Coming up with meal ideas for toddlers day in and day out can be a challenge – so today I’m sharing 5 easy meal ideas. I hope this list gives you a few easy ideas to throw into your meal rotation, as well as a few tips to make meal prep and clean-up a little easier.
These recipes are quick & easy to prepare. They’re also some of my toddler’s favorites – so hopefully they’re a hit with your toddler as well!
Quick note ~ these meals can be easily adapted to fit your family’s preferences (vegan, vegetarian, etc.) so feel free to tweak them however works best for you and your family. Also, I’ve included suggestions with each meal for how to tweak it for younger toddlers and older, more experienced eaters. Hope that makes this list of meals helpful to moms of a wide-range of eaters – whether your toddler is eating mostly softer foods or is eating a range of textures.
5 toddler meals:
- Banana/avocado mash (Breakfast/snack) – This is something I gave my son when he first started eating solids – and it’s been a favorite ever since. For younger toddlers, you can mash all the ingredients with a fork and spoon-feed. For older toddlers, you can modify this recipe by putting the banana/avocado mash on pieces of cut-up toast for them. (You could also add in scrambled eggs to make this even more filling.)
- ½ – ¾ banana
- ¼ – ½ avocado
- ½ cup of grains (I usually use quinoa/oats – but you can skip this if you’re putting it on toast)
- [optional] 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed/hemp hearts/chia seeds – I add this as a nutritional boost…
- Oatmeal (Breakfast/lunch/snack) – My son loves oatmeal, and tends to eat it most days. Since I make it so often, I usually cook a big batch once or twice a week and reheat throughout the week. Currently, he’s loving this oatmeal that we buy from Costco.
- ½ – 1 cup cooked oatmeal
- 1 Tbsp. of nut butter (Feel free to use whatever nut butter you prefer. I try to rotate each month – but currently we’re using this sunflower seed butter.)
- Fruit (fruit pouch/jam/sliced fruit) – I add in fruit for sweetness since I cook the oatmeal in just water. Depending on your toddler’s age, you could mix in part of a fruit pouch (this is one of my son’s favorites) or jam, or mash some fresh fruit to mix in. If you have an older toddler, you could add sliced fruit on top instead.
- Bananas with nut butter (snack)- This is one of my son’s favorite snacks. If you have a younger toddler, you can mash the banana and mix it with nut butter for spoon-feeding. If you have an older toddler, you can slice the banana and spread nut butter on the slices, or have them dip the banana slices into nut butter.
- 1 banana
- 1 tablespoon nut butter (we’re currently loving this sunflower seed butter)
- Salmon with sweet potatoes (dinner) – This combo has always been a hit with my son. The sweetness of the sweet potato goes well with salmon (but can be substituted with a vegan protein if you’re vegan/vegetarian). If your toddler is on the younger side, you can mash up the sweet potato and salmon after cooking them in the oven. If you’ve got an older toddler, you could instead make sweet potato fries in an air fryer for them to eat with the salmon. Either way, it’s a good combo that almost always gets finished at our house. 😉
- ½ sweet potato
- ¼-½ 6 oz. fillet of salmon
- Dinner bowl – This is often how I throw together a quick dinner. I use whatever protein my husband and I are having for dinner that night and incorporate it into my son’s dinner. If you have a younger toddler, you can mash up the protein if it’s reasonably soft (or substitute a soft protein like scrambled eggs), or you could mix in a protein pouch like this.
- 1 veggie pouch (like this one)
- ½ – 1 cup grains (quinoa, brown rice, etc.)
- ¼ – ½ cup protein (I.e. salmon, chicken, scrambled eggs, etc.)
I usually cook a big batch of quinoa/brown rice once a week in a rice cooker and store it in the fridge so that I can easily reheat it throughout the week. This makes dinner prep everyday much faster. (FYI – to cook quinoa in the rice cooker, the ratio of quinoa to water is 1 cup quinoa: 1 ¾ water.)
I also cook a big batch of oatmeal once or twice a week since my son eats it so frequently. It’s pretty quick to cook on the stovetop (under 10 minutes) so I do that in the morning and store it in the fridge for easy reheating throughout the week.
It can be really helpful to keep some pouches on hand – so I wanted to share 2 of my favorite brands in case anyone is looking for suggestions.
- Serenity Kids – I’m a big fan of this company and its products. They’re one of the most tested baby/toddler pouches (for example, they’ve been awarded the Clean Label Project Purity Award) and they use organic ingredients. They’re also low in sugar and focus on adding healthy fats to support baby/toddler development. They have a range of veggie pouches, as well as protein pouches like salmon, chicken, beef, etc. They also recently started offering a line of puffs. My son has liked pretty much all their pouches – but since he now mostly eats just their veggie pouches, I’d say his current favorites are squash and sweet potato.
- Once Upon A Farm – Another brand I really like that also uses organic ingredients and has also been awarded the Clean Label Project Purity Award. I use these most often as a quick way to sweeten his oatmeal. My son likes most of their flavors, but his favorites are blueberry and OhMyMega Veggie.
Easy Clean-Up Tips:
- After trying multiple bibs, I found this BabyBjorn bib and it’s now the one and only bib we own. Because it’s made of plastic, all I do is give it a quick rinse after meals and it’s ready to go for next time. Definitely one of the most useful things we’ve bought for feeding our toddler.
- For anybody else whose toddler seems to get food all over their cute little face 😉 … I have found that having a set of these surgical huck towels is super handy. Instead of needing to use a million napkins/paper towels for cleanup – this is a nice alternative since it works so much better and is reusable. The material is large and thick, so it wipes everything off of my son’s face in one pass. I use one cloth per day to wipe down my son’s face/hands after meals, and at the end of each day, I throw it in a basket to wash with towels at the end of the week. Easily one of the most used & best things we’ve bought.
I hope this list gave you some quick & easy meal ideas, as well as a few tips to make feeding and clean-up a little easier!