7 Great Toddler Food Ideas

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toddler food ideas

If there is one word that best characterizes the mealtimes of toddlers, children between the ages of 18 months and 3 years, then that would be “chaotic”. While it is true that there are certain families who are able to manage the feeding habits of their toddlers exceptionally well, these are often the exception to the rule. In general, toddlers are strongly negativistic as they really cannot express yet what they want and they feel as if they are being controlled by others. Helping toddlers get all the nutrition that they need without having to turn the dining table into a war zone every time can include concocting fun and really delicious meals. Towards the end of this article, we’ll also be sharing with you some helpful tips on how you can turn mealtimes into fun times with your tots. For now, try to check out these 7 great toddler food ideas.

7 Great Food Toddler Ideas

Eggy Bread

What You Need 

  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 slices of whole wheat bread (if you’re health conscious; though white bread is fine)
  • Olive oil
  • Maple syrup

Getting it Done 

This is one of the easiest yet equally nutritious to make. Get your toddler and have him or her beat the eggs in a bowl while you heat the olive oil in your frying pan. Once the oil is hot enough, dip a slice of bread on the beaten eggs, and then place it on the pan. Leave it for around 1 or 2 minutes before flipping it over and cooking the other side. Repeat the procedure on the rest of the bread slices. Now arrange the breads on a plate and serve it with maple syrup. It’s super easy. And the eggs that have been incorporated into the bread provides all the good stuff that growing kids will need. Besides, you also get to encourage your toddler to join you in cooking. You can give him or her the bottle of maple syrup so he or she can create fantastic artwork on the bread.

Peppa Pig Fun Pancakes

What You Need 

  • 100 grams of plain white flour
  • 150 mL of milk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 150 mL of water
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Getting it Done 

Many toddlers today love Peppa Pig and we’re sure they are going to love you for this. First, you may need to familiarize yourself with the image of Peppa Pig. Or, you can draw Peppa Pig on a piece of paper for you to copy. Sift the flour and create a well right in the center where you’ll break the egg. Gently add milk, a little at a time, and stir gently. Continue adding milk until the mixture has attained a smooth consistency. Add the water and olive oil and beat the mixture for about a minute to make sure all the ingredients have been well blended. Transfer the pancake batter into a plastic bottle that can be easily squeezed. Heat a non-stick frying pan and slowly squeeze an outline of Peppa Pig once the pan is already hot. Draw Peppa Pig’s eyes, nose, ears, mouth, and cheeks and leave it to cook for about 5 seconds. Once the batter has formed, fill the spaces with additional batter. Don’t fill the eyes yet. Cook for another 5 seconds before filling the eyes. Wait another 5 seconds and start flipping. Cook the other side for 15 minutes and your Peppa Pig is done. Encourage your child to do some more drawings of Peppa Pig as well.

Kiddie Cowboy Casserole

What You Need 

  • 8 pieces of sausages
  • 600 grams of potatoes
  • 400 grams of mixed beans
  • 400 grams of baked beans
  • 1 piece of onion, diced
  • 2 pieces of carrots, diced
  • 300 mL of beef stock
  • 2 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 50 grams of grated cheddar cheese

Getting it Done 

Before you start prepping your ingredients, make sure to preheat your oven first to 180oF. Next, peel and chop the potatoes before placing them on a pot to boil. In a pan, sear the sausages and remove once brown. Add oil and sauté the carrots and onions before adding the beans, puree, curry powder, and beef stock, simmering for about 10 minutes. Once the potatoes are fork tender, remove them from the pot and mash. Get a casserole dish and lay at the bottom the fried sausages. Reserve a few pieces of sausage for decorations. Pour the bean sauce and top it with the potato mash. Insert cut pieces of sausages into the mash before poking the top of the mash with fork. Put the dish into the oven and bake for around 20 minutes or until brown. You can make a variety of changes to the dish. The best advice is to let your toddler choose which type of sausage to include. You can even let him or her poke the mask with the sausage or the fork.

Cheesy Yummy Mash

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVIrC6q_dGU

What You Need

  • 500 grams of potatoes
  • 500 grams of sweet potatoes
  • 50 grams of bitter
  • 140 mL of milk
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Black pepper

Getting it Done 

Kids just love cheese. Now you can put a healthier take to their cheesy cravings by using either a combination of potatoes and sweet potatoes or just a single variety. Cooking this dish is quite easy. All you need is to peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks, and boil them until they are fork tender. Drain the boiled potatoes then place everything in a bowl before adding the butter and some milk. You can ask your toddler do help you in this aspect. Mash the mixture and keep on adding grated cheese, as well as black pepper until you get the consistency and flavors that you want. Instead of ordinary cheese, you can use cream cheese or even crème fraiche instead. You can also replace potatoes with parsnips. You can also include crispy bacon slices, chopped fresh herbs, and even sautéed onion. Let your toddler decide what to put in his or her yummy mash.

