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Coming up with meal ideas for toddlers can be a challenge. While it is so important to introduce fresh foods to your toddlers at this age, it can get to a point where you need to feed them something knowing the whole family will eat. Toddlers enter a picky eating phase where they only will eat the foods they know they like and won’t try new things. Healthy meals can become a picky eaters nightmare, but there are ways to incorporate good nutrition into their diet that are still fun, and they will still eat.
If you have looked online for toddler recipes, I’m here to tell you to don’t waste your time. Young toddlers have different eating habits than old toddlers, so you must approach their needs differently. In this post, we’ll be diving into meal ideas for toddlers 2 years old and younger. An older toddler might benefit as well.
Whether you are a mom that works from home or goes into the office, making family meals takes up time that we don’t have. If you are ever entirely unsure of what your toddler should be eating, please get expert advice from your doctors. They will know your child’s medical history the best and can advise on a plan if you have concerns about your baby’s development.
This post is about meal ideas for toddlers.
Easy Breakfast Toddler Meals
When thinking about breakfast’s go-to meals, whole grains are a great way to start the day. Oatmeal is the most accessible food to make. You can pop it in the microwave or cook it on the stove. Since the texture and consistency are favorable to most toddlers, there shouldn’t be an issue with them eating it. You can add so many other items to the oatmeal (apples, bananas, etc.) to make the food fun for them. Also, it is something that the rest of the family will eat, which will help develop good eating habits.
Plain yogurt is another staple for toddlers. It’s made with whole grains, you need water, and you can make them in under five minutes. Texture and consistency are key with yogurt; just like the oatmeal, you can add in fresh fruit or get the yogurt that has fruit in it, which toddlers love. At this age, anything sweet is a treat for toddlers as well. Introducing your toddle to pancakes and waffles is a great option in the Happy Baby Organics Pancake & Waffle Mix.
English Muffins are also easy to make, and you can add tons of toppings to them. You can also make breakfast into a fun shape to encourage them to eat the food. A two year old definition of healthy foods is different than yours. Make sure that if they are still drinking infant formula, you balance that out with foods they need at this stage for nutrition.
Easy Toddler Lunch Idea
When heading to the grocery store, you might be tempted to buy a variety of foods for your toddler. If you know they are picky; quick toddler meals should be the goal. You can always make up for things they lack in different meal combinations, so don’t worry.
If you need something easy, this is all I have time to do as a toddler mom. Toddler lunches shouldn’t take more than five minutes to make. A simple, fun idea is to take some taco meat with pizza sauce and pita bread and make homemade Lunchables. You can add black beans, sour cream, and tortilla chips if they like foods like Chipotle or Taco Bell.
Cheese tortellini is a good option for lunch and dinner because of its size. It’s easy for them to feed themselves with it, and it’s wrapped, so you don’t have to add anything additional to it if you don’t want it. Although apple juice is good in vitamin c, it has sugar. Many foods have a lot of added sugar, so it will be hard to cut that out of their diet.
Easy Dinner Ideas
These toddler dinner ideas will take you less than 15 minutes to make. The goal is to work smarter, not harder, for meal prep. This is where you will usually have a power struggle with your toddler. Dinner time is challenging because, by this time, they might be picky, so finding easy meals you know they will like will be helpful when you need them to eat something.
Chicken nuggets are a classic option because they are so rich in many nutrients that you can have a balanced meal if you pair them with green beans or sweet potatoes. Hot dogs can be a good option. However, make sure to peel the skin off since, depending on if it’s grilled or not, the skin can cause a choking hazard.
Always make sure you eat at the dinner table to encourage healthy habits. Cheese quesadillas, peanut butter sandwiches, and party wings are other great finger foods. Even the pickiest eater will french fries and a slice of meat, so get creative based on what you want your toddler to eat.
You can make spaghetti with tomato sauce and a piece of bread in less than 15 minutes. You can pair it with some fresh veggies (broccoli and green beans tend to do the best for toddlers), and they can hit all the major food groups needed for the meal. If you are looking for a great toddler table, check out my review of one I got from Amazon.
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Healthy Toddler Meal Ideas
If you want to go for a healthier approach to meals, you want to look for easy meals but with a healthy twist. You can have spaghetti but with whole wheat pasta. Salmon cakes are such a good option because they are high in omega fatty acids which have tons of health benefits your toddler will need. Cheese sandwiches are an easy recipe, but the best part is that you can give them whole milk, and it’s very filling.
If all else fails, you can always try giving your toddler snacks to start them off before having meals. Everyone’s toddler’s taste buds are different, so if your toddler is verbal, you can ask them what they would like to eat since if they are attending daycare or school, they are getting introduced to some foods there. You can also ask their teachers what your child is eating and what they may like. Making food that is a single meal is not ideal. Try to make enough to spread it out for a couple of days.
If you’re into making a shepherd’s pie or chicken pot pie can be a good idea because of the veggies included in the meal. Plus, it takes less time to make those dishes than to make something fancy since toddlers will pick over the food most of the time.
Healthy Snacks for Toddlers
If your child is going to daycare, an excellent and easy toddler lunch idea is to add some green apple slices, bell peppers, carrot sticks, and a few slices of cheddar cheese. Since these are also finger foods, there is a higher chance of them eating them because it’s something they have control over eating themselves. Cutting up some cherry tomatoes is another tremendously easy option to add for toddlers.
Whole-grain crackers and turkey slices are a great idea in a time crunch. You can use any of these for lunch ideas as well to use it for multiple purposes.
As parents, we have to find ways to work around our picky toddlers, and with these easy toddler meal ideas, you should feel empowered to get through every week on the path to making your toddler a good eater. When you finish making all of these meals, your family will think you are a short-order cook.