Over 50 easy toddler meals and food ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus, special hand picked recipes for picky toddlers and a free printable.
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It’s so easy to fall into a rut of feeding our kids the same things over and over again, especially toddlers because they can be picky (that’s normal) and there’s often little time to actually prepare their food. But it can be done, simply with this huge list of inspiring and easy toddler meals, that also happen to be healthy. Besides the dozens of toddlers I’ve worked with as an OT, I’m also on the third toddler of my own. I get it, and I’m in the trenches with you! So, you need some inspiration? Below, you will find breakfast, lunch, and dinner toddler meals, as well as special recipes for picky eaters and my favorite toddler plates, cups, and forks/spoons.
And, because it’s A LOT of ideas, I have a special brand new printable that includes all of these toddler food ideas and more! Yup, you can print this out and hang it on your fridge. You’ll be able to get it at the end of the post.
A Few Tips for Toddlers Food
- If your toddler is still in the process of learning how to eat real table foods and move away from baby food, you’ll want to check out: How to Transition to Table Foods first.
- This list is aimed at 1.5 – 2 year olds and up. Although younger children can eat many of these meals too. If you’re looking for specific ideas for babies in the range of 8 to 15 months, check out Baby Finger Food Ideas and Baby Meal Ideas. You’ll see a lot of different ideas here and in the pics you’ll notice I haven’t cut up the food up as small.
- Many of these foods are finger foods, but some require being able to use a fork or spoon. I look for toddlers to be able to feed themselves by age 2. Click How to Teach Self Feeding to get my special tricks to get the job done.
- I like to serve milk with all meals, and at meals only from a straw. You can learn two different fast ways to Teach Your Toddler to Drink From a Straw. And, if your trying to wean, find my complete guides on How to Wean from the Bottle and How to Stop Breastfeeding.
- Until 4-5 years of age toddlers still need all choking hazards cut into small pieces, that means grapes, hot dogs, and sausage, in particular.
- In a few of the meals below, I mention dips, they can be incredibly motivating for kids, especially toddlers. Don’t hesitate to add a dip with any meal and read about how to use dips with toddlers here.
- My youngest eats a lot of the foods on this list, but not all of them necessarily. That doesn’t stop me from serving them. I always make sure there is at least one thing I’m nearly certain he will eat. Your toddler may just surprise you, my James (that’s the 2 year old) loves falafel, and will eat it with some heat, no problem. I never would’ve known that if I hadn’t given him the chance to try during one of our family meals!
As you scroll through the many toddler food ideas below, keep in mind that there are a few guiding principles I use with every single meal I serve. First, each meal has at least one protein, one fruit or vegetable, and one carbohydrate. I also try to offer 3-5 foods and give small portions, I can always get them more. Click here for recommend Portion Sizes for Toddlers. I also stick to a schedule of sorts and have a couple of rules, yes, even for a toddler. You can read more about those in How to Prevent Picky Eating and Common Mistakes Parents Make at Mealtime.
Toddlers can be exhausting, but they are so freakin’ cute. Remember to have fun at meals and don’t worry about the mess, because getting messy is actually good for their development and also heads off picky eating, click that link to learn more about why.
I’ve organized all these toddler meals into categories to make it easy, but don’t hesitate to mix up. There’s nothing wrong with having french toast for dinner and use as many dinner leftovers as you can for lunches. Oh, and you may notice the plates, utensils, and cups I’m using. You can find where to get them at the end!
Breakfast Ideas for Toddlers
Yogurt with granola sprinkled on top and sliced banana
Waffles (my favorite are pumpkin) and blueberries
Scrambled eggs, shredded hash browns, and diced tomato
Cereal bar (look at ingredients for one lower in sugar), sliced apples, and peanut butter to dip
Dry Cereal, yogurt tube, and peaches
French toast and strawberries
Bagel spread with cream cheese and/or avocado (I’ll put some chia seeds on top too) and diced melon
Omelet with finely diced spinach and mushroom and toast
Oatmeal (I like to mix in a teaspoon or two of ground flax seed too) and fresh cherries
English muffin with peanut butter spread on top (I will sprinkle the chia seeds and/or flax seed here too!) and diced grapes
Bacon crumbles, slices of cheese, a small bagel with butter, and papaya
Overnight breakfast casserole (perfect for weeknights) with eggs and sausage crumbles, sliced or diced pear
Pancakes with mashed banana (can add ground flax seed and chia seed to batter), slivered almonds, and raspberries
Cottage cheese, toast, and sliced peaches
Lunch Ideas for Toddlers
Diced ham and cheese, crackers, pickles, and watermelon triangles
Pan fried quesadilla with cheese, diced sweet peppers, and black beans
Hard boiled egg, crackers, and matchstick or shredded carrot sticks
Soup (think tomato, chicken noodle, potato, or wedding), baked soft pretzel, and diced melon
Grilled cheese and turkey, pickles, and sliced apples
Open faced peanut butter bread with sliced banana on top
Shredded chicken with ranch or bbq sauce (if you’re toddler likes a little zing) stuffed in a pita pocket, and diced grapes
Peanut butter and banana roll up (spread on tortilla, roll up, and cut into slices)
Hummus, crackers, and avocado
Cheese and tomato roll up (spread on tortilla, roll up and cut into slices)
Mini burritos (spread mashed beans, cheese, and peppers/avocado/tomato into middle of the tortilla only and fold up all sides, and turn over. bake in oven till crispy so toddlers can hold easily)
Strips of leftover chicken, tzatziki sauce (so simple to make your own), pita slices, and diced tomato
Pumpkin, banana, blueberry, or zucchini bread with yogurt dip and raisins
Mini hamburger (veggie versions work great too) sliders, sweet potato chips, and melon slices
*If you’re looking for even more, including ideas for daycare, head over to toddler lunch ideas!
