16 Nutritious Kid-Friendly Recipes for the Grill
This summer, think outside! With a range of grilling recipes guaranteed to appeal to kids.
As we head into summer grilling season, parents begin stocking up on that reliable, kid-friendly staple: the hot dog. As controversial as forcemeat can be—we’re looking at you, bologna! — the hot dog is nevertheless a standby option for filling bellies and making sure picky eaters get their daily calories. They’re easy to toss on the grill along with whatever the adults are eating. But for those of us who don’t want to feed our kids the same thing every day, here are some options for kid-friendly summer grilling that don’t involve a single hot dog.
There’s nothing easier to throw together or faster to grill than a skewer. They’re easy to marinate and assemble in advance—in fact they taste better this way—so they’re perfect to have on hand in the refrigerator during grilling season and to toss in a container to take to backyard parties. Most importantly, their convenient packaging and pre-cut, bite-sized pieces makes them ideal for kids. You can stack them with any meat or vegetable your child will eat, but here’s one version we really like:
Meatballs are great for kids for similar reasons: they’re conveniently bite-sized, they’re easy to assemble, and they cook quickly on the grill for impatient little ones—or adults! You can even grill some bread, like we did in the recipe below, and make grilled meatball sandwiches.
Quesadillas are another crowd-pleasing kid staple—plus they’re an easy way to sneak in some grilled summer vegetables, as in this corn- and zucchini-filled version.
Cooking potatoes in foil packets over the fire makes them tender and flavourful. This is an easy side dish kids are sure to enjoy when you’re barbecuing this summer.
Grilled Steak Salad
Your kids may turn up their noses at the term “salad,” but this hearty, one-dish dinner is composed of foods that will entice everyone, including grilled steak, kid-friendly quinoa, and a creamy yogurt dressing.
Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob is a summer rite of passage, a star player on any backyard table spread. If you’ve got more adventurous eaters, try serving grilled corn covered in a sweet, honey-ginger barbecue sauce.
Summer Veggie Burgers
These insanely delicious veggie burgers that are hearty, flavourful, and absolutely nothing like the frozen, store-bought patties you’re used to.
Grilled Pizza or Flatbread
Few things are easier than taking pizza dough—store-bought or homemade, doesn’t matter—and tossing it on the grill with whichever kid-approved toppings your crowd enjoys. To get the kids involved, make individually-sized grilled pies and let them each top their own.
Grilled Spaghetti and Meatballs
This is a weird one, so bear with us. Grilling pasta ensures that you get those sought-after crispy bits and a great caramelized flavour. Plus, it’s just a fun variation on a tried-and-true favourite
You may have heard us sing the praises of these mini patties as a make-ahead, family-friendly way to save weeknight dinner. They pack in some secret mushrooms, so your family eats a little less beef and a little more vegetables. We usually bake them, but there’s no reason you couldn’t throw them on the grill.
Tofu is a blank canvas for any flavour your kid loves, and it’s easy to toss on the grill. Try it with a citrus marinade, or a garlic mojo sauce that goes on absolutely everything.
A simple way to get dinner on the table for kids when you’re grilling is to make a batch of grains—pasta, quinoa, rice—ahead of time, and then mix in whatever vegetables you’ve tossed on the grill.
Grill up whichever meat and vegetables you have on hand, and then kids and adults can assemble their own meal and tortilla wraps based on their preferences.
Simple Grilled Chicken
This simple, go-to option doesn’t have to be boring—use plenty of garlic and herbs in the marinade to infuse the meat with flavour. Spatch-cocking will help the chicken cook more quickly and evenly, and give you plenty of crispy skin.
Taco Hobo Packs
Breakfast taco hobo packs are perfect for camping trips, but there’s no reason you can’t also feed them to your kids for weeknight dinner.
Don’t forget about dessert! When cooked on the grill, peaches and apricots become jammy, soft, caramelized, and even buttery. It’s one of the greatest pleasures of summer to have a warm, grilled piece of fruit over melting vanilla ice cream—and your kids will love it, too.