Hi friends and welcome back to the blog! Today I want to share with you our top 10 meal ideas for Harrison, our 2.5 year old – and then give you links to hundreds of other meal ideas for toddlers. This should be fun!
I have been browsing around various mom Facebook Groups recently (with my own toddler questions) and have noticed that a lot of moms seem to be at a loss as to what to feed their toddlers!
It’s not that they don’t know – it’s that they have run out of ideas. Perfectly normal and a perfectly easy fix.
I have scoured the internet for the best foodie-blogs and especially those that focus on toddler health and meals and have found some of the best, easiest, healthy recipes and meal ideas for toddlers.
Please share this post with other moms and dads you know who may be looking for the same thing! Now, let’s get to it!
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300+ Simple & Healthy Toddler Meal Ideas
Before I get into our top 10 favorite toddler meal ideas, let me first say: we are a vegan family. Yup, that’s right! Even my toddler, Harrison, is vegan (and has been since birth). If you want to know more about the why, you can check out this post.
Most of the time, his lunches and dinners consist of one “meat-like” product (we love Gardein, Little Sprouts, Dr. Praeger’s, and other brands like that for things like black bean burgers, “chick-n” nuggets, and more), one or two veggies either separate or mixed together, one fruit, and one whole grain such as rice or toast or quinoa.
Now, this is not to say that by making all of these meals that my toddler always eats them! He doesn’t! Some days, I wonder how he is getting enough calories for all the energy he has – other days, I wonder how his little stomach can hold all the food he has eaten. It really just depends on the day.
But, fear not, mama – this is totally normal. Toddlers are much like teenagers in that they are asserting themselves slowly but surely, realizing that they can actually have a say in certain things such as meal time, bed time, and potty time.
So, if your toddler is, what you think to be, struggling with meal time, don’t worry – they know what they need to eat (instinctually), and as long as you are consistently offering fruits and veggies (different kinds) at every meal, they will come around. Sometimes it takes until 4 or 5 years old to come around, sometimes they won’t come around until adolescence. But it is our job as parents to give them a solid foundation – and let them choose from that.
Hope this all makes sense. Now, let’s go over our favorite meal time products and then our top 10 favorite toddler meals that we serve our son. These are for lunch or dinner.
Our Favorite Toddler Meal Time Products
Before I get to the meals, let me share with you a few products that we have been using since Harrison first ate (5 months). These are our all time favorite toddler meal products.
1. Bamboo Bamboo Suction Plate for Babies and Toddlers
This plate is one we have had since Harrison was 3 months old – I still remember going to the specialty baby store with him that day and seeing it and just feeling like I had to have it!
I have since then found it on Amazon, which is nice. Considering the fact that we have used this, no lie, every single day for the past 2 years, and that it still looks and feels brand new, tells me this is a high quality product that you will definitely get your money back on!
You can go here now to purchase it (check around, they have different styles other than just the fox).
2. Bamboo Spoons for Toddlers
These bamboo spoons are also spoons that I got at the same shopping trip when Harrison was only 3 months old. One of them came with the bamboo plate, but I decided to grab more because I figured we’d use them a lot.
Sure enough, we have! And they are just as good of quality as the bamboo plate is.
These are so nice because they are very easy for small children to pick up and the spoon texture makes it easy to spoon into their little mouths. Love them.
3. Best Highchair for Small Spaces
We have a relatively small house (it’s a townhome in the suburbs of a big city) and therefore little room throughout the house. The kitchen is no exception.
Because of this, I wanted to get a highchair that would attach to a chair at our already-existing table, to cut down on the space it would take up.
We decided on this highchair and could not have been any happier with our decision. We just graduated from the highchair to a booster seat (number 4) so it was sad to say goodbye to the highchair – but it served us well.
4. Toddler Booster Seat
Again, we are short on space in our home, so we tend to be minimalists when it comes to most things.
This booster seat is no exception. It barely takes up any room and is super soft with its padding.
Harrison loves that he can sit in the chair just like the rest of us, but that he’s up to our level during meal time. It’s really nice. Highly recommend.
5. Our Favorite Cups
Our favorite cups are actually water bottles. They are by CamelBak – which I’m sure most everyone knows of by now – and they are the only ones we have found are 100% spill-free.
We get them in two different designs once a year and they last the entire year being used multiple times a day. In fact, they last beyond the year, I just know that from being dropped, etc., they need to be refreshed from time to time (well, maybe Mommy’s OCD wants them to be refreshed – it’s not a necessity, haha).
6. Runner Up No Spill Toddler Cups
The runner up in toddler cup world are these cups that we find at Target or on Amazon. I love the design of them and they even have some that you can find that will donate a portion of the proceeds to the WWF. Pretty cool.
They do not leak, either – I just prefer the water bottles because – well, I don’t know! I just do. But these cups are just as good and Harrison loves them just as much as the water bottles mentioned in number 5.
Let’s get into our favorite meals now!
7. Ice Cube Trays for Toddler Charcuterie Boards
I absolutely love to offer Harrison a “charcuterie board” type of meal every now and then.
