toddler dinner ideas

14 Toddler Dinner Ideas Your Picky Eater Will Enjoy

It can be hard to find meals to feed toddlers. You have to make sure that the food isn’t a choking hazard, is full of nutrients, and is tasty for a baby. Unfortunately, in our busy lives, you also often have to make it something the whole family will eat, and is something quick to make.

You aren’t the only parent out there cooking for a toddler though, and there are plenty of ideas out there that make parents’ life easier. Here are 14 toddler dinner ideas to inspire you.

14 Toddler Dinner Ideas

1. Broccoli and Cheese Cups


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If you want little bite-sized meals or snacks that are ready to go, broccoli and cheese cups are an excellent option. You can make a whole tray of them at once, and they don’t require too much. Just pull them out of the freezer and give them a quick heating up whenever your toddler needs something to eat.

They don’t take many ingredients either, just broccoli, eggs, crackers, cheese, salt, and garlic powder. These have the benefit of being vegetarian as well.

If you want to make it more filling, add a side of pasta, some fruit, or a little meat and make it a full meal. You can also mix them up to add a little flavor. For example, instead of Ritz crackers, crush Goldfish and throw them in instead, or throw in some cooked chicken for a bit of protein. You can also dip them in ranch if your kid is a little against vegetables.

While these are perfect for toddlers, many families find they work for all of their children, including their picky teenagers as well.

2. Quesadilla, Chicken, and Salad


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If you want a simple dish for your picky toddler, a mix of salad, chicken, and quesadillas can be perfect. Basically, you just take a quesadilla and the sides and deconstruct it. The quesadilla is just tortilla and cheese, while the chicken is broken up and put on the side. The salad is a mix of salad greens, tomatoes, sour cream, and cheese.

This meal is considered to be a perfect option for BLW, or baby-led weaning, which is when your toddler first starts eating food. It’s a great option for trying to get your baby to start eating, or just for a very picky toddler.

3. Broccoli Chicken and Rice


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For the kids that don’t need everything deconstructed, a chicken, veggie, and rice dish is a great choice. You can throw in some vegetables and make sure your toddler is getting the nutrients they need.

It has the benefit of being a meal you can make a large amount of, and it is delicious for toddlers, teenagers, and adults alike. So if you are looking for one dish to make for dinner instead of one for every member of the family, this is the meal.

It’s gluten-free as well, so it works well for those that can’t have wheat grains. You can cut out the chicken and replace it with some other protein as well if you are vegetarian.

If your child doesn’t like bright flavors or broccoli, one mom said she added those to the meal after she made the toddler’s dish and it turned out perfect. They still get to eat their fill of carrots, so they aren’t entirely missing out on vegetables.

4. Bite-Sized Chicken Pot Pies


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Bite-sized chicken pot pies make an excellent snack for any teenager or adult, and also an excellent meal for a toddler. Full of a mix of garden vegetables and chicken, your toddler gets a mix of everything they need in one bite.

If the chicken pot pies are still too big for your toddler to safely eat, you can quarter them to make the pie more toddler bite-sized. You could also just make a full-sized pot pie, but these are a lot easier to handle and cuter as well!

Like some of the other items on this list, they can be an addition to the regular meal rotation for adults as well. It can be a way to feed your spouse and your picky teenagers vegetables as well as your toddler.

One thing to note, a lot of comments mentioned that there is a lot of leftover filling at the end, so you can buy a second can of croissant dough and get a few extra pot pies from it.

5. Cheesy Taco Sticks


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Don’t be fooled, though this recipe says lunch, it can be a great quick dinner as well. It doesn’t make a standalone dinner option, but pair it with some fruit and veggies and you have a healthy and delicious meal.

If you want to hide the vegetables for picky eaters, cut the cheese in half and throw in some tomatoes, olives, or bell peppers. You can include salsa, or sour cream dip as well to make it extra exciting for toddlers.

For a twist, use egg roll wrappers and fry them!

6. Pasta Stars with Meat and Veggies


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If your kid doesn’t like traditional pasta shapes and refuses to eat them, make it more fun with pasta stars! They cook quickly and are a fun little pasta shape that is small enough to make them safe to chew even for toddlers.

Pasta is a simple staple that works as a base for any dish. You can add anything you want to it. Though this recipe calls for peas, carrots, and a diced protein, you can add whatever you want. Broccoli, bell peppers, pickled veggies, or anything else.

