Mealtime Ideas for Toddler???

Updated on May 30, 2008
S.H. asks from Mishawaka, IN
13 answers

I am at a loss on what to make for my almost 2 year old girl. It seems I am always rushed and dont really have time to plan things out ahead of time. Thats why I am coming to all you experienced mommas for help!! My daughter will pretty much eat anything-she is not picky. I would really like to have a healthy, balanced diet for her. I need a few suggestions on easy meals to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I am not very creative on what to feed a toddler. Your suggestions will help me out soooo much. Remember most of the time i dont have a lot of time to prepare these meals. Thank you so much for helping. I cant wait to hear what you moms feed you kiddies!!!

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answers from South Bend on

Just some ideas of some things that my son likes. Eggo waffles or pancakes (toaster/microwave). He loves rasin bread toast w/ peanut butter. Motts cinnamon applesauce, dessert vanilla pudding.

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answers from Bloomington on

my toddlers like beans-- just plain straight from the can. easy, full of protein, healthy... black beans, pinto, kidney... you name it!



answers from Youngstown on

Hello there. I have 3 children so just to give you some ideas on what I cook. First of all, I try to cook ahead, if im making chicken today for something, i make double, put it in a container with a lid,and use it tomorrow for a meal, saves time because chicken is already cooked. For breakfast, eggs/toast, eggs hashbrowns, or I make sandwiches with sausage patties, a slice cheese on english muffins, or cereal of course.
Lunch.. ham or turkey sandwiches & cheese puffs, toasted cheese & tomato soup, mini ravolis, lately subway has had foot long subs for 5.00 that is a steal and we have been eating them sometimes too (my older kids are 5 & 6 ) so I give them each a 6 inch and they are full.. and its healthy. I try to make homemade soup at night while im giving the kids a bath, or after they are in bed, and then I have it for the next day. I also make chicken nuggets out of boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut it up (which can be done the night before), dip in egg & bread crumbs and fry takes about 5 mins with mac and cheese lunch done in 10 mins
snacks, cheese & crackers, gold fish, cottage cheese & fruit, yogurt, peanut & butter jelly sandwich,granola bars, fresh fruit, pepperoni & cheese slices
Dinner: I always try to cook a meat, pot & veg. My kids also like salad, applesauce, rice or pasta so I try to change it up alittle.. Chicken wraps are easy to make, I cook boneless skinless chicken in water the day before or night before after kids go to bed, put it in a container, and put in fridge, next day take the chicken cut it up into pieces, add lettuce, tomatos and cheese in a tortilla shell with ranch dressing, make french fries for the side.. that takes about 15 mins of total preparation time if you cook the chicken ahead of time. My advice if you are short on time, is try to plan for the next day and do your prep time at night after the baby goes to sleep to make it easier on you. Like some of the other moms said. cutting up veggies and putting in a ziploc bag in the fridge makes for easy access, or cooking on the weekends maybe for a couple days and freezing will make your cooking time cut in half during the more hectic times of the week. Good luck to you.



answers from Cincinnati on

My son LOVES fresh fruit for breakfast, now he's into oatmeal, he use to be into donut holes (they were the worst thing in his whole diet so I was fine with it!) Lunch is peanut butter and jelly, a cup of fruit and a cup of veggies. We buy the ones in the plastic cups that you can throw into the microwave real quick or use left overs from the night before. He also gets some form of dairy other than his drink either string cheese or a yogurt. (This is now at 5--but I have done this some theme since he was 18 months old. Just smaller portions). At dinner he gets what we are having: a meat, a veggie and a pasta. Snacks are 100% fruit snacks, raisins and other dried fruits that you can always have in your purse or bag, and other fresh fruits. He gets a cup of milk (more if he wants) with each meal, and 100% juice, water or gatorade for snack times (gatorade was not added until recently). This has been the same since he was young, his portions just grow with him. :) Best of luck!



answers from Cleveland on

You are lucky you do not have a picky toddler. That is a blessing. I try to make the meals I provide as balanced as possible. It doesn't have to be fancy but it has to be as natural as possible. Processed foods and ready made things cannot be good for you. Dinner would be something like: protein
chicken (kebabs or grilled), turkey burgers, porkchops, fish
veggies- raw (carrots/celery/cauliflower/brussels sprouts...) or steamed (now they make those microwave steam bags so it's super easy),
dairy -like a cup of milk, plain yogurt, or some cheese cubes
carb-rice, potato, sweet potato, whole wheat
Their snack is usually fruit which i Don't serve with their dinner so they don't get too full from it.
Good luck



answers from Indianapolis on

Hi S.,

I am like you, really need help.
I do great with snacks ;)

I don't know if this would interest you but I found something at the frozen section, Marrie Carrier or something, a cple different brands if you have a crock pot. You throw it all in in the AM and you have chicken soup and several other things like beef stew. You get meat plus veggies.

