I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to google “easy toddler meals” or “simple, healthy toddler meals,” or “What can I make my toddler for dinner?”
It was at that time when my bundle of joy was almost 1 year old and was almost done with baby-led weaning.
I was a full-time SAHM, working part-time, with no helper, and with a husband who never helps out with chores.
So my hands were pretty full and the last thing I wanted to do was cook Instagrammable meals for my toddler every day.
Meals that were probably gonna end up on the floor.
So I became a thorough researcher and a big recipe keeper of easy-to-prep meals for my toddler.
Most of them are healthy meals, as my husband has diabetes and I mostly wanted to cook a meal that everyone in the family can eat.
Some are ready-to-cook or ready-to-eat meals. Not necessarily the healthiest but for times when I don’t feel like cooking or ordering take-out, those meals are a lifesaver.
Let’s start first with what food staples you should always have at home.
Food You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen
The go-to carbs that I usually serve in the morning with butter or cheese.
A staple in my toddler’s breakfast and sometimes her lunch/dinner charcuterie meal.
Another basic food item we always have at home. I always serve this to my kid, usually for breakfast.
- Fresh fruits
I always have bananas and apples at home.
Then I’ll buy another 1 or 2 fruits, such as grapes, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, avocado, orange.
They serve mainly as snacks/ dessert and tides my toddler over when she’s hungry but her food is not ready yet.
- Fresh vegetables
I always have a stock of broccoli, carrots, and potatoes in the refrigerator. I can practically mix those with anything plus they last longer.
- Ready-to-cook or Ready-to-eat food
We’ve all had those days where we don’t feel like doing anything, including cooking.
For those days, I just serve whatever is easy to cook and prepare.
So I always have 3 to 5 of these easy-to-prep or ready-to-eat food items below such as:
- Frozen vegetables – mixed veggies (green peas, carrots, and corn), frozen broccoli and cauliflower
- Canned foods – tuna, corned beef, pasta sauce, beans, diced tomato, beets, etc
- Ready-to-cook meals – nuggets, chicken bulgogi, teriyaki chicken, Prata, salmon, noodles/pasta
- Ready-to-eat items – usually store-bought rotisserie chicken
I also have the food staples such as:
- Rice – I’m Asian so that’s a requirement in our house, lol
- Eggs – You can serve it quickly and you can mix a lot of things with it
- Bread – Another basic food staple in the house
- Cheese – A must-have on my weekly grocery list
Now let’s go to my list of simple toddler meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These are all easy-to-prepare and most are healthy toddler meals for dinner, lunch, and breakfast.
Some toddler lunch meals here can also be served for dinner and vice-versa. While others are flexible enough to be served anytime of the day, even for snacks!
Easy Toddler Meals (Mix of Easy to Prep And/Or Healthy Meals)
EASY TODDLER MEAL IDEA FOR BREAKFAST #1: OATMEAL
This is my kid’s staple breakfast when she was more adept at holding her spoon.
I usually use an instant oatmeal mix, pour some boiling water, stir and let it sit for a few minutes.
While waiting, I mash one banana in another bowl.
Then I wash some blueberries and strawberries and slice the latter into smaller pieces.
I mix the oatmeal into the bowl with bananas then I add some milk.
I add in the blueberries and strawberries and some raisins and voila, you’ve got a healthy yet easy toddler meal for breakfast!
You can actually just mix in the mashed banana, no need for other fruits and it’ll just be as delicious.
HEALTHY TODDLER MEAL #2: SWEET POTATO
I usually steam this in the rice cooker at night, wait for it to cool then store it in the fridge. Then I serve it in the morning.
I find it more delicious when it’s served cold – it tastes like ice cream and my kid still loves it!
I will cook an amount that’s good for 3 days and keep it in the fridge.
I also serve this as a dessert or snack or for cooking pancakes.
SIMPLE AND HEALTHY KIDS MEAL IDEA #3: EGGS
You can’t go wrong with hardboiled eggs or scrambled eggs in the morning.
It’s easy to cook and you can serve it with practically almost anything.
HEALTHY TODDLER MEAL IDEA FOR BREAKFAST #4: BANANA PANCAKE
I only have 2 ingredients in my banana pancake – banana and egg.
I’ll beat one egg, mashed banana in it, heat a non-stick pan with some butter, then add 1 tablespoon of the banana-egg batter.
Then I serve it with some berries, cheese, and milk. That’s it, pretty simple.
You can also try squash pancakes, sweet potato pancakes, blueberry pancakes, etc.
SIMPLE KIDS MEAL IDEA #5: YOGURT
This is one of the easiest toddler meals to prepare as you don’t really need to do anything.
You just open the yogurt pack and that’s it! Plus it can be served as a snack or dessert.
For a toddler’s breakfast meal, you just add in or serve it with some fruits and the staple cheese and milk.
