Looking for toddler dinner ideas you can rustle up with a bottle in one hand and a basket of laundry in the other?! Mama, we’ve got you covered!
Trying to come up with toddler dinner ideas alongside the 101 other things on your to-do list?
Looking for something healthy but simple to make — and that they might actually eat?!
Mama, we hear you!
And we’ve got ten adaptable toddler dinner ideas to make mealtimes a breeze.
In this article: 📝
- Toddler dinner ideas made simple
- What should I make my toddler for dinner?
- What can I make for my picky toddler?
- What is a good dinner time for a 2-year-old?
- Is it ok for a toddler to miss dinner?
- Top toddler dinner idea tip: Keep it simple
Toddler dinner ideas made simple
Somedays, making a coffee feels impossible, let alone a nutritious meal for your toddler.
Here are some tips to take the stress out of dinnertime.
Plan ahead if you can
If you’ve managed to find a quieter moment — congratulations!
Using it for meal planning and simple prep will make life easier when things get frantic.
Cook double batches
If you’re cooking, make the effort count!
Making a double batch means you can put the rest in the freezer for another time.
Use the same recipes for adults and toddlers
Ok, you might want to zing up the adult portions with spicier sauce or extra veg.
But using the same basic recipe means you don’t have to come up with a whole different meal.
Keep things easy for your little one
If they’re struggling with a spoon, serve up something they can pick up.
And if they prefer every ingredient separate rather than mixed together — that’s ok too.
If they don’t like it, don’t sweat it
What they love one day, they go off the next.
It’s all part of the toddler learning experience.
That meal they won’t touch today could be the flavor of the month tomorrow.
So try to relax and stay flexible.
(We know — easier said than done when you’ve just spent time preparing a meal amidst the millions of other things you need to do. Sigh. If you need support through this, your Peanut community is there for you.)
What should I make my toddler for dinner?
Here are some simple toddler dinner ideas that don’t require much time or prep.
1. Veggie pasta
Making a big batch of pasta sauce you can use for multiple meals is a great time saver.
Fry veggies like onion, garlic, bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots to soften them up, then add tinned tomatoes.
If you want, you can add the cooked pasta in advance too.
Keep individual portions in the fridge or freezer until needed, and serve topped with cheese for protein.
2. Deconstructed salad
Separating out salad ingredients lets your little one experience different flavors and textures.
And if they don’t like one element, there’s plenty more to tempt them.
Mix salad veg like tomato, lettuce, cucumber, and avocado with proteins like turkey, chicken, or mozzarella.
If you like, you can add a salad dressing too.
3. Deconstructed BLTA
Just like salads, you can deconstruct sandwiches to make them easier for your toddler.
Serve bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado with wholemeal toast or bread for a nutritious, flavorful dinner.
Omelets are fast and easy, and eggs will keep for ages in the fridge.
Add ham for protein or cheese to keep it vegetarian.
Then mix in whatever veggies they like.
Serve it cut into small pieces your toddler can pick up or scoop with a spoon.
5. Gourmet cheese and crackers
Rice cakes or wholegrain crackers are a great base for toddler dinner ideas.
Look for low-salt versions, then top with your choice of cheese and veggies.
6. Baked beans on toast
Tinned baked beans are easy-peasy, and they’re also full of fiber.
Just watch out for the sugar content — reduced sugar options are best.
Add some wholemeal toast and top with grated cheese for extra protein.
7. Simple pancakes
If you’re pressed for time, you can make a simple pancake mix with mashed banana and whisked egg.
Cook a tablespoon at a time for a quick, moist pancake.
Add in baby spinach or roast sweet potato to introduce them to new flavors.
You can make a batch and reheat them too.
8. Pitta pizzas
Make a quick pizza using pitta bread as the base.
Just smear tomato puree on top and add grated cheese.
This is also a great way to smuggle in veggies if your little one is picky.
Spinach, bell peppers, and tomato all work well.
9. Avocado toast and scrambled egg
Avocado toast isn’t just for hipsters!
Mashed avocado on wholemeal bread is an easy, tasty dinner for toddlers.
Add a scrambled egg for protein.
10. Pasta salad
Mix cooked pasta with sliced tomatoes, cucumber, and beets — whatever you have on hand.
Chicken, ham, or mozzarella are great for protein.
Prepare it in advance, and it will keep for several days in the fridge.
What can I make for my picky toddler?
All these toddler dinner ideas offer lots of scope for variation.
So if your little peanut is suddenly turning up their nose at cucumber, just leave it out of the salad.
If they’ve decided zucchini is dead to them, swap it for bell pepper in your pasta sauce.
Check out our top tips for navigating meal times with a picky eater.
And remember that toddlers’ preferences change — so don’t give up on certain foods.
It can take as many as ten attempts before your little one decides they like them after all.
What is a good dinner time for a 2-year-old?
A regular schedule is a great way to help your 2-year-old develop healthy eating habits.
They’ll know that food is coming, so they don’t need to get anxious or eat when they’re not really hungry.
Ideally, your toddler should eat every two to three hours.
But exactly what the schedule looks like is up to you.
Is it ok for a toddler to miss dinner?
If your toddler is occasionally refusing their dinner, don’t worry.
This isn’t unusual at this age when appetites vary.
But if it’s happening often, try moving dinner time.
If your little one is too tired to eat, an earlier dinner may help.
If there’s not enough of a gap between an afternoon snack and dinner, a later meal could help them build up an appetite.
Top toddler dinner idea tip: Keep it simple
Remember, you don’t have to be Gordon Ramsay to rustle up a delicious dinner for your little one!
Keep things simple, and don’t worry if they don’t like everything you put in front of them.
Mixing things up with different ingredients needn’t mean preparing a whole new recipe.
Swapping different veg and fruit will give your little one lots of variety without driving you to distraction.
You’ve got this, mama!