Are you looking for Quick Healthy Dinner Ideas For Toddlers? Of course, you are looking. We all do. This blog post is exactly what you need! But before we jump into the ideas, let me tell you what I’m not discussing today in this post. Allergy-Friendly Dinner Ideas For Toddlers
Quick Healthy Dinner Ideas For Toddlers
Coming up with healthy toddler meal ideas after a long day—whether you work, stay home, or do some mix or in between—is a challenge. It’s often the time of the day when they need our attention most, yet they also need to eat. (Did someone say hangry?) These quick toddler meal ideas are quick, easy, and nourishing so that you can get the food onto the table fast.
HEALTHY KIDS FOOD
I hope that these ideas provide inspiration on those busy nights when you’re scrambling to serve up something healthy. And that they give you permission to take shortcuts in the kitchen whenever you need to. Because feeding our toddlers is hard work, and it’s 100% okay to make it easy on yourself when needed!
PLANNING TODDLER MEAL IDEAS, STEP-BY-STEP
- Consider your child’s eating abilities and preferences and adjust as needed. If she’s not using a spoon with any accuracy, let her use her hands! If he prefers his meals deconstructed rather than mixed together, serve the food that way. It’s okay to be flexible!
- Balance what you offer by including a protein (meat, dairy, nuts, or beans), a complex carb (like a whole grain or a whole grain bread product), fruit, veggies, and some healthy fat. This will help ensure your toddler is exposed to a variety of nutrients and textures.
- Vary the protein to make them vegetarian or vegan as needed. Sub in gluten-free or dairy-free substitutes if there’s an intolerance in your house.
- Adjust the produce based on what’s fresh at your store and what your kids like.
- Keep it simple! Serving toddler meals does not have to be complicated and little kids often enjoy foods that are very simple and straight forward.
TODDLER MEAL IDEAS #1: CHICKEN AND CORN TACOS
Rotisserie chicken + thawed frozen corn + tortilla + salsa
Warm all ingredients except the salsa in the microwave for 15-30 seconds. Serve with salsa for dipping. (Trade in cocktail shrimp or beans for a vegetarian option.)
EASY MEAL IDEA #2: QUICK PASTA AND PEAS
Star or alphabet pasta + peas + butter + Parmesan
Cook pasta according to package, adding frozen peas to the pot during the last 1-2 minutes of cooking. Serve with butter and cheese. You can also do couscous, quinoa, or rice instead of the pasta.
TODDLER MEAL IDEA #3: QUICK PIZZAS
Whole-wheat pita bread (or tortillas or English muffins) + pizza sauce + shredded cheese
Cut pita into wedges and top with pizza sauce and cheese. Heat in the oven at 325 F or in a pan on the stovetop just until cheese is melted.
KIDS MEAL IDEA #4: CUCUMBER HUMMUS WRAP
Tortilla + hummus + thinly sliced cucumber
Spread hummus and cucumber on tortilla and roll up or fold. Slice in half to serve. (Flour or multigrain tortillas tend to be softer than corn, which can be helpful for younger eaters.) You can also serve this deconstructed for younger eaters.
EASY MEAL IDEA #5: CHEESY VEGGIE TOAST
Toast + shredded cheese + thawed frozen veggies
Top toast with shredded cheese, thawed frozen peas, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, or corn, and microwave for 10 seconds to melt. You could also simply serve the veggies alongside cheesy toast too!
KIDS MEAL IDEA #6: QUICK YOGURT PARFAIT
Plain yogurt + leftover roasted squash or sweet potato + granola
Layer all ingredients in a small mason jar or bowl. Serve immediately. This also works with the yogurt and squash or sweet potato blended together—or with applesauce! (Use a favorite nondairy yogurt if needed.)
EASY MEAL IDEA #7: APPLE PANCAKES
Pancake mix + ½ cup grated (drained) apple + nut butter
Add the apple to your favorite pancake batter (add 1 teaspoon cinnamon if it doesn’t have any) and cook as directed. Serve smeared with nut butter or a little honey. Toddlers (and big kids) love breakfast for dinner!
TODDLER MEAL IDEA #8: PASTA WITH JARRED TOMATO SAUCE
Mini shell pasta + jarred marinara sauce + parmesan
Use your favorite pasta (or try Banza garbanzo bean pasta for extra iron) and a jarred tomato sauce like Rao’s for a simple and satisfying meal.
KIDS MEAL IDEA #9: SHORTCUT FRIED RICE
Fully cooked rice + frozen peas + scrambled eggs + soy sauce
Scramble an egg, stir in a ¼ cup peas and ¼ cup of rice and with a drizzle of reduced-sodium soy sauce. Add a fruit on the side like cut up cherries or melon.
TODDLER MEAL IDEA #10: FRUIT AND YOGURT DIP
Low sugar vanilla yogurt (like from Siggis) + almond butter + sliced fruit and veg + graham crackers
Stir together nut butter and honey to make a dip. Serve with sliced apple or pear, squash or cucumbers, and graham crackers. We love this sort of breakfast-for-dinner as a super quick toddler dinner!
TODDLER MEAL IDEA #11: BEAN AND CHEESE QUESADILLAS
Tortillas + cheese + beans
Add cheese and beans to one side of a tortilla. Warm in a skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes, fold the empty side of the tortilla over and press slightly. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes to finish. You can also warm this in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Add fruit on the side.
