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Toddler-Friendly Meal Ideas

By Danielle |

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Do you feel like you are always battling with your toddler to actually get them to eat?  I know I am!

You would think that getting them to no longer be hungry would be a simple task.  Nope, not in toddler line of thinking! I sometimes wonder how this kid survives on the bits and pieces of whatever he actually eats.

And I know I am not the only mother out there fighting this uphill battle when it comes to these kids. Thankfully, I’ve finally found some ways to get my little one interested in meals.

I have been flooding my family with new recipes and fun ones I think the toddler will actually like as well. And some of them are really working! The toddler is eating far more than before, even without the dessert bribes. I wanted to share the recipes that have been helping in our household. I hope you enjoy these as much as we have!

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Having Fun Feeding Toddlers

Chicken Nuggets

What kid doesn't love chicken nuggets, especially if you make them fun to eat! We give our toddler a toothpick to eat them with.
Recipe at My Name is Snickerdoodle

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Read more on Toddler Times from Danielle:

Jobs my Toddler Would be Good At
How Young is Too Young for Chores?
My Love-Hate Relationship with Daycare

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About Danielle



Danielle Elwood is a straight-shooting Florida based mom of three and emerging indie author. Read bio and latest posts → Read Danielle's latest posts →

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18 thoughts on “Toddler-Friendly Meal Ideas

  1. Alyssa says:

    Love these ideas! Thanks!

  2. Robin Nider says:

    I was interested in seeing some good ideas for my 1 year old, but I was really disappointed at these recipes. Toddlers do NOT need to eat “kid food”! They can eat real food, the same food that you and I eat. Every one of these recipes was high fat, low veggie, and all around bad nutrition. You’re setting your kid up for a lifetime of picky eating if all you feed them is corndogs, chicken nuggets, pizza muffins, and chicken pot pie in their formative years. Not to mention a lifetime of bad nutrition.

  3. Rebecca says:

    Wow, I agree with Robin. Where are the fruits and veggies? Whole grains? Compare this post with the one made by Emily today on Making Healthy Breakfasts. Parents can make healthy meals fun AND delicious. Try Emily’s green smoothie recipe – I guarantee your kids will love it. Mine did (and so did I)!

  4. Kaylee says:

    I am constantly perplexed by your posts. Didn’t you also JUST write the post about your toddler made you shed 45 pounds because he kept taking food off your plate? I thought this was going to be a list of meals that you put on your plate and share with him that went along with your diet plan. Instead it was filled with food high in nitrates, sugar, and sodium. And corn dogs? Seriously? You do know that hot dogs are a choking hazard for toddlers. Please no one give your toddler a corn dog! They expand in the throat. And wait, it just dawned on me that you are also the one here who said people refer to you as crunchy. Not a single “crunchy” meal here. It’s not a wonder that we are the most obese nation. With food recommendations for our children like this. It astounds me that a large publication promotes this stuff too. Lets keep contributing to the obesity of our children!

  5. Danielle625 says:

    Wow Wow Wow! Ladies… I think you are taking these fun and occasional meals a little too seriously and way too far.

  6. Kaylee says:

    Really? This post was for occasional meals? Please point me to where it says that? I don’t need any help getting my toddler to eat chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese and pizza. It doesn’t need to be presented in mini muffin cups to get him to have that occasional once in a blue moon treat. He does however turn his nose up to vegetables on occasion. Sure would be nice to see some vegetables creatively hidden inside of something more kid friendly. I think that’s what everyone was expecting this post to be. Not how to occasionally feed your child junk food. And I still shutter anytime I see a recommendation of feeding a toddler a hot dog in any form whether it’s occasionally or all the time it should not be a part of a toddler’s diet!

  7. Rebecca says:

    @Danielle – But you just said in your post that you were flooding your family with these kinds of meals. If your kids are hungry all the time (you said: “You would think that getting them to no longer be hungry would be a simple task.”), they need to be eating less carbs and more protein. Did you really make all of these meals? Try the green smoothie recipe – fruits, vegetables and protein all in one glass of awesomeness.