QUICK TODDLER BREAKFAST MEAL IDEA #6: CEREAL
Aside from milk, no matter what I always mix this with sliced banana. And my kid would always want to eat the banana, so I add more sliced bananas to her cereal.
HEALTHY TODDLER MEAL IDEA #7: AVOCADO
I just sliced this into smaller pieces, put it in a big cup, then mix it with some milk and a tiny sprinkle of sugar.
And my kid goes nuts for it! I usually will serve this with the usual cheese and milk.
This can also be served as a dessert or snack for toddlers.
EASY-TO-PREP BREAKFAST TODDLER MEAL IDEA #8: BREAD WITH FRUITS
For days when I don’t want to cook anything.
I just serve this with milk and/or cheese and whatever fruit is available.
I serve the bread as:
Sandwich (cheese, egg, etc.) with fruits and milk
Toasted bread with butter or cheese, with fruits and milk
French toast with again, fruits and milk.
QUICK TODDLER BREAKFAST MEAL IDEA #9: SMOOTHIES
This can practically be any fruit that your kid likes then mix it with some veggies, yogurt, chia seeds, and milk.
Some fruits you can use are avocado, mango, banana, apples, pear, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, etc.
Veggies you can mix in can be cauliflower, butternut squash, spinach, broccoli, etc.
Freeze them in canning jars then thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.
This can be served for breakfast or as a snack/ dessert.
HEALTHY TODDLER MEAL IDEA FOR BREAKFAST #10: EGG MUFFINS
Another easy toddler meal to make.
Just scramble some eggs, pour into greased muffin tins, and add any vegetable or meat you want! Bake it, wait for it to cook down for storing in the fridge then just reheat them anytime you want.
HEALTHY, EASY TODDLER MEAL IDEA #11: PORRIDGE
I used to cook a lot of these in batches at night. I just store it in the fridge, thaw some in the refrigerator overnight then microwave and serve it to my kid!
I would sometimes use the rice cooker and toss meat plus vegetables in it, along with the rice. Then I just add more water to make it into that porridge texture.
Or I would also cook it in a pot.
If you can, get some crockpot or instant pot – a stress-free way to cook porridge
EASY TODDLER MEAL IDEA #12: NOODLES WITH EGG AND MIXED VEGGIE
I buy some egg noodles or whatever is available in the grocery store.I cook it as instructed then I’ll add in one egg while boiling the noodles.
I also cook some frozen mixed veggies then I’ll mix that in.
SIMPLE, HEALTHY TODDLER MEAL IDEA #13: RICE WITH SCRAMBLED EGGS
This is also one of the easiest to cook toddler lunch/ dinner meals.
I will just dice half a tomato and some spinach, beat an egg, mix the tomato and spinach in it and cook that as a scrambled egg meal.
Sometimes, instead of tomato and spinach, I’ll just use a tomato. Or green bell pepper.
Or I’ll mix the egg with tuna and tomato.
QUICK KIDS MEAL # 14: PRATA WITH EGG
This is my go-to lunch or dinner toddler meal when I just don’t feel like preparing and cooking for more than 10 minutes.
Prata is super easy to cook. It will only take you 4 minutes or less.
Then I serve it with either scrambled or hard boiled eggs plus cheese sticks and milk.
SIMPLE, HEALTHY TODDLER MEAL IDEA #15: MINCED MEAT WITH RICE AND VEGGIES
This can be either minced beef or minced chicken.
Either way, both won’t take 20 minutes to cook. And this can be served for the whole family.
I just cook the meat with some onion, garlic, oregano, soy sauce, salt.
For the veggies, I just cook a combo (or less) of broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower in another pan.
I cook the veggies with garlic, oyster sauce, and soy sauce, with a little bit of water. That’ll take 10 minutes or less.
Then I serve that with minced meat with rice.
I only started serving this to my toddler when she was more adept at using a spoon.
SIMPLE KIDS MEAL IDEA #16: MEAT WITH RICE AND STEAMED VEGGIES
This is usually chicken but could also be beef or fish, whatever is available in the fridge.
I just fry or air fry the meat with salt, pepper, oregano, and parsley.
Then I just serve it with steamed vegetables like broccoli, carrots, long beans, peas, green beans, etc.
EASY TODDLER MEAL IDEA #17: FISH STICKS WITH RICE AND MIXED VEGGIES
This is another easy-to-cook, no-prep meal for my toddler and my husband.
I just air fry the fish sticks and boil some mixed veggies then I serve it with rice.
EASY TODDLER MEAL IDEA #18: MAC AND CHEESE WITH VEGGIES
We don’t have an oven so I just buy the ready-to-cook mac and cheese in a box.
I will mix this with some broccoli and cauliflower though. I’ll just boil the veggies and when it’s tender enough, I’ll mix it in with mac and cheese.