KIDS MEAL IDEA #12: VEGGIE GRILLED CHEESE
Whole grain bread + cheese + roasted mashed sweet potato
Spread the sweet potato on on side of the bread. Add cheese to the other. Prepare normally for a comforting and veggie-packed sandwich. You can also try omitting the sweet potato and adding snipped spinach or kale instead. (Or even omitting the cheese and just using mashed sweet potato!)
TODDLER MEAL IDEA #13: DELUXE CHEESE AND CRACKERS
Whole grain crackers or snap pea crisps + sliced cheese + assortment of sliced veggies and fruit + beans
Assemble a toddler-friendly snack plate that’s a simple assortment of the food groups. You can serve it on a regular plate or in a fun silicone muffin tin!
TODDLER MEAL IDEA #14: EASY SPINACH PANCAKES
Eggs + spinach + banana
Blend the ingredients together and pour into small pancakes. They’re so moist and sweet—and easy to make! Full recipe here.
SHORTCUT MEAL #15: CEREAL AND FRUIT
Cereal + milk + fruit
It took me a while to feel okay about serving cereal for dinner but now we do it regularly and the kids love it! And it’s nice for me too since it’s so easy. (Find my favorite kids cereals here.) P.S. We also love doing smoothies for dinner!
EASY MEAL IDEA #16: MAC AND CHEESE WITH VEGGIES
Boxed mac and cheese + broccoli or peas + side of fruit
Stir in a little frozen broccoli florets or peas to the pasta for the last minute or two of cooking of a favorite boxed mac and cheese. The kids are usually so excited about the mac and cheese that they’ll go ahead and eat the veggies too!
Make Mealtime Hassle-Free with These Healthy Foods for Toddlers
There’s no denying that when it comes to mealtime — especially healthy mealtime — toddlers can be a tough crowd.
Whether they’re picking through a salad for just the cheese or crying that two foods on their plate accidentally touched, getting your little one to (happily) eat a square meal can present a serious challenge.
It’s no wonder many parents resort to hiding fruits and veggies in stealth packages like smoothies and muffins.
But you don’t have to work some sort of ninja magic in the kitchen just to get your toddler to eat broccoli. (In fact, we’d recommend against it, as it doesn’t teach kids that healthy foods can be enjoyable.)
Instead, better strategies include incorporating nutritious items into familiar packages, offering choice whenever possible, and of course, making food fun!
1. French toast fruit skewers
Food is always more fun when served on a stick! Next time you whip up French toast for weekend brunch, make extra for this handheld breakfast later in the week.
Grab a kid-friendly skewer, such as a drinking straw, and thread with sliced French toast and fruit pieces. If time permits, let your toddler DIY. A bit of independence goes a long way toward helping little ones eat well.
2. Banana ‘sushi’
Nope, we’re not talking about raw fish for breakfast. Instead, replicate the look of sushi by smearing banana slices in nut butter, rolling them in crushed cereal, then lining the pieces up in a “roll.” You can even let your child try their hand at eating breakfast with chopsticks.
3. Fruit and yogurt parfait
Not only is this one pretty to look at, but it’s healthy, too! Fresh or frozen berries are an easy go-to base for a layered parfait that can also include yogurt, cereal, or granola.
Give your big kid toddler the say-so on how they’d like their layers: Yogurt first? Two layers of strawberries? A drizzle of honey on top? You got it, kiddo!
4. PB&J waffles
If PB&J works for lunch, why not try it for breakfast? Health-ify this classic combo by choosing a lower-sugar jelly — or make your own no-sugar-added fruit compote from frozen berries — and serving on whole wheat or multigrain toaster waffles.
The plant-based protein in peanut butter (4 gramsTrusted Source per tablespoon) will help fuel your toddler until nap time.
5. Toad in the hole toast
Another great source of protein? The 6 gramsTrusted Source in a large egg — which nestles inside toast in “toad in the hole.” (Feel free to make the most of this silly name with your toddler.)
Use a shaped cookie cutter, like a heart or star, to cut a hole in a piece of bread, then cook in a skillet with an egg cracked in the hole. For extra fiber and nutrients, use whole wheat bread and serve with a side of fruit.
6. Egg muffins
Your muffin tin isn’t just for muffins. It’s also the perfect vehicle for toddler-friendly mini frittatas!
For 10 egg muffins, whisk together 8 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, and your choice of cut up veggies like broccoli, bell peppers, or tomatoes. Pour into muffin wells and bake at 375°F (191°C) for 15 to 20 minutes.
7. Veggie pizza
Working healthy foods into familiar, well-liked dishes is a tactical move for every toddler parent — and what kid doesn’t like pizza? Start with an English muffin or mini naan and add marinara, shredded veggies, and mozzarella. Bake at 400°F (204°C) degrees for about 10 minutes.
8. Chickpea salad wraps
While a wrap of mashed chickpeas, mayo, and fresh dill may not be on traditional kids’ menus, its texture is reminiscent of tuna, without the strong flavor. Your kiddo just may wolf down this lunch rich in fiber, protein, folate, and iron.
9. DIY ‘lunchable’
Prepackaged kid lunches are certainly convenient, but they’re often loaded with sodium and additives. Let your toddler enjoy the freedom of making their own (healthier) mix-and-match lunch by providing a spread of:
- deli slices
- carrot sticks
Got a plate with built-in dividers? Even better.
10. Refried bean quesadillas
If you’ve lamented that your kid only likes bread and cheese on repeat in various forms, we feel you. And while a refried bean-and-cheese quesadilla is technically another iteration of the bread and cheese theme — upping its toddler approval factor — it also packs plenty of fiber and protein.