Every Tuesday is taco night at our house! We all look forward to it, the kids know it’s coming, and we have fun with the endless possibilities of kid-friendly tacos.
There’s something about eating with your hands, being in charge of building your own taco, and the potential mess that kids love.
Tacos can be simple, quick to pull together, and perfect for teaching your kids to cook. Before we dig into an Easy Ground Beef Taco recipe, we will look at my top tips for kid-friendly tacos, and strategies for getting your kids excited about this dish.
Maybe tacos will even become a regular in your weekly meal plan!
Kid-friendly taco tips!
Whether you’ve got picky eaters, kids who prefer “deconstructed” meals, or are looking to make taco night a little healthier, here are some ideas to get you going.
1. Keep ingredients real and fresh
An emphasis on real food for kids will help them boost their nutrient intake and establish a healthy relationship with food.
What I love about tacos is that you can keep ingredients super simple, or let your creativity run wild — all while choosing whole and colorful foods! There are so many possibilities for different flavor combinations.
Quality ground meat browned in healthy cooking fats (such as coconut or avocado oil), topped with fresh chopped veggies, and served in a soft tortilla or hard shell of choice — opting for those without inflammatory oils, fillers, or preservatives. We love Siete Foods brand for a grain-free option.
2. Let kids help decide on taco ingredients
I like to think of tacos in three parts: the base, the protein, and the toppings.
The base is what holds or supports the taco fillings. It could be a soft tortilla, a hard shell, or even a bed of lettuce or serving of rice.
The protein could be ground beef, or turkey. It could be baked or broiled fish, shredded chicken, or pulled pork.
The toppings are where tacos really take off.
- Chopped dark leafy greens
- Shredded cabbage (purple or green)
- Diced tomatoes or freshly made salsa
- Chopped bell peppers or jalapenos
- Avocado or Guacamole for a Crowd
- Sliced olives (black or green)
- Green or red diced onions
- Fresh chopped cilantro
- Lime juice
- Shredded cheese
Kids don’t need too many choices, but when they are part of the meal planning process and can voice their opinion, they are often much more likely to partake in eating as well.
3. Make your own seasoning
Store bought taco seasonings can include preservatives, fillers, and unknown ingredients. Making your own is easy, cost effective, and allows you to not only control what goes in, but also how spicy the final result is.
4. Use taco stands to hold them up
When my boys were younger we had many tears over tacos that fell apart and wouldn’t stand up on the plate. Taco stands to the rescue! These are my favorite taco stands (on Amazon), and they also have designs for kids to add a little fun to the table.
5. Serve as a taco bar
Tacos can become an experiential meal when a “make your own topping bar” is involved. Competence develops young when kids can start to put together their own meals, including topping their tacos with the ingredients and amounts they select.
How to involve your kids in making tacos
Tacos are a great meal to get your kids in the kitchen because there are so many ways for them to help, no matter what age. Whether you are cooking with toddlers or teens, everyone can be part of the process.
Your youngest of helpers can help wash and dry produce, pull cilantro leaves off thick stems, and stir spices together to help make the seasoning blend.
As kids develop and acquire more kitchen skills, they can measure the spices, chop veggies (demonstrating safe knife usage), and help prepare tortillas.
Kitchen safety is important when it’s time to use the stovetop, but with proper experience and instruction older elementary aged kids are even capable of browning the ground beef. Before you know it, your kids may be making Ground Beef Soft Tacos all by themselves from start to finish.
If you are looking for more kid-friendly taco ideas be sure to check out my Kids in the Kitchen book!
And give these recipes a try as well:
Kid-Friendly Ground Beef Soft TacosPrint
A simple ground beef taco recipe with fresh, healthy toppings for kids to build their own creations.
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil (or avocado oil)
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 4 cups shredded purple cabbage
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 2 avocados, diced
- 1 cup sliced black olives
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
- 4 – 6 oz cheese, shredded
- 2 limes, sliced in wedges
- Tortillas or shells of choice
- Add coconut oil to a large skillet and melt over medium heat. Crumble ground beef into the pan.
- While the meat begins to cook, mix seasonings (chili powder through black pepper) in a small bowl.
- Toss ground beef until cooked through (no longer pink), and then add the seasoning mixture, stirring until well combined.
- Place taco toppings in small to medium serving bowls.
- Warm tortillas or shells per directions.
- Place tortillas or shells, taco meat, lettuce/cabbage, and all other toppings on a serving friendly counter or table for everyone to build their own taco dinner!