This will only take 15 minutes or less to cook.
SIMPLE, HEALTHY TODDLER MEAL IDEA #19: CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
I’m not a big fan of noodle soup but I will occasionally cook when my kid asks for it.
This chicken noodle soup recipe is easy to cook. I would just tweak it a bit for my toddler’s taste.
EASY TODDLER MEAL IDEA #20: TODDLER CHARCUTERIE
This is usually a mix of leftovers and whatever is easy to cook or prepare.
So it’s mostly chicken, cucumber, carrots, crackers, fruits, cheese, etc.
This can be served any time of the day – breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even for snacks!
SIMPLE TODDLER SNACK IDEA #21: SEAWEED SHEETS
I saw these organic roasted seaweed sheets in a forum.
It was shared by a mom, saying this is their go-to snack for her toddler and even the whole family.
I have yet to try it but that’s going on my list!
EASY TODDLER SNACK IDEA #22: POPSICLE FRUITS AND VEGGIES
I have yet to try this but this seems like a great idea to sneak in any vegetable you’d like your little one to eat!
Just add in their favorite food and some yogurt.
HEALTHY TODDLER SNACK IDEA #23: FRUITS
You can’t go wrong with serving any fruits. It’s quick, easy, and best of all, healthy.
Tips for Making Stress-Free, Easy Toddler Meals and Recipes
- Do a week’s worth of meal planning
I usually do mine on the weekends at night.
I check whatever is left in the fridge then I look at my list of meals and recipes.
Then I plan out the meals (plus grocery list) for the entire week, including my daughter’s breakfast and lunch meals.
Dinner is something that can be served for my whole family and I almost always don’t cook a separate meal for my kid.
- Have a collection of recipes
Whatever recipe I find, I save it in the must-have app – Notion.
It’s free, and you can basically do anything with it!
- Fully utilize your cooking equipments
My air fryer is the best when it comes to cooking without slaving away in the kitchen.
I’d like to have a full-sized oven someday, not the toaster oven that we have, but we don’t have the space for it yet.
So if you have an oven, a crockpot, or instant pot, make full use of it. It will save you a lot of time and energy.
- Do batch cooking
When my daughter was less than 1 year old, I used to do batch cooking.
I’d do it at night cause that’s the only time I can get things done uninterrupted then. I would cook 3 to 4 different meals, and store that in the fridge.
Those lunch and dinner meals would be good for at least one week or so, so I would only have to prepare breakfast for my toddler then.
- Make freezer meals
Whatever you cook, wait for them to cool down and freeze them for later.
These are the best kind of meals that are healthy and are easy to prepare, especially when you don’t have enough time.
Just allot one day and cook 3 to 5 meals and you’ll be food for the next week or two.
- Leftovers are fine to serve
Your toddlers won’t care if they’ve been eating the same food 3x a day, for 2 days in a row. As long as it’s delicious for them, they’ll be fine.
Just remember when to throw out leftovers.
Hacks for Making Your Toddler Eat Their Meals
- Give them less food
Some kids get overwhelmed with a lot of choices so limit the food on their plate to 2-3 items.
Make 1 or 2 of them their favorite or something that you know they’ll eat and the 3rd one, let them taste some new food.
- Make their plate interesting
If you have the time and energy, be creative with presenting the food to your toddler.
You can get some plating tips here, or you can also try serving them in a colorful bowl or plate with some compartments or divisions.
Some mom shared putting the food in ice cubes which were enticing enough, that her toddler finished the whole meal!
- Pretend the food is delicious
Keep some extra food on your plate and make some exaggerated noises and faces on how yummy it is.
Some parents have been successful with this and their kids always want a portion of their food.
- Pretend the food will give you powers
Well, it does in a way, so hype that up by for eg., pretending you’ve gotten so much stronger. Flex your muscles, tell them how you can feel the energy coursing through you cause you’ve been eating that food for weeks, etc.
- Take away the food if they start throwing it
Yeah I know, they will get into that phase where they’ll throw food on the floor or anywhere because they’re experimenting and learning cause and effect.
But if you can clearly tell that they’re just playing with it and they’re not interested to eat it, stay cool, don’t shout, and just take away their food.
Tell them we won’t throw food on the floor and just take away the food.
Reinforce that rule and be consistent, until they get that they’re not supposed to do that.
- Don’t force them to eat
If they don’t like what you served, don’t make a big deal out of it.
Don’t acknowledge or scold them so next time, if you offer the same food, they’ll be more encouraged to try it. They won’t associate it with any negative feelings.
- Make them eat what the whole family is eating
As much as possible, make your toddler eat what the whole family is having.
Don’t prepare any special, separate food for them, unless they’re allergic to some ingredients the whole family is having.
So they’ll be encouraged to try out some new food and you won’t get too tired slaving away in the kitchen.