Dinner Ideas for Toddlers
Diced meatballs, garlic bread, and diced grapes
Corn dogs (cut into pieces), potato pancakes, and sliced cucumbers
Diced chicken sausage, tortellini noodles, and broccoli that’s slightly over-cooked
Homemade mini stromboli (add whatever meat/veggie/cheese filling you prefer) and cucumbers
Popcorn shrimp, pierogies, and steamed carrots
Chili and whole grain tortilla chips
Fish cakes (special recipe for kids), rice, and green beans
Breaded baked fish, quinoa, and fruit salad
Tacos (can be hard shell by around age 2, depending on the child) with homemade mild salsa
Veggie and ham/turkey/chicken quiche (add whatever you want or don’t want with this quiche recipe)
Thick beef stew with biscuits
Chicken fingers or nuggets (see a homemade version in that link), mashed potatoes, and strawberries
Potato skins with diced tomato, cheese, and bacon, with matchstick raw carrots
Chicken legs (easy to hold), sweet potato fries, and sliced cucumber
Pizza (think homemade with veggie toppings) and grapes
Diced spaghetti or rotini noodles with shredded zucchini in a meat sauce
Pot roast with potato wedges and peas
Falafel with yogurt or tzatziki sauce in pita, diced cherry tomatoes on side
Pretzel chicken, raviolis in pesto sauce, and slightly overcooked asparagus
Recipes for Picky Toddlers
Any of the toddler food ideas that are already in this list can also be used for picky eaters, but since soooo many toddlers are picky, I hand picked a couple of recipes that can be really helpful. Also, if you’re new here you may not know that I’ve written A LOT about picky eating. If you want to get some tips to turn the ship around or at least keep it from getting worse, check out My Best Strategy for Picky Eating and How to Get Your Child to Explore New Foods.
Homemade mini chicken nuggets (this is how I got my second son to start eating chicken)
Waffle grilled cheese with spinach (in my toddlers pickiest days, he would help me make this and eat it!)
Fruity Berry Sorbet (packed with fruit, perfect for kids with a sweet tooth)
Banana Pumpkin Bread (full of vitamins and nutrients, but a favorite for kids)
Fruit and Waffle Kabobs (simple but the added element of fun your toddler might need)
Carrot Cake Smoothie (make sure you cook or totally pulverize the carrot for this super immune shake)
Pizza Roll Ups (you can also make this with store bought dough and get lots of veggies inside that your kid will actually eat)
Mild Tacos and Crunchy Quesadillas (picky eaters often don’t like anything spicy, this mild recipe will fix that)
Brushetta Bar (sound strange? This is hands down one of my favorite meals for picky eaters)
Best Toddler Plates, Utensils, and Cups
If you liked what you saw in the pics here and want to get the plates and such that I use for toddlers, I’m sharing them below. After three kids, I’ve trial and error-ed, a lot of them! You can also find a super list over at must-haves for mealtimes:
- My favorite toddler plate because its super durable and has three sections, which is so helpful for toddlers. It’s also deep enough that you can put soup or rice in one of the sections. You can get the toddler plate here.
- My favorite toddler straw cup because it is easy to clean, period. Straw cups are so good for toddlers but they can be a pain, this one isn’t. Plus it’s really affordable. Find the best toddler cup here.
- My favorite toddler fork because it actually stabs the food but isn’t sharp enough to hurt them. It also has a nice think handle that makes it easy to get food.Get the best toddler fork here.
- My favorite toddler spoon because it is bent at an angle that helps them actually get the food into their mouth and has a nice deep bowl. And, bonus it also comes with a spork! All of my kids have used these same forks and spoons. Get the toddler spoon set here.
- My favorite “alternate utensil”, seen the picture above are these safe toothpicks that are incredibly motivating and fun for kids. You can get these safe toothpicks here and read why using a stick to eat can me a game changing tip for picky eaters.
There you have it, that’s over 50 meal ideas in total, and some extra tips. Was this helpful? What are you inspired to try? Tell me in the comments below!
The Free Toddler Meals Printable!!!
Oh and about that free printable… So if you want to have a bunch of these toddler food ideas and meals in a handy doc that you can save or print out for your fridge, then grab this free printable! Get it right here.
If you’re still looking for more ideas follow along on Pinterest and keep the inspiration coming. I literally pin food ideas and tips for toddlers every single day!
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There are so many ideas packed in, you may want to check this out again! Click the Pinterest button in red below to save.