We’ve rounded up some easy toddler meal ideas for you to help save you time and money.
These budget-friendly recipes include a range of food groups, textures, and healthy snacks for your kids.
Many parents will agree that coming up with toddler meals can be tricky. This is the ideal age to introduce new foods and flavours.
Whether you are short on time or you have fussy eaters, we have put together some easy toddler recipes to ensure everyone benefits.
Before we share some tasty recipes let’s get organised in the kitchen.
Meal planning and organisation can really help save you time and money and ensure your family eats a healthy dinner. Having an idea of the type of foods your kids will eat and having snacks and fresh fruit available can really take the stress out of dinner times. This can help you avoid serving up processed foods and provide healthy dinners instead for all the family.
But it can be hard to come up with healthy food ideas for your toddler, especially at the end of a busy day. Most often this is the time when children are becoming tired and hungry and you need to serve a quick easy meal your child will eat.
There are plenty of healthy recipes on Pinterest to provide you with inspiration for toddler recipes that you can cook at home.
It really is worth spending some time to draw up a meal plan and of the types of food you will serve your toddler for breakfast, lunch and snacks.
Being organised with your food ensures your children are fed a nutritious meal and establishes a healthy eating habit for your toddlers.
Another great tip is to make friends with your freezer and learn the art of batch cooking the same meal so you can quickly defrost a medium bowl of food for your toddler.
Healthy eating habits for kids
Meal planning for your toddler also helps you to avoid last-minute takeaways and processed foods.
By planning ahead you can work some healthy snacks and have food that is readily available.
You can also work on hiding fruit and vegetables in some of your toddler meals.
What recipes should I feed my toddler?
Keep reading to find out some healthy toddler meal ideas you can use for your family.
Most healthy meals listed include a mix of most food groups such as protein, grains, veggies and carbs and can be used for lunch or dinner.
Most meal ideas can be adapted to avoid strong flavours or meat-free meals.
Our aim is to make food fun and easy for you all. And remember you are your toddler’s best advert for healthy eating. So set the right example that your whole family can enjoy.
What should a quick toddler meal include?
A well-balanced meal for your toddler should include:
- half fruits and veggies
- a quarter of grains
- a quarter protein
- serving of dairy
Planning quick toddler meals.
Be flexible in your approach. If your toddler hasn’t yet learned to use cutlery, don’t worry. There may be a mess and letting your child scoop up handfuls of pasta or fried rice is all part of the process.
Provide a mix of nutrients and different textures and healthy fat for your toddler to explore.
Carrot sticks, wraps, cooked broccoli, and spaghetti all meet different needs in taste and texture.
Freeze batches of your child’s favorite food so you can quickly defrost a meal when you need.
You can also freeze ahead healthy muffins, meatballs, homemade chicken nuggets, and wraps.
Frozen veggies are great to have on standby and to create a healthy toddler meal.
Adjust the produce based on what’s fresh at your store and what your kids like.
Be prepared to explore different basics – such as nut butter, sweet potato and dairy-free milk.
Very often children will be happy with a well-balanced meal that is fairly simple too. Think whole grain crackers, chopped up cheese and apple.
Quick toddler meal ideas.
Here are some quick toddler meals you can feed your toddler:
Simply take a bread wrap and grate cheese onto the wrap. Fold and eat. Serve with fries or crudites.
French toast fruit skewers
Food that looks fun to eat. Try a bamboo skewer and thread slices of french toast and fruit on it. You can always add some yoghut on the side too.
Jacket sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are full of vitamin A and fiber, and really quick and easy to cook.
You can add grated cheese, shredded chicken or avocado and salad.
Salmon homemade nuggets and fries.
Home-made salmon nuggets are easy to make ahead and keep in the freezer. You can try it with cod or chicken too.
Pre-made nuggets with fried rice is ideal for the whole family.
Dig out those dinosaur-shaped cookie-cutters and serve ham or cheese sandwiches to really make your child roar. Add some fresh fruit alongside for an easy go-to lunch.
What can I give my one year old for dinner?
Many parents worry about what food their toddler should eat. This is the perfect time to introduce a wide variety of food groups to your toddler’s meal.
Do remember that your youngster can still have breast milk as part of their healthy eating journey. Start to include a wide range of tastes and textures for your toddler to try.
Pasta and tomato sauce with grated cheese – an easy toddler meal you can prepare ahead.
Kid-friendly poke bowls – use a medium bowl and add cooked rice, canned tuna or cooked chicken, some healthy fats such as avocado and salad. This is an easy recipe to use up leftovers that all the family will enjoy.
Dinner ideas for kids.
Keep those little bellies full with some freezer-friendly ideas you can cook ahead and pull out when life gets busy.
Spaghetti bolognese – batch cook portions of mince (or meat-free equivalent) and just defrost and cook with fresh spaghetti.
Most parents sneak in some vegetables to the mince too.
