Toddler Meal Ideas
- November 12, 2019
- Last Updated: January 22, 2023
- 3 Comments
- Toddler Food
These easy toddler meal ideas can help with 1 year olds, 2 year olds and more. Being consistent and offering different foods is part of the process.
I got a lot of requests for another post showcasing Camryn’s meals and snacks. Here we are at 19 months and I am having SO. MUCH. FUN watching her eat and experience the joy of food.
I know that toddler meal ideas for a 1 year old will change for two and three year olds and so forth.
I definitely credit her curiosity to our baby led weaning journey and me trying to learn how to instill an intuitive eating for kids framework.
But, this is honestly one of my favorite parts of parenting. The words are very fun, too. I don’t want to miss a thing so I’m here for all of this.
As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. You can read more here on our Disclaimer and Privacy Page.
Recent Toddler Meal Ideas and Snacks
Here are some of our recent toddler meal ideas that we’ve done. Some are BLT recipes, some are from baby led weaning sites, and some we just figure out as we go!
For the most part, Camryn eats what we do. Here’s what we’ve fed her recently.
- pomegranate seeds (her new favorite – they may surpass frozen blueberries, juries’ still out)
- soup (“mama, more loop” she says) from the Healing Soup Cookbook (we did the golden soup with veggies)
- parsnip fries
- sweet potato mac n cheese
- grilled cheese bites
- bison meatballs
- baby led weaning meatballs
- celery (in the soup)
- shrimp (although I think she’s had shrimp before) stirfry (loosely based off this egg noodle stir fry minus soy sauce)
I think the only foods she hasn’t loved so far are chickpeas and bananas. She could care less about a banana.
She can say it and point to it but has zero interest in eating it. Wonder why that is? I’m sure I ate lots of bananas throughout pregnancy.
If you have little ones, hopefully, this can offer some inspiration for toddler snacks and toddler meals.
And if you feel too overwhelmed with todder meals, consider making a bunch in advance to freeze as easy freezable toddler meals for future!
Our Favorite Toddler Snacks
Camryn’s favorite snacks include:
- pretzels (I get low salt if possible)
- Skout bars
- Quaker Kids granola bars
- cheese – string cheese, shredded cheese, cheese stars, you name it. She loves cheese.
- spinach sweet potato tater tots (bonus: mom and dad love these too!)
- pretty much all fruit (except bananas) – we often do apple slices, oranges, she’ll go crazy for blueberries and raspberries and strawberries, pears (since they are in season now). Since pears tend to be a little tougher, I’ll either saute them in cinnamon and coconut oil, or just peel the skin.
- dry cereal (sometimes mixed with yogurt) – I’ll get low sugar cereals
- broccoli + hummus
- strawberry chickpea flour muffins
- HB eggs
- toddler muffins (<– so many ideas in there)
You definitely want to get yourself a kitchen’s helper because involving your kids in the food prep is where all the magic happens.
Camryn loves making “muffies” and this is how they learn about and explore food. When I can, I’ll often add chia seeds into muffins or snacks for their benefits. Chia seeds for kids are great for so many reasons!
Lately, for breakfast, she’s been having waffles with peanut butter or eggs and toast…with peanut butter. There’s always peanut butter involved and this is how I know she is exactly like me.
We also make baby french toast, usually on the weekends.
She usually goes wild for the berries so I’m sure at the time I snapped this photo, she’s already eaten about 1/3 cup.
When I say “time to eat” in the morning, she asks for “rarows pb” meaning “waffles with pb.” We go through so much peanut butter with Ed, myself and her.
I’ve also been doing baked oatmeal (I like the sweet potato blueberry baked oatmeal since it gives her some fruits and veggies)
Toddler Lunch Ideas for Daycare
Often, I’ll put together her lunches based on our leftovers, or what I prep for the week. It’s often not super creative, but it gets the job done.
Still loving these Bentgo boxes (more food/equipment favorites here). These are great for our toddler lunches for daycare.
The teachers at daycare always say, Camryn has the best lunches, so that makes me happy. Here are some recent options.
Cheese, bread, veggie mixture with hummus, sweet potato fries, berries.
Berries, peas, oatmeal, cheese – Don’t worry, the perfect bar was for me, although I did hear they have kids bars’ now.
This was what I packed for a recent flight!
Cheese, graham crackers, mixed vegetable medley, some mac ‘n cheese with lentil leftovers. She loves lentils!
