Toddlers have a bad rap for being picky eaters and creatures of habit when it comes to food. These tiny humans are extremely sensitive to food textures, smells, taste, and even appearance of the food they are eating. It’s no wonder that they want to stay in their own little bubble and stick with the foods they know and love. Finding healthy toddler meal ideas can be challenging to parents.
When it comes to healthy toddler meal ideas, you’ve tried it all. Mixing vegetables wherever you can, letting them pick out things at the grocery store, adding veggie laden dipping sauces, and spending hours making healthy squash Mac and cheese, that you end up feeding to the dog. Have you been there?
You and your toddler are on a constant merry-go-round of chicken nuggets, pizza, ice-cream and grilled cheese. You are ready to get them to start eating “real” food. Healthier toddler meals don’t have to be hard, and you don’t have to go too far out of their (or your) comfort zone, in order to make it healthy.
Toddler’s Love Routine
Since toddler’s love routine and eating the same foods over and over, try taking what they already love and switching it up with it’s healthy “cousin” version. Does your kiddo love chicken nuggets? Ok great, how about delicious BAKED popcorn chicken in it’s place? Can’t keep a gallon of ice-cream in the fridge, try healthier avocado “ice-cream”. Kid loves cupcakes, try healthy muffins and call them cupcakes.
These 10 healthier toddler meal ideas are a sure way to wow your kids, and even picky eaters, while you are secretly sneaking in healthy alternatives like whole wheat flour and veggies, and not going to far out of their comfort zone.
10 Healthy Toddler Meal Ideas
1. Baked Popcorn Chicken
- Why moms will love them: These popcorn chicken are baked instead of fried or prefried. They also have a cornflake breading instead of the standard heavily saturated fat store bought breading found in many chicken nuggets.
- Why toddlers will love them: Baked popcorn chicken resembles chicken nuggets, easy switch!
- Get the Recipe: Baked Popcorn Chicken from A Simple Plate
2. Sweet Potato Lentil Tater Tots
Why moms will love them: These delicious sweet potato lentil tater tots will become your kiddos favorite meal. Lentils are low in calories, rich in iron and folate and an excellent source of protein; making them a great stand alone lunch or dinner.
Why toddlers will love them: Tater tots-AS the meal! Need I say more?
Get the recipe: Sweet Potato Lentil Tater Tots recipe via Haute and Healthy
3. Toddler Muffins
Why moms will love them: Muffins are an easy grab and go breakfast or even lunch idea. They can easily be pulled apart for smaller bites. Muffins also are the perfect vessel to easily hide vegetables. These toddler muffins call for whole wheat flour, making them more nutritionally dense.
Why toddlers will love them: Close enough to resemble a cupcake, your toddler will be won over by the fun chocolate chips.
Get the recipe: Toddler Muffin recipe via The Worktop
4. Quinoa Pizza Bites
Why moms will love them: All the flavors of pizza, wrapped up with Quinoa as the star ingredient. Did you know that quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids? It’s also packed with fiber, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E.
Why toddlers will love them: Did someone say Pizza?
Get the recipe: Quinoa Pizza bites at Suburban Simplicity
5. Keto Fathead Crackers
Why moms will love them: Crackers aren’t a meal replacement, but snacks basically are it’s own food group in the toddler food world. These homemade crackers have no preservatives, dyes, or additives in them. They are also really easy to make. Your kids want crackers, and you want them to eat real food, this is a win-win.
Why toddlers will love them: Cheese + crackers. They won’t ever ask you for the store bought stuff ever again.
Get Recipe: Keto Fathead Crackers via Wholesome Yum
6. Taco Lasagna
Why moms will love it: This hearty casserole is packed with tons of vegetables but has enough flavor to win everyone in the family over.
Why toddlers will love it: Tacos and lasagna, two toddler favorites collide! It’s a match made in heaven, and they won’t even know they are being tricked into eating veggies, because it’s covered in gooey-gooey cheese.
Get The recipe: Taco Lasagna via Smells Like Home
7. Baked Fish Stick
Why moms will love them: Most store bought fish sticks are loaded with tons of trans-fats, saturated fat and surprisingly, sugar. This homemade version is easy and healthier.
Why toddlers will love them: Fish sticks are basically chicken nuggets’ second cousin. Throw in some a fun dipping sauce, and it’s the perfect healthy finger food for your toddler.
Get the recipe: Fish Sticks via Killing Thyme
8. Zucchini Slices
Why moms will love them: These zucchini slices are jam packed with vegtable, but dense enough for your kid not to notice.
Why toddlers will love them: These slices are almost muffin esque, and are light and fluffy thanks to the egg that is added.
Get the recipe: Zuchinni Slice via Cook It Real Good
9. Chia Parfaits
Why moms will love them: Chia parfaits can be used in place of breakfast or dessert. You can make these treats ahead of time, for an easy grab and go breakfast. Chia seeds are packed with antioxidants, fiber and protein. Get your Chia seeds from Thrive Market for half the cost.
Why toddlers will love them: They are sweet enough, that they think they are enjoying dessert for breakfast!
Get the recipe: Chia parfaits via Pass Me Some Tasty
10. Avocado Ice Cream
Why moms will love it: HEALTHY ice cream! Did you even know those two words could even exist in the same sentence? This ice cream contains way less sugar than standard store bought ice-cream, it’s very easy to make, and your kids will love it.
Why toddlers will love it: ICECREAM! A toddler food recipe your kiddo can get behind.
Get the recipe: Avocado Ice-cream via A Life of Happenstance
Toddler Friendly Cookbooks
After you have mastered these ten delicious recipes, check out some really great baby-toddler inspired cookbooks and websites to get even more ideas.
- Instant Pot Toddler Food Cookbook
- Tiny Bite cookbook
- Top 100 Finger Foods
- Sesame Street C Is For Cooking
- Yummy Toddler Food
- Super Healthy Kids
Tell Us Your Favorite Toddler Meal Ideas
Do you have a recipe dupe that your toddler or picky eater can’t get enough of and off the beaten path of PBJ, chicken nuggets or grilled cheese? Let us know in the comments, we would love to hear what your kiddos are eating.