It will come as no surprise to any parent that toddlers can be some of the pickiest eaters out there! As such, you are certainly not alone in seeking inspiration for meals to make your toddler that they will actually eat. And finding meals that are actually good for them is a whole other challenge in itself. But we are here for you with this article!
Delicious and Nutritious?
In this article, we have focused on meals to feed your picky toddler that also actually contain some nutritional value! And as a bonus, many of these are probably meals that you will enjoy as well! Sometimes with toddlers, you have to take what you can get, and we are sure that many of these items will lead to some dinnertime victories.
Quesadillas (Cheese and Veggie)
Let’s start it off with an easy one. All you need for quesadillas are technically a tortilla and some shredded cheese. However, the beauty of these is that you can really add whatever you want. Depending on your toddler’s tastes, try getting as many veggies in there as you can get away with!
Meatballs are another easy dish to make, and they taste great. You can make meatballs with ground beef, turkey, chicken, or pork. They go great on top of pastas, rice, or on their own.
Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is always a safe bet, and it doesn’t have to be the boxed variety. Mac and cheese is relatively easy to make on its own, and you can use the fancy, non-processed cheeses! Try tossing some peas into it for some extra nutritional value.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken noodle soup is easy to make, and its flavour profile is mild enough to be enjoyed by any picky eater. Not to mention you can load it up with veggies as well.
Chili is a great option because you can make enough to last a few meals. Make a big pot on Sunday and you can have enough to last you all week.
Risotto is a safe bet for toddlers everywhere. Risotto is a delicious option and the recipe doesn’t take that long to make either. And of course, it’s a great meal for adults as well!
Now we’re pushing into breakfast-for-dinner category, but it’s no big deal! After all, if your toddler will eat it, then breakfast recipes are usually a good meal! Omelettes are a healthy breakfast choice that you can pack full of different protein and veggie options as well.
What kid doesn’t like burgers? A real crowd pleaser which gets kind of a bad rep as “junk” food. A home-made burger can be a pretty well-rounded meal, and the patty can be made with either beef, chicken, or a vegetarian option like tofu. Be sure to load it up with as many veggies (tomato, lettuce, pickle, onion) as your toddler will eat. Put some sweet potato on the side as a healthy snack.
Sandwiches are always a solid bet, and your toddler almost certainly has their share of favourites. From a classic ham and swiss, to a tuna salad, there are so many options with sandwiches. Make them on multigrain bread for those added grains.
Chicken and Veggies
A basic meal of chicken and veggies is a solid weekday staple. Some grilled chicken breasts and steamed broccoli is a healthy meal, and without any strong flavours it’s often a favourite for toddlers as well. Toss the veggies and shredded chicken into some cold pasta noodles for an easy pasta salad.
Fish sticks are a great choice that kids love. You can make your own or buy them frozen, although home-made tends to be the healthier choice. Serve them with some mini potatoes and a side of veggies and you have a well-rounded, full meal.
Tortilla pizzas are so easy to make. Some tortillas, tomato sauce, cheese, and any toppings you want. And of course your kids will like them, it’s pizza!
Pesto pasta is an easy meal, and pesto is a healthy alternative to a cream-based pasta sauce. Try making your own pesto, it’s easier than you think. This can be cooked up for dinner, eaten cold for lunches, or however you prefer.
Chicken fingers are basically a classic choice for kids of all ages, but what adult doesn’t like them, too? Make your own or buy them frozen, just be sure that they include quality chicken.
Pork Chops and Carrots
Pork chops are another simple protein option that can be cooked in well under an hour. Throw some steamed carrots on the side and you’ve got a full meal.
Fruit and Yogurt
Fruit and yogurt is a simple combination but sometimes with toddlers you have to keep it simple. This is easy, sweet, and tasty.
Scrambled Eggs and Toast
Just some basic eggs and toast, and we continue down our path of breakfast for dinner. Scrambled eggs are so easy and it’s hard to find a toddler that won’t eat eggs. They are a great source of protein, and you can have them on toast or even in a sandwich.
While we’re on the subject of eggs and bread, why not go all out and have breakfast sandwiches for dinner? Some fried eggs, tomatoes, spinach, bacon, and cheese is all you need! These are delicious sandwiches on their own right.
Hot Dogs and Mixed Veggies
It doesn’t get much more kid-friendly than hot dogs. While not the most traditionally healthy food, sometime you just want something your picky toddler will eat. And hot dogs aren’t so bad, they’re at least a decent source of protein. But try to at least serve with some veggies for some nutritional value.
And we’ve saved the simplest for last. Yep, cereal. Sometimes when your toddler won’t eat anything else, cereal does the trick. Sometimes you have to just pick your battles, and cereal is certainly easy enough to prepare.
Thanks for checking out our meal ideas for toddlers! As you can see, preparing meals for toddlers is truly an “anything goes” sort of situation. Toddlers can be picky eaters, but you will find that if you offer them healthy foods that are cooked the right way, you can help expand their horizons so that they become less and less picky as they grow!
Alissa Zorn is an author, and founder of the website Overthought This. She's a coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa is certified through the International Coach Federation and got her Trauma-Informed Coaching certification from Moving the Human Spirit. She wrote Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide for Creating Connection, Not Perfection, and is always following curiosity to find her next creative endeavor.