It helps him to discover and see new foods, and helps me in that it takes little to no time to prepare! I can also use things I am wanting to use up or things no one else has wanted to eat – so it’s a win-win. You’ll see below in number 6 how I prepare the boards, but for now, I want to show you the ice cube trays I use for the boards.
I have tried a lot of ice cube trays and these are by far my favorite. They really hold up and I love how the pockets are extra big – perfect for snacks.
Our Favorite Toddler Meals
1. “Chick-n” Nuggets | Quinoa + Peas | Blackberries
Let’s start with Harrison’s favorite meal (outside of pizza and pasta, ha).
For this, I use the Quorn brand “chick-n” nuggets and serve them with a quinoa blend mixed with peas (and no lie, most of the time these peas are canned. No shame here.)
I finish the meal with blackberries and it makes for a pretty and satisfying meal for a toddler.
2. Cheese Quesadilla | Stir-Fry Veggies | Apple Sauce
This next meal is such an easy, healthy go-to meal that I use often with Harrison. Now, remember, anytime you see a meat or dairy product, just know that I use the animal-free version of these that I find in the store.
For this, I simply place shredded cheese in a tortilla, grill on both sides for a few moments, then cut up and serve.
I like to serve this with stir-fry veggies (he doesn’t always eat them, but when he does, he likes them), and apple sauce.
You’ll notice that I use apple sauce as a fruit quite often but this is only because I like to serve at least one familiar thing with each meal that I give him – it helps him feel comfortable and secure enough to try the other not-so-familiar items on his plate.
3. Black Bean Sliders | Sweet Potato Fries | Blueberries
This next meal is one of Mommy’s favorites – I often find myself eating off his plate when I serve this, ha!
These are so easy to make. I like using the Gardein black bean sliders with whole wheat buns, and all I put on his burger is ketchup.
Then, I pair it with sweet potato fries and blueberries. He likes blueberries so this is another fruit we use often.
4. Hummus Wrap | Strawberries
This next one is fairly new to us, but so far so good. The contents of the wrap varies from time to time.
For now, we have been putting hummus inside the wrap, along with cherry tomatoes and gouda (vegan) cheese. He loves it. You can put just about anything you’d like in there, though! That’s the beauty of this.
I like to pair this with strawberries. He “doesn’t like” strawberries right now, but I see that changing soon as he keeps trying them over and over – so they will be there as an option until the day he does like them.
5. Fried Rice | Apple Sauce
This is probably one of the easiest meals I make for Harrison – and I love that the leftovers are just as good as the meal itself (and there are plenty of leftovers).
To make this, I use our rice cooker and make brown rice in advance. Once I’m ready to actually make the fried rice, I throw it on the stovetop for a little bit, adding in some oil & a dash of vinegar for flavor, as well as salt and pepper. I use mixed veggies to throw into the mix (frozen mixed veggies) and sometimes will add in cut up “chick-n” nuggets or whatever other meat substitute we have on hand.
Then, I serve it with apple sauce. Easy peasy. And bonus: Harrison loves this!
6. Charcuterie Board in Ice Cube Trays
This next one is super fun to prepare. While the contents are very similar to an adult charcuterie board, the layout is somewhat different.
I like to use ice cube trays (see number 7 above) to separate all the contents of the meal, and to make it a bit prettier for Harrison (he likes pretty meals and tends to eat them more).
I like to include cheeses, meats (vegan of course), olives, veggies, fruits, nuts, raisins, and sometimes even chocolates. Pretty much anything goes!
This is such a simple meal and one you can throw together even if you haven’t been to the grocery store in a while – it really allows for max creativity, which I just love. Harrison enjoys it and I’m sure your toddler will as well!
7. Macaroni & Cheese with Broccoli | Pear | Strawberries
My son loves mac ‘n cheese (whose doesn’t?) and so this meal is great for him. I like to add in broccoli to the mac ‘n cheese because I feel that it’s a great way to sneak in some extra veggies without it being too overwhelming for a toddler.
I just use frozen broccoli or steam bag broccoli to do this, and add it in at the very end of cooking the mac ‘n cheese.
I like to pair this meal with pears and strawberries – Harrison loves pears, but strawberries are still a work in progress (even though he loved them when he was a baby #toddlerlife) so, again, pairing something your toddler “does not like” with something they do can increase their chances of trying the “does not like” food.
8. Canned Soup | Avocado Toast | Apple Sauce
This next one is probably Harrison’s least favorite meal that I make him – but it’s one that is sometimes necessary.
I typically save this meal for super busy nights when there just doesn’t seem to be time for a nice homemade dinner. I use canned soup (Annie’s Organic are my favorite kinds) and pair it with avocado toast (I simply spread avocado onto toasted whole wheat bread and drizzle a little bit of agave nectar on top) and apple sauce – because, he loves apple sauce.
This is one of those meals that I rarely serve, but when I do, I’d say about half the time he eats it, half the time he doesn’t touch it. But I am sharing it with you in the event that your toddler loves it!
