After talking to a few readers and friends I have realized that I am not the only one that struggles with feeding our little one. I can hear the “Amens” already!
Throughout my son’s 17 month life we have had many battles over food, which almost always ends with a mess on the floor. He used to love eggs, but then one morning I turn around to find them thrown overboard. At first I felt mad, frustrated, but soon realized that this little person is exploring foods for the first time. They do say that it takes a child up to 15 times to like a particular food..if that is the case we have a lot of messy floors in our future.
Today’s post is to help offer you inspiration for meals that you can make for your family, and when I say family, I mean all of you including the picky toddler. Of course these meals depend on dietary restrictions, how old your child is (for allergy reasons), do you eat meat, what preferences do you and the rest of your family have when eating.
****I am not a nutritionist, doctor, or dietician—please take these recipes as ideas, inspiration and suggestions. These are recipes I have made for the blog but also fed my whole family for dinner.****
Crockpot apple cinnamon steel cut oatmeal who doesn’t love a slow cooker breakfast waiting for you in the morning
Apple Pie Oatmeal great oatmeal breakfast including apples
Homemade Yogurt perfect to mix with fruit.
~Meat & Seafood
Kibbeh a ground beef mixture or onion, cracked wheat, which is a grain and spices
Crockpot Turkey Meatballs My toddler LOVED these. They are easy to cut into small pieces and with the added sauce it really adds the flavor that many kids like.
Baked Chicken Fingers If your child loves chicken fingers then this recipe is up your alley and is made a little healthier using panko breadcrumbs and baking the chicken instead of frying.
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken This is perfect to make on a weekend and have shredded chicken for the week. You can either just heat up the chicken and serve it or you can make meals out of it. This is a real time saver!
Crispy Salmon with Carrot Ginger Vinaigrette I try to get my toddler to eat salmon once in a while—it has great health benefits. It is definitely hit or miss with fish but I still try here and there. The carrot-ginger vinaigrette is a nice added sweetness that many children like.
~Snack & Sides
Hummus great for spreading on toast, crackers, veggies
Eggplant Dip/Baba Ghanoush great for spreading on toast, crackers, veggies
Easy Guacamole great for spreading on toast, crackers, veggies
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus great for spreading on toast, crackers, veggies
Italian Style Quinoa You might have to help feed this to your little one since the quinoa is so small.
Crockpot Applesauce The ultimate baby friendly and easy snack, breakfast or side to a meal.
Cilantro Lime Rice great little side dish—you could maybe even try other types of rice to mix it up.
Italian Style Quinoa quinoa is very small so you might need to help your little one eat this, but the flavors are tasty.
Orange Cranberry Sauce great treat during the holiday season. Cranberries are tart and there is some added sugar in the recipe but my son loved them—great antioxidants.
Mango & Black Bean Salsa could be a good option for finger food eaters.
Roasted Chickpeas some kids love the crunch of these roasted chickpeas, just make sure you let them cook before feeding them.
Greek Quinoa Salad depends on how much chewing your little one can do due to the hard veggies
Bistro Chicken Pasta Salad pasta salads make the perfect finger food and incorporate vegetables and protein
Greek Pasta Salad pasta salads make the perfect finger food and incorporate vegetables, grains & dairy
Butternut Squash soft and healthy vegetable with a little bit of sweetness that your little one will hopefully love
Paprika Roasted Carrots with Cilantro another good way to get those veggies in—if your little one doesn’t like spice you could just throw some olive oil on the carrots and roast them and add the cilantro at the end. Roasted carrots have a wonderfully sweet flavor.
Crockpot Chickpea Chili (Vegetarian) my child loves soups, especially chili. I try to eliminate some of the heat in the recipes (so maybe take the spices down by ½ teaspoon. It really depends on your child’s tolerance for spice).
Easy Minestrone Soup Soups are very customizable, and while you will probably have to feed these to your little one (not easy to eat unless they have mastered utensils) soups are a great way to get veggies, protein, grains and other important nutrients into their diets.
Chicken Noodle Soup One of my son’s favorite soups that I make.
Sausage, Tomato and Arugula Fettuccine pastas are a great way to incorporate grains into your child’s diet while also adding veggies, proteins. I find that pastas are also very easy for my son to feed to himself, which he always likes to do.
Caprese Chicken Pasta the whole family will love this dish! Think caprese salad mixed into a pasta dish.
Crockpot Marinara Sauce when I made a batch of this I freeze the leftovers and use it to put on ravioli, pasta, bread. My son loves the added flavor and devours this stuff!
Pasta Goulash another great finger food, but messy.
Pasta Bake cheesy pasta yumminess.
Baked Mac & Cheese with Panko Breadcrumbs this was my #1 recipe in 2012 and my son agrees. It is a good treat for him and he loves it. Who doesn’t love mac & cheese?
Spinach Artichoke Pasta with Panko Breadcrumbs Will wasn’t a fan of this at first but he warmed up to it eventually. Worth a try because the adults sure love it!
Penne with Turkey Sausage Garlic and Broccoli Another winner in our house. I like using turkey sausage over sausage when I can because I feel like it is healthier.
Stuffed Shells these are harder for the kids to eat so cut it up and be ready for a mess—but these are delicious so it is worth it.
Crockpot Lasagna another messy meal but easy to make.
Pumpkin Zucchini Bread great treat when the ingredients are in season.
Pumpkin Bread great treat when the ingredients are in season.
Cranberry Bread great treat when the ingredients are in season.
Pomegranate Blueberry Banana Smoothie so easy for baby to sip and packed with good antioxidants–my son uses a straw to drink these.
Peanut Butter Berry Smoothie another delicious smoothie with the added benefit of peanut butter (protein)–make sure your child is at the age where he/she can have peanut butter
I would love for you to post recipes, questions, comments or ideas about feeding your toddler in the comments section below.
Other great resources for feeding children
- Cooking Light
- Eating Well
- Huffington Post
- She Knows
- Real Simple
- Super Healthy Kids
- Wholesome Homemade Baby Food (loved this especially when making baby purees)