Tomato and Chicken Rice for Tots

What You Need

  • 200 grams of risotto rice
  • 200 grams of sliced chicken breast
  • 235 mL chicken stock
  • Garlic, onion, black pepper
  • Chopped fresh basil
  • 200 grams chopped tomatoes
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 75 grams of broccoli florets
  • 1 teaspoon of tomato puree
  • 75 grams of peas
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil

Getting it Done 

This dish is very easy to prepare and easier to cook. Heat oil in the saucepan and sauté the onions and garlic. Once browned cover it with just enough water until tender. Add the rice, chicken, chicken stock, broccoli, tomatoes, carrot, tomato puree, and black pepper. Simmer until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is already fully cooked. This should last around 20 to 30 minutes. Remember, the smaller the slices of chicken, the faster it cooks. Continue stirring until everything has combined into a pasty consistency. Throw in the peas and basil and continue simmering for another 2 minutes. You can ask your toddler to choose the different kinds of vegetables that he or she would like to include. This gives him or her a sense of ownership for the dish.

Kiddie Salmon with Tomatoes and Carrots

What You Need 

  • 150 grams of salmon
  • 225 grams of carrots, sliced
  • 2 ripe, skinned, and deseeded tomatoes, chopped
  • Half a tablespoon of milk
  • 30 grams of butter
  • 40 grams of grated cheddar cheese

Getting it Done 

Not all kids love fish. It’s one of those food items that many toddlers are disgusted with. This dish relies on the subtle flavors of salmon plus the savory goodness of cheese and the sweet and sour ripeness of tomatoes to give your tot a spectacular fish meal experience. First, steam the carrots until tender. Place the salmon in a microwave dish, add milk, and then add half of the butter on top. Cover and leave an air vent. Put in the microwave and cook it on High for about 2 minutes. If you don’t have microwave, you can place the salmon in an ordinary pan, cover it with milk, and simmer the salmon for about 4 minutes. In a separate pan, sauté the tomatoes until they become mushy. Turn off the heat and add the cheese. Stir well until the cheese has melted and slowly blend in the steamed carrots. Flake the salmon and mix it with the tomatoes and carrots mixture. If you have babies, the whole dish can be blended for a smoother consistency, perfect for babies. Now, as for toddlers, you can choose to replace the cheddar cheese with something more appealing to kids. The best part is that you can ask your toddler to help you flake the salmon.

Flavorful Apple and Chicken Balls 

What You Need 

  • 2 pieces of chicken breasts, cooked
  • 1 piece chicken cube
  • 1 piece of apple, peeled, grated, and excess water squeezed out
  • 50 grams breadcrumbs, white
  • 50 grams flour, plain
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • ½ tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoon light olive oil

Getting it Done 

Kids love meatballs. Instead of giving them fatty meatballs, why not get something healthier and with a slight crunch as well? For this dish, you will need to sauté half of the chopped onions in a pan for 3 minutes. Then, you’ll need to combine the cooked chicken, grated apples, onions, herbs, chicken cube, and the breadcrumbs before seasoning this with some salt and pepper. Roughly chop the mixture in a food processor then form the mixture into 20 little balls. Roll each ball in flour then shallow fry in vegetable oil until golden brown. If you intend to give this apple and chicken balls to a baby less than 1 year of age, you can skip the chicken cube and the salt and pepper altogether. Encourage your toddler to help you form balls with this mixture. They will thank you for it and will forever be grateful of the opportunity to cook with you.

Tips to Turning Toddler Mealtimes into Fun Times

Many parents complain that toddler mealtimes are like mini warzones. Toddlers are very fussy, very picky eaters. However, there are certain things you can do as a parent to help get their cooperation during mealtimes. Here are some tips to turning your toddler mealtimes into fun times.

  • Give them options. 

One of the reasons toddlers turn mealtimes into battlezones is that they feel they don’t have any control over their food choices. This is because at this age, toddlers are already trying to develop a sense of autonomy – being able to decide for oneself. That being said, during mealtimes, it is always a lot better to serve two different dishes of the same ingredient so they will have the ability to choose. For instance, you can give them raw banana or candied banana. Regardless of which your toddler chooses, it’s still banana. At the very least, he or she will feel more content because he or she was given the option to choose.

  • Allow them to participate in food preparation. 

Depending on the food that you are going to prepare, it is a great idea to encourage them to join you in food preparation. Just be mindful of kid safety in the kitchen, however. You can let them peel a banana, for example, but never pare an apple. They can mash potatoes but never slice one. This gives them a sense of importance, the ability to perform something that only adults are supposed to be doing.

  • Stick with colors. 

Experiment with colors. Toddlers are still pretty much motivated by sensory experiences. The more colorful the food on the plate is, the greater is the chance they will be digging in.

  • Be creative. 

Be as creative as possible. Japanese moms have turned their kiddie lunch boxes into wonderful works of art by strategically placing different food elements to create their children’s favorite cartoon characters. This is best done in combination with a variety of colors.

Don’t be a hostage of your toddler’s temper-tantrums during mealtimes. With these very simple yet nutritious recipes and our helpful tips, you can turn any mealtime into a fun and engaging time for toddlers.

 

Selina Marie
Selina Marie is our head of content for MyKidNeedsThat.com, mum of two and a self proclaimed toy geek. When she isn't juggling the madness at home, on a school run or baking her world famous blueberry muffins, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest toys and fun for our readers!

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