I hope to get lots more ideas from other mamas ;)



answers from Columbus on

Hi Sarah,
Its hard to be in a rush and want to make a healthy meal. I know where you are coming from. With cooking for 3 and all of them having different tastes, it gets overwhelming.

For breakfast I usually have a few choices that are quick and easy and for the 21 month old, she usually gets the same choices every day.... I always have hard boiled eggs on hand... so I will peel a couple of those for her (take out the yoke, its just a mess if you dont).. with a banana and maybe a piece of toast with a little butter or jelly. Sometimes I have the rasin cin toast and she likes that. Or I cook up some turkey sausage links in the evening and have enough in the fridge for a couple days and I will heat one of those up for her with a banana and toast or sometimes a little dry cereal.

Then for lunch, Im like the rest of the moms...whatever I can find... I buy the frozen corn on the cobs, the little ones, and I heat one of those up. She LOVES that. With maybe some turkey and almost always cheese and yogart.Somtimes Ill make a bowl of soup with crackers in it and feed that to her, but she is getting to where she wants to do it herself... so that is getting hard... You can also buy these organic premade raviolis (sp) in the frozen section at Meijer... they have cheese or meat and I will warm up those and maybe sprinkle a little shredded cheese on top and she loves those. I always add a fruit and thats usually lunch. My friend is big on burritos... she buys tortillas and puts cheese and beans in them with a little tomato and then has some sort of sauce to dip them in... her kids LOVE them and her two year old will eat them because he is dipping them in something.

For dinner, I try to make one meal that everyone at least likes something in it. I make a lot of hamburgers and chicken and salmon. A lot of this stuff you can do the night before... crockpot meals are great... I try to do two meals at once... for ex... last night we had hotdogs with a sloppy joe type of sauce I made to go on top... I sprinkled cheese on top and serve them with fruit and rice. Then tonight we will have sloppy Joes with the left overs and that will be served with fruit and veggie and maybe potatoes.

Trader Joes has stuff to make all your meals and its a little more healthier because its mostly organic and doesnt have any additives. So even though we had hotdogs, they weren't your typical hotdog... know what I mean!?!?!

Good luck! I think getting the meals together is tough. Im always looking for something quick, easy and healthy!



answers from Dayton on

For breakfast I ususally feed my son something with fruit. He likes the fruit instant oatmeal a lot! Or Quaker started making fruit muffin bars, that he really liked to eat for breakfast too! Sometimes I get the frozen mini pancakes and he really likes to eat those. And sometimes we go with just a good ole bowl of cheerios! He would eat cheerios all day if I let him! (with milk or without) For snacks we usually have animals crackers, cheerios, or fruit snacks. For lunch we do, grilled cheese, PB&J, yogurt, cottage cheese, applesauce, sliced cheese, and sometimes spaghettio's. For dinner he usually eats what we are eatting, but if I know he won't eat it, I get the Banquet frozen dinners for him. He loves the ones with corn in them! So I usually get the corn dog or the chicken nugget meals.


answers from Columbus on

Do you prepare meals for yourself? I have always fed my kids what I was having, since I try to eat a well balanced diet myself, the kids just naturally get one, too.
Try making meals ahead of time, or making double when you cook and freeze the extra half. Crockpot meals are always nice. We eat a lot of marinated meats, marinate in the am, then all you have to do is throw it in the oven to cook, while the meat is cooking, you usually have enough time to prepare the side and veggie. Baked potatoes keep for up to a week in the fridge and are a good make ahead side, and you can do many different things with a baked potato; cut them up and add a cream or cheese sauce and throw in the oven, or twice baked, or fried with onions/bacon/whatever you want.
You can do alot with noodles and rice and get different flavors also. I sometimes boil a bag of chicken at the beginning of the week and then when it's almost dinnertime you can cut it up and cook it with one of those prepackaged noodle or rice bags.

