Super Compelling Meal Ideas for Toddlers & Babies

I never would’ve imagined it, but some of the most highly engaged and requested content on my Instagram has been baby and toddler meal ideas! But I get it – starting solid foods was fun but slightly daunting, and now that we’ve entered the opinionated toddler stage, it’s no small task prepping nutritious meals for someone will love or reject it! If your baby is just starting solids, please check out my older blog post on Feeding Baby – Starting Solids.

Frequent Exposures

We’ve had fun introducing to our kid to all sorts of foods and other meals since a young age, and my biggest advice is to not be discouraged if they reject something (researchers say it can take 10 – 15 trials for little ones to like certain foods). Although it can be frustrating, I demonstrate to her I’m eating that food and will offer it again another time, sometimes served differently or mixed with something I know that she’ll eat. Our kid used to refuse avocado, salmon, sardines, and various other nutritious foods that she eventually grew to love (although with toddlers, that’s always subject to change!).

Adjusting Foods for Babies / Toddlers

I think it’s great to feed little ones some of the same flavorful foods you cook for yourself, adjusted for less salt and added sugars (I omitted these when possible when she was under age 1). Since our kid is allergic to dairy, egg, and nuts all of which I eat frequently, I end up prepping some of her food separately but still use many ingredients and flavours from our adult meals.

Easiest Banana Pancakes

These are great for little ones too! Served here with some yoghurt (I get coconut or soy-based yoghurt for her dairy allergy) + chia seeds and fruit.
3-Ingredient Banana Pancakes Recipe

Mix together in a bowl

1 very ripe banana, mashed with a fork
1 egg (our team have been making these for egg allergic kiddos)
2 Tbs flour
Optional: berries, chocolate chips
Heat a very small quantity oil over less-medium heat and drop very less of batter into the pan.
Cook for about 5 minutes on each side until done.

A super quick version I do for kids is just

1/2 cup uncooked rice, rinsed and drained
5 cups liquid (water + low sodium broth). Use less liquid for a thicker porridge.
A few pieces uncooked chicken drumsticks or thighs
A few handfuls of baby carrots, frozen butternut squash or whatever veggies I have
Optional aromatics: 2 to 3 piece peeled ginger, lemongrass stalks
Throw it all into the instant pot and hit the porridge setting for 25 minutes
For toddlers who need more flavour, serve with a little fish sauce or soy sauce.
Before serving, one should use food scissors within her bowl to cut the meat and veggies into tiny pieces. For best flavorful recipe that elder ones will enjoy too, check our Arroz caldo recipe which I think is the ultimate porridge!

A super quick version I do for kids is just

1/2 cup uncooked rice, rinsed and drained
5 cups liquid (water + low sodium broth). Use less liquid for a thicker porridge.
A few pieces uncooked chicken drumsticks or thighs
A few handfuls of baby carrots, frozen butternut squash or whatever veggies I have
Optional aromatics: 2 to 3 piece peeled ginger, lemongrass stalks
Throw it all into the instant pot and hit the porridge setting for 25 minutes
For toddlers who need more flavour, serve with a little fish sauce or soy sauce.
Before serving, one should use food scissors within her bowl to cut the meat and veggies into tiny pieces. For best flavorful recipe that elder ones will enjoy too, check our Arroz caldo recipe which I think is the ultimate porridge!

Ten-minute veggie bean soup

Featuring the same meatballs in the soup + multigrain crackers + avocado

veggie pasta soup recipe for toddlers

This is basically a “whatever’s in the fridge” soup, but it’s nutritious, Nori likes it, and I’ll usually have a bowl too! Some examples of what I’ve added to this soup in the many batches I’ve made:

Cut up leftover veggies (i.e. carrots, zucchini, onion, broccoli, baby spinach leaves)
Frozen veggies (i.e. peas, corn)
Meatballs, ground meat, 0r rotisserie / baked chicken cut up small
Drained and rinsed cooked beans (we like Wholefoods no salt added boxed beans)
Leftover pasta, lentils or rice
Marinara sauce or tomato paste/sauce – I use a cube or two from my freezer stash
one should add what they have at the moment from this list, if possible some broth in a tiny pot and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes. If it needs more flavour, I’ll add some oregano, garlic powder, and black pepper OR I’ll do cumin or curry powder for a different flavour profile. I sometimes chill individual portions of this soup for her in meanwhile.

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