And remember, it’s great to try new things, even if your toddler doesn’t like it the first time – keep trying – eventually they just may!
9. Breakfast for Dinner | Yogurt Parfait | Pancakes | Breakfast Potatoes
This next one is one of my favorites and one of Harrison’s favorites as well.
It’s breakfast for dinner (or lunch, whichever one works). I typically serve a yogurt parfait (with bananas, berries, granola, and agave nectar all mixed in with yogurt), pancakes with syrup, and breakfast potatoes (Trader Joe’s has the best breakfast potatoes, hands down!).
This one is great because it’s a meal I know he will always eat – no matter the time of day. Plus, even though there are pancakes and syrup in the mix, the rest is pretty healthy and very filling for his little toddler tummy. Bonus: the whole family loves this one!
10. Pasta with Meatballs | Side Salad
I’m saving the best for last! This is Harrison’s all-time favorite meal, without a doubt. He eats it every single time and typically wants seconds!
To make this, I simply make pasta (any kind of noodle we have on hand), and then make my sauce with Ragu or something similar that we have on hand, and add in the frozen Gardein meatballs to the sauce to cook for about 20 minutes. They come out perfectly. I do slice them up two ways before serving as they are rather large.
I always pair this with a side salad – sometimes Harrison eats it, sometimes he doesn’t – but the point is that it is there, and that is what he is having for dinner, take it or leave it. (This, as I’m sure you’ve seen, is one of my philosophies when it comes to serving food to my children – it has always worked for us so that’s what we do).
Hundreds of Other Simple & Healthy Toddler Meal Ideas
So I told you earlier that I would share with you other meal ideas for toddlers, besides our top 10 favorite in our home.
Here’s the part where I do that! These ladies are some of the best when it comes to foodie-bloggers and many focus on toddler meals.
I know you will love these!
1. Yummy Toddler Food
Yummy Toddler Food has so many amazing meal ideas for toddlers! It’s incredible!
Anytime I need a new idea, I head here and voila – done!
This particular post I’m sharing has 15 toddler meal ideas for you. I know you will love this!
2. Yummy Toddler Food (Again!)
Well, I told you Yummy Toddler Food was awesome – so awesome that I decided to feature two posts of theirs!
This next post from them has over 50 toddler meal ideas – 50!
One of my favorites from the post is the English Muffin Pizza – how cute is that? And it’s something your toddler could help you make.
3. The Lean Green Bean
The Lean Green Bean is another one of my favorite foodie-blogs to visit when I’m needing some inspiration for Harrison’s meals.
They have so many ideas here – and the awesome thing about The Lean Green Bean is that all of their meals are healthy! Win-win!
This post has over 40 healthy toddler meal ideas for you, and I’m sure your toddler (and you) will love it.
4. Baby Foodie
Baby Foodie (sweet name, right?) is an amazing site with ideas for baby and toddler meals. And from what I have experienced, they are all healthy, too.
This post I’m sharing with you have over 75 healthy toddler meal ideas. Look at the breakfasts alone! They look to die for!
You will love them! Check them out here!
5. The Kitchn
The Kitchn is a wealth of information for great healthy meal ideas for anyone – I use them regularly for myself and my family.
But, the post I’m sharing with you today is of over 75 easy healthy toddler food ideas that you will surely love.
6. BBC Good Food
BBC actually has more than just news – did you know that? They sure do! They have a site called BBC Good Food and they are always sharing really neat recipe ideas. A lot of them are British foods, but sometimes you’ll come across a more American dish. Either way, I love them.
This post I’m sharing with you from them today is of 13 recipes for toddlers.
I especially like the spinach fritters – great way to hide extra nutrients in something a toddler can dip in ketchup! Win-win!
7. Pure Wow
Last but not least, Pure Wow is a great site you should bookmark for many reasons – one is that every now and then they come up with a great list of toddler-friendly meals.
This post has over 27 toddler dinner ideas that they claim “even a picky eater may like.”
I really love their stuffed peppers idea – this may be for the more adventurous toddler, but still, remember that it is our job as parents to provide a selection of foods and then let our toddlers choose from said foods.
Allright friends, that is all for today’s post on over 300 simple and healthy toddler meal ideas!
I’m sure you saw at least one meal you are going to be trying soon with your toddler.
Are there any meals I missed? If so, please leave them in the comments below for others to read.
And don’t forget – please share this post with other moms and dads who may be wanting to find some new meal ideas for their toddlers, too!
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I’ve done quite a few “round ups” of toys lately, so be sure to check those out here:
- Best Toys for Toddlers on Amazon
- 13 Best Construction Toys for Toddlers
- 12 Awesome Inflatable Pools & Water Slides for Kids
If you are a stepmom, or know of one, please head to The Stubborn Stepmom – a section on my blog devoted to stepmoms and unique struggles we have being part of blended families.
If you’re a blogger, like me, or in the social media business, check out Leslie W. Business Babes – a section on my blog devoted to helping businesswomen start or maintain their blogging & social media businesses. So many resources there (free ones too!)
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Take care & as always, thanks for reading!