Dinosaur Mac n’ Cheese – kid friendly 20-minute dinner

Healthy, kid-friendly dinner recipes. For picky toddlers. It ain’t easy, but here’s a great option that’s worth a try!

If you have kids, you’ve likely seen your fair share of Peppa Pig, and know well how obsessed little George is with “dinosaur”. (Tell me I’m not the only one who hears that word in George’s voice, everytime I see it written!) My little guy hasn’t really gotten into dinosaurs, but he LOOVES Peppa Pig (much to my chagrin), and anything in reference to that show is usually a winner.

Even though my toddler has a pretty varied palate, and loves all kinds of healthy foods, we have definitely entered a stage where he is practicing his control, and generally showing pickiness with food. He is always happy to have some simple carbs – and while that might seem frustrating, it’s really common in toddlers, and there are some good reasons for it too. Kids burn through energy fast, and since their little brains are processing and developing at such a high rate, they actually do need more carbohydrates than adults. That doesn’t mean that we should just feed them all the crackers and bread and forget everything else – they really do need fat and protein as well. And of course, they need all the beautiful vitamins and minerals that fruits and veggies offer.

But sometimes, you just want a simple meal that you know they will eat, that’s fast to make, and that you probably have the ingredients for on any given day. Our fall-back is this jacked up version of Mac n’ Cheese – I’ve boosted it with kid friendly fats, protein and veggies. What does that have to do with Peppa Pig? Well, I happened to call it Dinosaur Mac n’ Cheese one night, and my little guy said “Peppa Pig on!” – we didn’t turn on the TV but he was sold on the dinner, so #momwin. Scroll down for the recipe (oh, and it’s totally adult-approved too)!

How do you bump up the nutritional value of your kids’ favourite less-than-ideal foods? Tell me in the comments below!


Dinosaur Mac n' Cheese
Prep Time
17 mins

A protein and veggie packed version of an old favourite that both kiddos and parents will love!

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Healthy
Servings: 4 servings
  • 1 box Annie's Homegrown Shells & White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 can skipjack tuna
  1. Boil 6 cups of water in a medium saucepan.

  2. Stir in pasta, and bring water to a boil. Cook 8-10 minutes, until done, stirring occasionally.

  3. While pasta is cooking, melt the butter. Let it cool slightly, then add it, the milk, and the spinach to a blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Drain cooked pasta in a colander. While pasta is draining...

  5. Add the spinach/milk/butter sauce to the hot saucepan. Add the shredded cheese and stir until melted.
  6. Sprinkle the cheese powder that comes in the box over the sauce, and stir to combine.

  7. Add the cooked pasta and the tuna back to the saucepan and stir well. Serve and enjoy!


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