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Healthy dinners for children

Ngā kai pai mō ngā hapa o te pō

Meal containing half vegetables, quarter carbohydrates and quarter proteinMost children don't need as much food as adults. Use your child's hand as a guide for serving sizes.

You can also use the healthy plate model as a guide (see the image to the right). You can follow this model even if you are making meals such as stir-fries, casseroles and salads. See the example below for chicken and vegetable stir-fry.

See Meal planning and healthy recipes for ideas to help you plan and prepare tasty, fast, easy and low-cost meals.

Chicken and vegetable stir-fry example

What if my child doesn't like vegetables?

Tips to make meals healthy

Making small changes to the way you prepare and cook your meals will be good for the whole family.

What about dessert?

Desserts such as cake and most types of ice cream are high in fat and sugar. They are best kept as occasional treats.

Fruit makes a healthy and tasty dessert. Make fruit kebabs by chopping fresh fruit into cubes and putting it onto skewers. Or cut up lots of different fruit to make a fruit salad or a colourful fruit platter. Try the healthy homemade banana ice cream below.

Healthy banana ice cream (Serves 3 to 4)


4 bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen


  1. Put the frozen bananas into a food processor and blend until the bananas begin to break into small pieces.
  2. Continue blending until the bananas become smooth and creamy.
  3. Eat straight away or refreeze for later.
  4. If freezing for later, take it out of the freezer a few minutes before using so that it softens.


On the next page: Smart snacking for children

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by Community Paediatric Dietitian, Nurse Maude. Page created October 2016.

See also:

Reading food labels

Stir-fry image courtesy of

Page reference: 298112

Review key: HIHEC-62690