Same with the sauce. This is a simple butter and parmesan sauce, but if you want, you can use any old sauce out of the jar as well. This makes it a great go-to option because you can add any flavor to it and change up the whole dish. If you want to, you can even make it vegan or vegetarian.

7. Meat and Cheese Rolls


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If your kid loves sandwiches but is getting tired of basic bread, meat, and cheese, change it up by rolling it with a croissant and baking it in the oven. Throw in some veggies or a fun dip and you are set!

These can be served warm or cold, and work well paired with some fruit pieces or vegetable slices. To make it a little more fun, because it requires no cutting or sharp objects, you can have your toddler make it with you.

8. Spinach Pasta


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This recipe is a simple mix of spinach, milk, cream cheese, and parmesan blended together, which is only a few ingredients away from a pesto. This is a fun way to add plenty of vegetables to your toddler’s diet and they won’t even know it. Add some protein of your choice and you have a full meal for any child, including a toddler.

If you have leftovers, you can send them to your toddler’s daycare program for a healthy and easy-to-eat lunch.

Some children will question the green color, and might even be turned off of the food because of it. Make it interesting and entice them to eat it by calling it something like dinosaur pasta.

9. Chicken, Tater Tots, and Fruit


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Some toddlers prefer a series of snacks instead of one composed meal. If that is the case, break it up with a variety of different snacks on one plate. Pick a carb, meat, fruit, and vegetable and you have a whole meal!

For this plate, you have chopped-up chicken nuggets, tater tots, blueberries, and cucumbers. For kids that need something dipped in sauce to be edible, add ranch, ketchup, mustard, or a mix of all three.

If you want it to be a little bit healthier, you can use chicken strips without breading and veggie tots as well.

10. Mini Pizzas with Veggie Sides

Mini Pizza

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Do you want pizzas but don’t want to have to cut something up into tiny pieces to make it edible for your toddler? Make mini personal pizzas. All you need for the dough is some flour and yogurt. If you want to make the crust have a little more flavor add spices like salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, or even some nutritional yeast.

The best part of this is if you have kids who all want different flavors and can’t agree on pizza toppings, everyone can make their own. You can make the dough discs ahead of time and place them in the freezer until it is pizza night. Just pull them out, warm them up, add pizza sauce and let everyone add their own topping.

You may even be able to convince them to add a vegetable or two! Add a couple of side dishes like bell pepper strips and broccoli and you have a variety of colors. Plus you can add ranch to the side whether you are team ranch on pizza or not.

11. Veggie Fritters


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Want to add more veggies to your diet but not quite sure how to do it yet? Look at making these fritters. They are full of carrots, herbs, and zucchini to make sure each bite gives your toddler plenty of healthy food.

They are vegetarian and only have a little bit of milk, egg, and flour as a binder. They only take about twenty minutes to make. If you want, you can try experimenting as well with cheese, spinach, and other vegetables.

12. Hot Dogs, Fruit, and Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese

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Nothing beats the classic hot dogs and mac and cheese. Sure, you can mix them together and make one big dish, or you can simply cut up the hot dog, make some simple stovetop mac and cheese, and throw a piece of fruit on the side.

Sometimes you just have to have those quick, easy meals, and all this takes is some time to boil water, or throw things in a microwave, and the food is ready. Perfect for when your toddler decides they are actually hungry hours after you made dinner.

13. Fries, Rice, and Taco Fillings


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Are tacos a staple in your house, but tortillas stuffed with meat, lettuce, and cheese too messy for a toddler? Make it easier by deconstructing it for them. Place the meat, lettuce, and cheese onto a plate without a tortilla and let them eat it like a normal meal.

This stops food from falling out of the other side of the tortilla while still incorporating your toddler into dinner. If you want, you can give them a side of rice and potatoes, or cut up tortillas into bite-sized pieces they can dip into sour cream or guacamole.

14. Meatloaf Bites


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Meatloaf can also be a quick and easy meal. One way to make it more toddler-friendly is to cook it in bite-sized muffin cups. This reduces the amount of mess and can easily be made ahead of time.

Use any family meatloaf recipe, or the one included here. It takes a while in the oven to cook the meat but doesn’t take a lot of prep, so it’s a great option if you have some other things to get done before dinner.

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