If you’re looking for easy and nutritious baby led weaning dinner ideas, this post is for you! With ample options for main dishes and vegetable-rich sides, these baby led weaning food ideas can provide inspiration and guidance for you and your little one(s).
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Disclaimer – This post is for informational purposes only and is not for diagnosing or treatment. See your medical provider or Registered Dietitian for individual recommendations.
The beginning of baby led weaning is usually exciting, but also intimidating. Your baby is learning a totally new skill and learning to handle textures much different and thicker than breastmilk or formula.
We often start baby led weaning with just offering one food at a time, or even one meal a day.
In time, we advance to serving 3 meals a day, which is where these dinner ideas for baby led weaning will come in.
Whether you are a novice to baby led weaning or a pro, it can be helpful to have recipes for inspiration.
These baby led weaning dinner ideas will make your planning easier and help introduce baby to new flavors, spices, textures and cuisine.
Make sure to grab my meal prep ebook for more tips to simplify your meal prep!
Check out some of our other baby led weaning guides:
- Baby led weaning recipes for 10 months
- Baby led weaning 9 months
- Baby led weaning foods 7 months
- Baby led weaning foods for 6 months
- Meal Ideas for a 1 year old
Key Points for Baby Led Weaning Dinners
While many of us just want a simple answer of what to do and when to do it, feeding babies and children isn’t often that straightforward.
There is so much to consider for baby led weaning dinner recipes – such as how many other kids you have, what time you eat, what else baby is eating throughout the day, if baby has any allergies or follows a certain diet, what stage of baby led weaning the baby is in, etc.
All babies are different in their milk and solids stage, too.
So, some babies may rely on milk more when eating solids, while others may rely less on milk and more on solids.
As you can see, there are many factors that may determine what and when you serve food to baby!
Baby Led Weaning Dinner Ideas
Here are some of my favorite baby led weaning dinner ideas, as well as what to pair with them.
Please remember that these are not blanket recommendations, but instead, ideas that you can use as a base and personalize as you see fit.
While most of these recipes are balanced, meaning they offer multiple food groups (carbs, fat, protein, vegetable/fruit), it does not mean you need to include all options or that your baby should be expected to eat it all.
There are several ways to increase and offer veggies to babies, and you can switch them up depending on what type of entree you’re serving.
These vegetable recipes for toddlers should give you plenty of ideas!
Meatballs are some of my favorites for baby led weaning dinners because they are easy to hold, and can pair with lots of fun options, like pasta, rice, grains and more.
They are also easy to incorporate veggies into!
Another fun one are these greek chicken meatballs.
2. Turkey Burgers
Burgers, like beef, turkey or even ground chicken, provide iron, an essential nutrient for babies. I’m partial to these sweetpotato turkey burgers because they offer a vegetable and ample nutrients in them.
You could also serve air fryer bison burgers, which are a little higher in iron.
3. Pork Chops with Veggies
Pork is another great source of iron and zinc for babies, so can be another great dinner idea for baby led weaning.
Sheet pan pork chops and sweetpotatoes is an easy sheetpan meal with a variety of flavor, plus fruits and vegetables
Make sure to cut the pork into small pieces for baby, and make sure it’s not too tough. This may be better as a meal idea for a 1 year old who is proficient with eating.
4. Quinoa Meatball Bites
These quinoa pizza bites are a delicious vegetarian entree option for plant-based babies. We love to serve with small pasta shells, ziti or even couscous, a thicker grain.
These also have veggies hidden inside, which is a great way to boost extra nutrients in your baby.
What I love most about eggs is that they can be a great anytime-of-day food that pairs nicely with so many things.
Eggs for kids and babies have so many important nutrients, and they also offer fat, which is essential for babies’ growing brains.
When serving eggs to young babies in baby led weaning, I like to cut them into an “egg finger” shape so it’s easy to hold. You can also serve eggs in a muffin or casserole.
As babies become more advanced in their eating, you can serve them scrambled or hard boiled as well.
The plate above is an example of what I serve to an older baby (15 months), but you would probably want to cut up the pineapple more or serve something else alongside.
Pasta is an easy option for baby led weaning dinners. It can be prepared in so many different ways.
It can get messy, though, but it’s so so cute to watch babies enjoy the pasta.
Serving a taco tortellini dish also seems to be easy for babies to hold and enjoy.
7. Tuna Pasta Salad
Another pasta option and a great way to introduce seafood to babies through baby led weaning is by adding salmon or canned tuna to your pasta.
Or, just serve the pasta with tuna alongside some roasted baby led weaning carrots.
8. Fish Sticks
I like to serve with any fruit or cooked vegetables.
9. Lemon Chicken Tenders
Chicken tenders are an easy protein option for babies at dinner. Plus, there are so many options for sides for chicken tenders.
You can also serve with instant pot lemon basil rice, and cook that while your chicken tenders are baking.
Beans are nutritional powerhouses for kids and babies, and an easy dinner idea for baby led weaning that can be prepared and served in so many different ways.
Plus, if you use canned beans, they are ready in minutes!
While pizza beans are a personal adult favorite, you can even just simply mash up black beans or chickpeas and give them to baby that way.
Here are some other ideas and bean recipes for toddlers.
11. Sweetpotato Pizza Crust
A fun, out-of-the-box baby led weaning dinner recipe is making a gluten-free sweetpotato pizza crust out of cooked, mashed sweetpotatoes.
While regular pizza crust doesn’t offer much in terms of nutrition, instead using sweetpotatoes offers fiber, Vitamins A and C, antioxidants and more.