Mac and Cheese – a super easy cook-ahead meal that you can prepare ahead. This meat-free recipe is packed full of nutrients.
You can even add cauliflower or peas to this easy recipe for Mac and Cheese, for some extra vitamin C.
Healthy meals help.
If you plan ahead you can also come up with some budget-friendly recipe ideas for all your family. It’s also a great idea to add some side salads or vegetables to your dinner.
Add colour – if you are stuck for ideas, create a rainbow. Add red and yellow peppers, sweetcorn, cooked broccoli, sweet potato, and rice with some protein such as eggs or meat for a healthy quick meal.
Here are some more toddler meals for inspiration:
Chicken stir-fry – a healthy version can include using sesame oil, fresh vegetables, rice or noodles. Kids will love to eat this meal. Swap the chicken for other meat if required.
Banana ‘sushi’ – try slicing your banana into long pieces, pop some peanut butter on and some fruit or crush museli. A healthy snack or breakfast for your kids. This a fun way to try new foods.
Breakfast cereal for dinner
Kids will love you for this rebellious dinner of letting them eat cereals for dinner. Give yourself a night off from having to cook. You can add yogurt and fruit if your son or daughter is still hungry.
Avocado on Toast – this toddler-friendly dinner provides lots of nutrients and healthy fats. Add scrambled egg or fruit according to what your kids will eat.
Houmous and Toast – A super easy healthy snack you can prepare within minutes. You can also add red pepper strips, chopped apple, and cucumber, depending don’t on the type of foods your little ones will eat.
Scrambled egg on toast – a quick and satisfying meal of eggs on toast will satisfy all the family. Kids will love how quick it is to cook and your child might even crack the eggs for you too.
Easy meals for busy mums.
Chicken wraps – the perfect recipe for using up leftovers, this simple meal can be adjusted to add rice or salad. A great way to get some protein into your toddlers meals.
Hard boiled egg and soldiers – another classic eggs-based family food that is often overlooked. Packed with protein, this dinner is budget friendly and kids love them.
Toad in the hole toast – your kids will love eating this toddler-friendly recipe. Simply cook sausages as normal and nestle them within the toast. Kids will love the silly name too.
Turkey and cottage cheese – a low fat protein-rich snack, you can serve with rice and broccoli florets as part of your next kids next meal.
DIY ‘lunchables’ – avoid over priced processed kid lunches and make your own. Invest in little tupperwares and serve them as a healthy snack or lunch. Add chopped cheese, no added sugar drinks, banana slices, and whole-grain crackers.
These snacks are ideal for when you are out on the go too.
Sausage surprise – cook ahead sausages and serve thinly sliced with chopped apple and broccoli florets. Add rice or crackers with nut butter.
Easy peasy pizza – a great way to introduce new food groups is to add gradually to a firm favorite. Pizza is one of them. Add new foods such as olives, sweetcorn, or turkey as toppings. Most parents love easy recipes like this. Sprinkle on some cheese and voila!
Try homemade soup.
Soup – homemade soups can be extremely nutritious and budget-friendly food. A great way of using up leftover foods, you can soon whip up some toddler-friendly soup to enjoy. Add some crusty bread and cheese for a comforting lunch. Search online for easy soup recipes.
Peanut butter noodles
Why not try something exotic for your next meal? Serve some noodles with shredded carrots, courgettes and stir in some peanut butter or nut butter. Round up some leftover shredded chicken or other foods your child will eat and toss them in the noodles. A perfect one-pot toddler meal everyone will enjoy eating.
Toddler meals for vegetarians.
Include plant-based protein as part of your recipes, these are rich in protein and help with growth. Lentils and soya mince are perfect foods for your kids.
Include iron-rich foods in most of your meals. Include kale, dark green vegetables with your dinner.
Kidney bean and carrot burgers.
Simply gently boil both ingredients on medium heat, blend or mash, and round into burgers. Gently fry for a tasty snack. Serve with salad and chips.
Creamy lentil curry.
A protein-rich your toddler may enjoy eating. Serve with rice or wraps. Ideal for lunch or a family dinner.
A great family dinner for vegetarians is fajitas. Simply serve chopped-up peppers, kidney beans and avocado with added cheese. Kids will love to make these and they make ideal snacks too. Avocado and houmous form an important part of a vegetarian dinner.
Try introducing your toddler to this family favourite. Serve in a brioche bun with salad. Yum!
Cheesy mashed potato pie
Literally, mash up potatoes and add cheese and even some cream for a fuss-free dinner for your toddlers. Sprinkle chopped-up spring onions on top or serve with broccoli.
Ensure food is chopped up small enough for your toddler and never leave your toddler alone eating their meals.
For more toddler meal ideas search online or use magazines and websites for inspiration.
Don’t forget you can also include smoothies and healthy desserts as part of your toddler’s healthy eating ideas.