For b-fast we usually have frozen waffles/french toast or cereal on the weekdays, on weekends I try to make a hot breakfast-cream of wheat, oatmeal, pancakes, homemade waffles, eggs and bacon/sausage.
Lunch, we always seem to get into a slump..sandwiches, corn dogs, chicken nuggets, spaghettios, quick-fix things that probably aren't as healthy as they should be. Usually served with yogurt and always with fruit.



answers from Cleveland on

Ok i love to cook but have 4 kdis and babysit soooo yeah i don't get to do it the way i like often but some faves taht are simple and fast and loaded with all that's good for you. Eggs, lots of protien and to scramble and egg takes mere seconds, toss in cheese, or basically any leftover cubed meat, or even lunchmeat if you go that route or some veggies and you are all set, i make mine with a little milk so other than fruit it really is covering all teh basic food groups. on that note though, there are infomercials on tv and they sell them at bed batha nd beyond and rite aid here, they are called green bags, and they keep produce fresh forever, as in if i buy slightly green bananas i have to take one or two out the day before i wnat to use them or they aren't ripe, and i have to intentionally spoil some now for my banana bread. lol but anyways keepsing mushrooms onions and peppers on hand it's really quick to dice one up and toss it in. cut veggies don't keep as long but still keep longer than normal in the bags as well.

other staples for my kids, string cheese, yougurt, fruit cups i buy the light stuff to avoid the sugar, pudding, fresh fruit, cottage cheese and any combo thereof, really just having some fresh produce on hand makes for lots of easy ideas, my kids all eat salads as well and sandwhiches, pitas and wraps, lunch around ehre in the summer at elast is almost always basically a cold meal, but it's a lot easier and a lot healthy tahn mac and cheese from a box.



answers from Fort Wayne on

I'm the same way! I feel like we eat the same things over and over again. For breakfast I usually give my dd either a frozen waffle, cereal or eggs and toast. Lunch is usually leftovers from the night before or pieces of lunch meat (turkey), cheese and some kind of fruit. Snack is crackers or goldfish. Dinner is whatever we're having and yogurt for dessert. It's all very uninspired, but it seems to work for us. Her doctor said that she is healthy, so there's no need to worry. I'll be interested to see what other people say. Oh, I also do a fruit with each meal. Or at least I try! :)



answers from Cincinnati on

Congrats on just graduating with your bach degree! That's great. I read alot of the other responses, so I'll just add a couple of things my non-picky two year old loves that I didn't see. For lunch, she'll sometimes have avacado with turkey and some veggie like raw carrots or cucumbers. Another favortie is peanut butter or almond butter and honey. I also try to make sure my kids have some flax seeds (usually hidden in their food, like bread, french toast, a shake, ect) everyday because of the Omega 3's. Omega fatty acids are essential for brain development. We also keep hardboiled eggs on hand and we buy the organic eggs with Omegas in them.
Whenever I can, I also try to get the kids involved in the meal prep. That way, they are learning and we're spending time together as a family. It sometimes takes extra patience!
Good luck!
M. S



answers from Indianapolis on

This question is right up my alley. We have had the same challenge at our house, except our toddler is very picky. I try to feed my family as much natural food as possible that is preservative and artificial coloring free, which really limits things.

For breakfast my 2 and 5 year old love toast or English muffins with all natural peanut butter on them. They also eat eggs and toast, waffles with peanut butter (we don't use syrup), homemade breakfast burritos (eggs and shredded cheese wrapped up in a tortilla). I also will make a triple batch of pancakes on occasion and freeze the leftovers and then when they want them again, I just pop them in the microwave. They get fresh fruit with whatever they eat for breakfast.

Lunch: Chicken nuggets, mac and cheese (I get either Trader Joe's or Annie's organic), and a vegetable or fruit. Ham or turkey lunch meat (my son eats a sandwich or tortilla wrap and my daughter just eats the meat), fruit, and yogurt or cheese. I also make pizza buns with hamburger buns, pizza sauce, and cheese; put them under the broiler for a couple of mintues and you have a quick lunch. They also both like salad with their meals. The old stand by is a peanut butter and honey sandwich with apple slices or apple sauce and tortilla chips. Grilled cheese sandwiches are also something they both love.

Snacks: plain, cheddar, or pretzel goldfish, all natural colby jack or provolone cheese slice, apple slices with peanut butter, graham crackers with or without peanut butter, baby carrots and ranch dressing, raisins, yogurt, all natural granola bars (Quaker makes some yummy ones). For their yogurt I buy a carton of plain or vanilla yogurt and flavor some of it with Smucker's Simply fruit and the kids,as well as my husband love it. I put it in little ziploc bowls that are a perfect serving for them.

Dinner: The kids eat whatever I have prepared for our family dinner which includes a meat dish, veggies, and some sort of other side like rice, mashed potatoes, etc.

I have gone on and on, sorry this is so long. I really hope this gives you some healthy options for your child.

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