Following a paleo diet generally means swapping out processed—albeit convenient—dinners for nutritious, whole-food meals. And while paleo dinners are both wholesome and delicious, they usually require a bit more thought than simply tossing a frozen pizza in the oven and calling it a night.
On the hunt for easy, wholesome, and drool-worthy paleo dinner ideas for families? You’ve come to the right place! Our team has the research and is rounding up the ten best kid-friendly paleo recipes that the whole family will love. (And yes – that’s a promise!)
What Is the Paleo Diet?
Some of you might be wondering: what is the paleo diet, anyways? And if that’s the case, it is an eating plan consisting of foods that might have been eaten during the Paleolithic Era. (For the non-history folks, that was about 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago.)
Essentially, the modern paleo diet includes foods that could be found via hunting or gathering:
- Nuts and seeds.
- Lean meats. Especially grass-fed and wild-caught.
- Oils from fruits and nuts. Like olive oil or walnut oil.
- Fish. Especially those rich in omega-3 fatty acids (think: salmon, mackerel, and albacore tuna).
And it omits foods that emerged during small-scale farming (10,000 years ago) and beyond:
- Added salt.
- Refined and added sugar.
- Dairy products. Milk or cheese.
- Legumes. Beans, lentils, and peanuts.
- Grains. Including wheat, oats, and barley.
- Starchy vegetables. Including white potatoes, corn, jicama, and peas.
- Highly processed foods. Unfortunately, this includes cookies and chips.
Benefits of Following a Paleo Diet
Shifting from a Western diet of highly processed, sodium-rich foods to a paleo diet increases one’s consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole foods – which undoubtedly increases overall health. And of course, there are some other proven health benefits:
- Improves metabolic syndrome. Researchers found that paleo nutrition led to short-term improvements in waist circumference, triglyceride levels, blood pressure, levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, and fasting blood sugar in those who had one or more components of metabolic syndrome.
- Prevents and controls chronic diseases. A study published in the Nutrition Journal established a relationship between the paleo diet and the prevention and control of chronic diseases.
- Supports weight loss. The same study found a mean weight loss of 3.52 kilograms — plus a decreased waist circumference and body mass index — in those who follow the paleo diet (compared to those following other common diets).
10 Scrumptious Paleo Dinner Ideas for Families
Struggling to get your kids on board the paleo train? Here are ten easy paleo dinner ideas that will surely change their mind:
Indulgently combining sweet and spicy, Firecracker Salmon with Peach Avocado Salsa is one of those unique weeknight dinners that everyone loves. If you’re looking for a chance to stock up on delicious summer produce, this recipe is it. And because the main course can be baked or grilled, it’s easy to prepare with whatever appliance you have on hand. Serve it alongside a bowl of cauliflower rice or your favorite greens. Yum!
If you only have five minutes of free time and a slow cooker, this recipe is for you. Because of the nature of slow cooker recipes, this delicious weeknight dinner requires virtually no effort (although it certainly doesn’t taste like it). Using just five ingredients—plus five minutes of prep time—this is one of the best paleo dinner recipes for busy moms. We recommend serving the chicken atop cauliflower-rice burrito bowls, in lettuce wraps, or with a side of your favorite greens.
This lightened-up, paleo version of your favorite pasta dish is a hit with folks of all ages. And spoiler alert: it only takes 30 minutes! We love Spaghetti Squash Bolognese because it is dairy-free, Whole 30 compliant, paleo, gluten-free, and low FODMAP. And it’s terrific for meal prepping, as it saves well and storing leftovers is a breeze.
We’ll be honest–pan-seared scallops are one of our favorite earthly indulgences. However, coating them in this drool-worthy lemon “butter” sauce takes them to the next level. Instead of butter, this recipe calls for ghee–which is a clarified butter that’s been simmered and strained to remove the water. Served alongside herbed cauliflower rice, this dish is flavorful, low-carb, and bursting with flavor.
These 20-minute paleo egg roll bowls are the saucy, savory interior of your favorite Asian appetizer–minus the greasy wrapper. And while this recipe calls for ground pork, you could substitute ground chicken or turkey without issue. (If you want to make it gluten-free, simply swap soy sauce for tamari.)
These Meal Prep Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles are rich, juicy, and full of great-for-you greens. Because this dish is designed for meal prepping, it’s ideal for snacking on and packing lunches throughout the week.
Meatloaf has always been one of those classic weeknight dinners. And this budget-friendly paleo dish is no different. While traditional meatloaf contains many non-paleo-friendly ingredients (we’re looking at you, breadcrumbs), this paleo version lightens things up quite a bit. (Just make sure to pass on the ketchup.)
This healthy dinner option is chock full of veggies, protein, and fresh herbs. And the best part? One Skillet Mediterranean Chicken is on the table in less than 30 minutes. Serve it atop cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, or a bed of your favorite greens.
This paleo version of shrimp scampi is bright and buttery–without all the carbs. Using fresh seafood makes this dish a refreshing summertime dinner option, and the zucchini noodles offer a delicious dose of veggies.
The thing about slow cooker recipes is that they (pretty much) take care of themselves. That’s why this Slow Cooker Chipotle Chicken is ideal for busy weeknights. Because it’s versatile and freezes well, we recommend this dish for meal prepping. Of course, it’s also phenomenal atop homemade burrito bowls.
Delicious Paleo Dinners
Needed some weeknight meal inspiration? Rest assured that these delicious paleo dinners are wholesome, easy to prepare, and—most importantly —kid-friendly. And of course, if you’re interested in finding more healthy meal guides like this one, head to the food & nutrition section of our website.