Pineapple, pasta, broccoli (Mom hack –> pack it frozen and it’s thawed by the time she eats!), salmon leftover from salmon patties.
How Much Should Toddlers Eat?
This is so individual! I think I talked about early on how I was worried Camryn wasn’t eating a ton of solids.
She was more content with breastmilk. But now, she is SO curious and interested in eating.
The photos I’ve included here are the portions I always serve her. Sometimes she eats it all, sometimes not.
I never push food on her and have just trusted her to let me know when she’s done or wants more. Don’t stress – kids know. They’ll eat more if they want to.
Chex cereal with plain full fat greek yogurt, veggies, strawberries, HB egg, some random spoonful of chickpea leftovers that I’m not sure why I added in there.
As you can see, I literally just mix and match things together.
What To Think About For Toddler Food Planning
Here’s what I usually aim for when packing her lunch.
- A fruit and/or veggie
- A source of fat (for us, it’s usually nut butter, cheese, avocado, full fat dairy)
- A carb – she usually likes something crunchy, like chips, puffs, cheerios or sometimes grains
I don’t explicitly worry about protein because there’s usually protein in the above combinations. But, she will eat chicken and eggs, so if we have them, I’ll add them in.
The way I think about it (similar to an adults’ diet) is that it all evens out at the end of the day. If she didn’t get enough protein at lunch, I’ll serve her more at dinner.
We don’t stress about feeding her at all.
Toddler Meal Ideas for Dinner
I take a similar approach to toddler dinner meals.
I try to prep at least 2 recipes/week that we can count on for at least one night of leftovers, so that’s three nights right there. She gets whatever we are eating.
Another night is usually a quick throw together meal night (sweet potato turkey burgers with ground chicken or pasta, sometimes a pasta bake if I have ingredients). And we usually eat out 1-2 times/week, too.
Toddler dinner ideas do not have to be hard!
Here’s a look at some of ours. For plates, we mostly use the ezpz plates and we have a bowl too. Love that they stick to the highchair tray! We use these forks.
Apple sauce, grape tomatoes and Annie’s mac n cheese with broccoli and edamame.
Frozen peas (she prefers them this way!), red pepper strips (she wasn’t really a fan of those), lasagna.
This is our recent soup tasting! She loved it. It was quite messy so eventually, I just had her sip it out of her cup.
Crockpot chicken with a panko breading, broccoli, applesauce (you’re seeing some repeated offenders here).
Barley mixture with squash and veggies, shredded chicken, oranges and grapes.
Barilla veggie pasta with peas, broccoli, and cut up shrimp. She enjoyed the shrimp a lot more than I thought she would.
I don’t make separate or different meals for her because I think it’s important that she sees us all enjoying the same foods. If she doesn’t like it as much, I’ll let her eat what she wants but I try not to just automatically offer her a favorite food.
I do my best to encourage eating new foods.
Hopefully these baby and toddler food ideas are helpful! I will plan on doing more of these posts occasionally if they are and if you enjoy them.
Those sweet potato spinach tator tots are now on my “to do” list!
I work in child development. We use worldwide normalised tests to check everything from socio-emotional development to language. Sometimes there are small ways in which we need to alter tests so that they are better suited to the culture. In one test, where we ask parents to circle all the words their toddler knows, we remove the phrase “apple sauce” and replace it with “yoghurt”, which most children here eat multiple times a day. I don’t think it would occur to many parents in Ireland and the UK to give apple sauce to their children (we mostly just use it as a sauce for roast pork and I don’t think one can buy it pre-made). I always wondered if it was an oddity to have it in there for American parents. Clearly not!
I find it fascinating that while things like pasta and cheese sauce, which would have been very uncommon to serve Irish children 20 years ago, have been adopted widely with the globalisation of food culture, some quirks and traditions remain culturally embedded (the obsession with peanut butter is another example, but is starting to catch on).
The meals look wonderful and your attitude is so refreshing (we find it so difficult to convince parents that children know when they are finished eating). I really enjoyed the post!
Hi Dee, thank you for sharing your experience! I agree that globalization and cultural foods can be so interesting! Camryn really enjoys applesauce (although it’s not something we eat on the regular) and asks for it. I think she develops some interest in new foods through daycare as well (they provide snacks daily) and also seeing what other kids are eating there.