You can top it with whatever you’d like!
12. Breakfast Foods
There’s no need to just save breakfast-type foods for breakfast. You can definitely serve baby breakfast ideas for dinner during baby led weaning, too!
Here are some other fun baby breakfast options:
- Baby french toast sticks
- Sweetpotato breakfast casserole
- Pumpkin apple baked oats
- Strawberry chickpea flour muffins
- Peach baked oatmeal
13. Pumpkin Chili
Chili can be such an easy meal for the family, so why not serve it to babies?
Just moniter the salt and spice level. Babies can have spices, but you don’t want to serve them anything too spicy.
14. Zucchini and Sweetpotato Fritters
I love to serve these zucchini and sweetpotato fritters with avocado, parsnips, and meatballs.
15. Deconstructed Sweetpotato Nachos
While nacho chips wouldn’t be something to offer to babies, sweetpotato nacho chips are a different story!
Plus, they are easy to make at home and top with wonderful fruits and healthy fats. We like corn, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, beans, avocado, pulled or shredded pork or chicken, onions and more.
What a fun way to introduce your baby to a slew of flavors!
16. Sweetpotato Mac and Cheese
You can upgrade the typical mac and cheese for this baked sweetpotato mac and cheese to serve for a delicious baby led weaning dinner!
It’s easy to make in advance (along with this veggie pasta bake) and to freeze some for later.
17. Veggie Hash
A veggie hash, with or without eggs, can be an efficient way to offer all the macronutrient groups to baby! Hashes can be a great way to include leafy greens for babies because they cook down and become wilted, which you can then cut into smaller pieces.
For protein, you can use eggs or add beans, tofu or tempeh. For carbohydrates, you can use potatoes or sweetpotatoes diced in there, and any veggies you choose to add.
18. Turkey Taco Quinoa Skillet
While quinoa on its own may be messy and difficult for baby to eat, serving it with thicker options, like ground turkey and beans, can help it stick better.
Hence, baby will likely eat the quinoa through osmosis of eating the bigger items.
I also love to add avocado to this turkey taco quinoa skillet.
19. Broccoli Orzo Salad
The orzo has a texture like rice and may be difficult for younger babies to eat. Therefore, save this one for babies 12 months and older.
20. Lentil Hummus
For an easy baby led weaning dinner recipe, cook down lentils and mix with tahini, oil and some spices for a lemon garlic lentil hummus recipe.
Here are several other lentil recipes for toddlers and babies for inspiration!
21. Zucchini Salmon Fritters
Like the zucchini sweetpotato fritters, these zucchini salmon fritters are an easy meal to make in bulk and serve to everyone. Plus, it’s budget-friendly and uses canned salmon.
I especially love this for serving a baby led weaning dinner because the salmon offers essential DHA and EPA for babies, toddlers and kids.
22. Mini Meatloaf Muffins
While this may not be ideal for the whole family to eat, mini turkey meatloaf muffins are a great baby led weaning dinner idea for 7 months. I love that these are also high in healthy fats for baby from the almond flour and flax seeds.
Simliar to these fun baby meatloaf muffin tins.
23. Baby and Kid Friendly Soups
Just make sure the soup isn’t too hot, and watch the sodium you add in.
I like to serve with crusty bread that I dip in whole milk to make it softer and easier for baby to chew.
Quesadillas can be a great baby dinner idea that you can stuff with plant-based protein, like beans or lentils, or meat options, all of which are high in iron.
I love the looks of these black bean cheese quesadillas!
25. Mini Chicken Bites
These pesto chicken bites are one of many wonderful dinner ideas for babies and kids alike. You could also consider making them bigger into chicken tender shapes for younger babies to make them easier to hold.
Serve with a fun healthy dip, like greek yogurt, mustard or butter!
26. Easy Cheesy Pasta with Sausage and Kale
Pasta is always a hit with kids, and add cheese, sausage and kale and you’ve got a flavorful meal! Here’s the full recipe.
27. Easy Macaroni and Cheese
Homemade macaroni and cheese is easier than you think! You can add anything to it and it’s made with pantry staples.
Dinner Ideas for Baby FAQ
If your baby has an allergy, you can always substitute. For example, instead of eggs, you can use a flax egg in most recipes. Instead of a nut pesto, you can make a spinach pesto without nuts. If your baby has a soy allergy, make sure to review ingredients in things like oils, flours, etc. For the most part, if you are cooking from scratch, you should have complete control over most of your ingredients!
It’s totally normal for babies to go through phases of avoiding certain foods. This doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like it. Just keep serving it, even if they throw it or don’t eat it. You can also hide veggies in many recipes listed above, such as egg or fruit muffins, quesadillas, pureed soups, pasta sauces and more.
You can certainly start with purees when serving baby led weaning dinners to young babies. However, at some point, you will want to offer solid foods so baby can explore different textures beyond just purees. If you are nervous or have difficulties with this, reach out to a feeding specialist and/or talk to your doctor with your questions and concerns. Every baby is so different, and there are no hard and fast rules that you NEED to follow. Alot is based on your comfort level and your baby’s readiness.
This is also very individual and should be based on what works best for your family. For example, when I start baby led weaning with each of my children, I usually start with one meal a day. Most of their nutrition at this point is still through breast milk. My general guideline is that by 9 months, I’m up to two meals a day, and by 12 months, I’m up to 3 meals a day. That has worked best for each of my three kiddos, but again, much will be dependent on your baby and your family. You can certainly serve many of these baby friendly dinner ideas for lunch or even breakfast!
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