I am sharing our go-to meals that are quick and easy. All of these meals can be adjusted to suit your needs; but all at the heart all are paleo, Whole30, and keto friendly. I've always been a fan of quick and easy meals. I’m certainly not a chef at heart as my husband can attest to :). Back in my pre-kid and eating healthful days, cereal was always a go to meal for me. Once I decided to get my diet in check that all changed. Having a kiddo also made me want to serve something better and lead by example. Thus was born the idea behind my philosophy to, “eat like a toddler.” So many convenient kids favorites can be made quickly and also more healthy. Think of what your kids love or yourself and try to recreate a healthier version.


Time is usually an issue for me during the week. Though I would love to spend time recreating meals it just doesn’t work for us. We both work full time and I honestly just don’t want to spend my evenings in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. Below I am sharing our go-to meals that are quick and easy. All of these meals can be adjusted to suit your needs but all are at the heart paleo, Whole30, and keto friendly.


1. Taco Bowls

This one takes even less time if you’re the type to have meat browned for the week ahead of time. I never do, so in the time it take to brown my meat and season it I have dinner ready. While the meat is cooking I chop up lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, and any other toppings. If you like you can make some rice (steamable) or cauliflower rice. If you’re feeling frisky, this pairs well with my Spanish Cauliflower Rice. Just cook it while the meat is cooking.

Taco meat with spanish cauliflower rice and guacamole

2. Meatballs

I usually freeze batches of my own but finding meatballs with clean ingredients are getting easier to find. Here’s a link to my recipe. I like to reheat mine in the air fryer or microwave. Change up the flavors you want by changing the sauce you pour on top (here’s a link to some of my favorites). I personally love buffalo sauce ranch, almond sauce, ketchup, or bbq. Usually I like to serve mine with fresh veggies like carrots, snap peas, or peppers that you can serve raw for dipping too. This is my quickest meal to make.

Meatballs with compliant buffalo sauce, ranch, and steamed broccoli

3. Burgers

again having frozen patties on hand is key. You can quickly grill them, heat them in a skillet, or air fry as well. I like to serve mine bun-less with guacamole, ketchup, mustard, salsa, or pesto. Sauces are your friend yet again. Serve with some quick sautéed veggies like summer squash and zucchini or a bag of steamable veggies.

Burger with fried egg, compliant bacon, avocado, and homemade fries

4. Sausage skillet

Frozen compliant sausages are also always in my freezer. I like to cut them up and cook them in a skillet with sliced potatoes and broccoli. Cook the potatoes first and then add your meat if precooked. Finish with the veggies. If you are like me and forget to defrost your sausages, heat them in a covered skillet with a little water to defrost and then add oil and uncover to brown.

Compliant kielbasa with spaghetti squash, onions, and spinach

5. Brinner

When all else fails having eggs for dinner will save you every time. I like to either eat scrambled or fried, usually with some breakfast hash or potatoes and some fruit. Feel free to make an omelet with leftover veggies, use up some avocado or guacamole or even try pesto. Eggs are just the easiest protein to cook.

Scrambled eggs with compliant bacon, guacamole, and kimchi

Here’s a list of items I always have on hand either in the fridge or freezer to make sure I can whip up any one of these meals during the week:


  1. Frozen meatballs-store bought compliant or leftovers from making a double batch (click here for my recipe)

  2. Frozen turkey or beef burger patties

  3. Frozen ground turkey, beef, or bison

  4. Frozen Compliant sausage-chicken apple, kielbasa, and Italian are favorites

  5. Eggs

  6. Breakfast sausage or bacon

  7. Guacamole-freezes well

  8. Mayo-for sauce bases (click here for my recipe)

  9. Frozen veggies and cauliflower rice