Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan #2: Family-Friendly Favorites
Flavorful, healthy dinner recipes to make everyone happy? With the Yummly Meal Planner, they’re right at your fingertips.
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Photograph by Olga Ivanova
When you want your whole family to adopt healthier eating habits without anyone feeling like they're missing out, you can’t go wrong with the Mediterranean diet. It’s based on the way people actually live in the region — and that includes kids.
Family-friendly meal planning for the Mediterranean diet lets you include healthy versions of your children's favorites, like chicken tenders, meatballs, and fish sticks, along with abundant fresh fruit and vegetables. And thanks to sophisticated but familiar seasoning with herbs and spices, kid-friendly Mediterranean diet recipes will satisfy the grown-ups, too. Check out this Mediterranean diet meal plan, which features a full week’s worth of dinners your family will love, as well as snacks — and even dessert.
Note: The Yummly Meal Planner is available to paid subscribers.
With the Yummly Meal Planner, you can choose as many or as few dishes as you like. Once you've added the recipes to your Meal Plan, it’s easy to create a smart Shopping List, add custom items, sync lists across devices, and get groceries delivered.
What are some family-friendly Mediterranean diet recipes? Keep scrolling to find out.
Few foods are as kid-friendly as breaded chicken tenders, which fit right into a Mediterranean diet Meal Plan. This version adds grated Parmesan to the breadcrumbs for cheesy, savory crunch. Serve them with steamed broccoli and marinara dipping sauce for a complete, easy meal. (Double the recipe and freeze the extra to make another night’s dinner even quicker.)
Meatballs are another kid-friendly dish. These turkey meatballs are seasoned with Mediterranean flavors like garlic, lemon, dill, and oregano and browned in heart-healthy olive oil. The easy recipe includes instructions for adapting the meal for picky eaters — serve the meatballs salad bar-style with plain orzo and chopped vegetables for the children, and jazz it up with more seasoning for the adults. If you prefer quinoa or couscous to orzo, those will work great too.
Fish figures prominently in the Mediterranean diet, but many kids balk at eating it plain. Put mild, white fish under a coating of crushed pretzels, though, and watch your children gobble it up. You certainly won’t mind how easy the recipe is: nothing but Dijon mustard, fish, and pretzel crumbs. All you need is a salad to complete the meal.
On a busy weeknight, sheet pan dinners are a parent’s best friend. This one's excellent for the Mediterranean diet, thanks to oodles of veggies (almost any kind), boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and seasoned extra-virgin olive oil — the diet's favorite healthy fat. As with any sheet-pan supper, it all cooks together on one baking sheet, so clean-up is a breeze, too.
Hearty, meal-in-a-bowl soups make a great way to get kids to eat more vegetables. This one entices them with elbow macaroni and sweet butternut squash, then slides in more nutrients with cannellini beans, Swiss chard, canned tomatoes, and aromatic vegetables. Add a sprinkle of grated Parmesan and some crusty whole-grain bread for dunking.
Deliciously crispy (thanks to pan-frying in olive oil) and flecked with bright green, these vegetable pancakes offer plenty of nutrition and a whole lot of fun. Go with a breakfast-for-dinner approach and serve them with fresh fruit. Or serve them with protein-packed Easy Garlic Yogurt Sauce for dipping, and a simple green salad.
One secret to keeping kids happy: Let them be in control of their own plates. A mezze dinner — an array of easy Mediterranean dips and spreads, with vegetables, feta, olives, and pita — is just the thing. Set the food out in individual bowls and let each family member assemble the combination they want. If you’re pressed for time, use store-bought hummus and tzatziki and make just the roasted tomatoes and basil-mint pesto from scratch.
Kids are snacking machines. Instead of chips or processed foods, keep a stash of these irresistibly crunchy, salty — and Mediterranean diet-friendly — roasted legumes. They offer just enough spice, too. Plus, making this healthy treat couldn’t be easier: Just toss the chickpeas with olive oil and seasoning, spread on a baking sheet, and roast.
What child doesn’t like dessert? And what parent doesn’t want to give their kids dessert if it’s actually pretty healthy? This easy cake features olive oil, Greek yogurt, and fresh lemons, three staples of the Mediterranean diet. Yes, it has some sugar, but we all need a treat once in a while. (Tip: Swap whole-wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose to add a fiber boost. It’ll make the cake more filling, so you’ll need less to feel satisfied.)
A sweet, salty, frozen treat is a pleasant way to end the day. This snack features nutritious ingredients like dried and fresh fruit and nut butter, so you won’t mind letting your kids eat it any time. It takes just minutes to stuff dates with almond butter and sliced banana, sprinkle them with flaky sea salt, and pop them into the freezer. Keep a batch in an airtight container, and pull them out whenever your kids (or you) need a natural energy-boosting dessert.
More Mediterranean recipes for your Meal Plan
Whether you approach healthy eating with an eye towards weight loss, to improve issues such as heart disease or high cholesterol, or simply for general health benefits, the Mediterranean diet is one of the best diets around — some even call it a lifestyle. Learn more in the following article, then head to our next Mediterranean diet Meal Plan for additional inspiration and healthy recipes. Remember: All you need to do is hit the “plus” symbol on any Yummly recipe to add it to your Meal Plan.