Let’s face it, I don’t have time or patience to make any of those toddler meals on Pinterest. My child isn’t going to eat kale or quinoa. I also don’t always want to make a full meal to share with her. So here are my go-to meals for lunch and dinner when I want something fast and easy just for her.
You can mix and match any of these with the sides or just use the sides as snack ideas.
Lunch & Dinner
Who hasn’t eaten cut up hot dogs as a kid? Just make sure to cut them up into small pieces because they can be a choking hazard for younger toddlers and babies.
I grew up eating “little weenies.” Toot loves them too. I figured all kids ate Vienna sausages, but a lot of my friends said they had never heard of them. They’re basically the SPAM version of hot dogs. They’re small and softer so they’re easier for babies and toddlers to eat than hot dogs. We started giving Toot Vienna sausages at about 10 months once she got a couple of teeth.
They’re also super cheap, too. I can usually get a can for 60 cents and it’s enough for two meals for her.
Deli meat and cheese
It’s so easy to rip up some deli meat and cheese that Toot eats it almost daily. We usually have a supply of ham, turkey, and chicken to choose from. I would stay away from anything with added flavor or seasonings. We tried to give her some mesquite turkey once, and she wanted nothing to do with it.
Mac and Cheese
Ahhh Mac and Cheese. I buy little microwaveable cups so it only takes a few minutes to get it ready for her. They have generic brands that are cheaper options and they also have whole grain macaroni if you want to try and be semi-healthy. I’ll warn you, though. It tastes different, and I didn’t like it. Toot didn’t seem to mind.
Make sure it cools down for at least a minute or two before letting your toddler shovel it into her mouth. It gets really hot, and the cheese is pretty much lava.
Younger toddlers will only be able to eat half the cup per meal. Save the rest in the fridge for later and put one of these on top of it to re-seal it.
You know what else comes in little microwaveable cups? Ravioli! As you can tell, I’m a fan of things I can microwave, serve, and throw it all away. Quick and fewer dishes to clean. Toot likes the micro mini ravioli.
If you’re part of Amazon Prime you can order a lot of these in Prime Pantry and have them delivered to your door!
Easy Pasta or Rice
If you’re willing to actually get out a pot and cook on the stove, (I won’t judge you if you’re not) there are some simple pasta or rice sides that can be used as a toddler meal. Obviously, your kid won’t eat the whole package. So if you don’t want any at the moment, save the rest for later.
Our favorites include butter noodles, alfredo, and cheddar broccoli.
No one ever said ramen was healthy, but you might as well prepare your kid for college now. I didn’t have ramen until I actually was in college. But Toot loves it. Just be sure to cut the noodles up into smaller pieces since they’re about four miles long.
Ok, so when I was pregnant I said, “my child is not eating frozen chicken fingers.” Well, here we are.
Again, don’t forget to cut them up into manageable bites.
Snacks & Sides
The obvious answer to cheese is to take a slice of American singles and fold it up into small squares. But I like to take a cheese stick and cut it up into bites. She gets different kinds of cheeses like mozzarella and cheddar.
There are Cheerios just all over our floor constantly. I stick to the regular Cheerios because she doesn’t need any of the extra flavors. Although, I have been known to give her pumpkin spice flavored Cheerios.
Toot loves goldfish. I’ll buy a huge box and it will last forever. There are other versions of goldfish that are penguins ( my BFF swears by them) and bunnies. She also loves oyster crackers for some reason. Oyster crackers are more delicate so I don’t take them when we travel. Goldfish are great to throw in a ziplock bag and take in the car.
Toot would live on fruit if I let her. The easiest way to keep fruit is to buy the little fruit cups. Try to get the no sugar added ones. Your toddler doesn’t need any extra sugar.
You can also buy frozen fruit! I have frozen strawberries and frozen mangos. I’ll pull some out of the freezer, put it in a bowl with a cover, and stick it in the fridge in the morning. They’ll be defrosted by lunch time. You can always microwave them too.
Frozen veggies are a staple in our house too. I always have bags and bags of frozen peas and carrots. I stock up. Other good options are corn, mixed veggies, and green beans.
Pour some in a bowl that has a cover and microwave for 30 seconds. Shake (or stir) and microwave for 20 more seconds. This all depends on how much you put in there but I just fill a small toddler bowl and cover with another bowl. The ice crystals on the veggies will steam them perfectly so you don’t have to add water if you’re only making a toddler portion size.
What are your favorite toddler meal ideas?
Let me know in the comments below!
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