  8. Kim @ Out of the Box Food says:

    I know how challenging breaking “kid food” habits can be, and the philosophy over at is to make fresh and healthier versions of these foods as we work to introduce our kids to a wider variety of Real Food. Though of course the ideal would be to never head down that “kid food” path, for those of us faced with breaking these habits, my opinion is that a homemade chicken nugget made with fresh organic chicken, trumps a dinosaur shaped frozen nugget made with ingredients we can’t pronounce. It’s a start. Then we can begin to get our kids involved in the kitchen, preparing fresh foods, and ultimately teach them to truly love Real Food.

  9. Emily says:

    Thanks Danielle for your time in posting your ideas. Although, I may or may not use any of your suggestions, I appreciate your time and ideas. I am stunned that women would bash you for your suggestions. Take them or leave them but if you don’t have anything nice to say…

  10. Tara Fays says:

    I appreciate what you’re trying to do here, but suggesting things we already know toddlers will eat( ie junkfood) or adding chocolate syrup to breakfast isn’t the way to get a picky eater to try new things or consume enough calories.

    first, toddlers who eat very little are either not hungry or on a power trip. if they aren’t hungry we don’t want to teach them to eat anyway and if they are on a power trip we don’t want them learning they can manipulate their parents or be in charge of what they do… they aren’t mature enough to decide these things…

    second, the real solution is to be firm but kind… offer them a variety of HEALTHY foods, that are appealing in color and texture, PBJ sushi is cute, but the kid cant live off pbj in any form, mac and cheese and chicken nuggets.

    if he or she wont eat, let them go hungry a little bit. they wont starve, and when they are REALLY hungry, they will ACTUALLY eat what you give them.

  11. Julie says:

    wow I see a lot of people bashing you on here… First off I have a picky 1 yr old.. he will not touch anything unless forced.. his favorite food is chicken.. today. Tomorrow it may be something completely different. Hes not a huge fan of veggies but we are working on that.. however I must point out that he WILL come much closer to eating if he feels like he “helped” make it. He loves to help stir and has started helping set the table. Ive also learned he will drink more than eat if I dont watch him. I dont see anything wrong with these recipes and as some have said.. not an all the time thing but I can sympathize with you on worrying if they are hungry… yet they are too picky to eat anything. As for hotdogs being a choking hazard… from experience.. so is chicken, corn, green beans, french fries, beans/peas.. basically anything they put in their mouths.. but thanks for the new recipes.. itll give a different twist to things we already make :)

  12. Rachel says:

    Wow, all the negativity from people is making me irritated. Of course all kids should be fed veggies and fruit. I would hope all these nit pickers would understand that if you base your child’s entire meal plan off of one blog its not going to be suffice! And I never copy ideas exactly, I always fit them to whats best for my children. I guess these people are looking for someone to tell them how to live. Anyway, my children are such picky eaters that any ideas are appreciated. Thanks you for ideas!

  13. April says:

    Why doesn’t everyone stop being complainers and come up with your own “healthy” menus. She’s simply trying to show fun ideas for food. Your kids are OBVIOUSLY picky NOW @ “my toddler turns his nose up to veggies” My kids have always eaten their veggies and fruits and the ONLY thing that works for that is, not letting them get up from the table until they at least try it!! Common sense.

  14. Christy McGee says:

    You all are exceptionally rude on here!! I have a 17 month old and think that these are super cute ideas. I am a stickler about him getting full balanced meals, but these are cute for the occasional snack.
    If you don’t like them, you should write your own blog and give your version of the perfect meal!!!
    People these days… sheesh!

  15. April says:

    I may not make all of the recipes as they are listed, but they are fabulous ideas. Instead of complaining about them, try changing them up a bit to make them more nutritious for your family. I made something similar to the mini pizzas for dinner the other night. Use whole grain to make the crust, homemade pizza sauce (vegetables there with using fresh tomatoes), lean chicken, beef, or sausage, green peppers, and low-fat cheese. Then add a salad or carrot sticks as a side dish, or possibly a fruit salad. It’s up to you to make your kids’ meals healthy. Don’t disregard these ideas simply because they appear to be nothing more than the “typical” kids’ diet. Homemade chicken nuggets are a much healthier alternative to purchasing chicken nuggets at the store, and cost less too!

  16. TJ says:

    Very, very, very, rude people posting on this blog. Are you all my neighbors? A bunch of holier than thou know it all and everything better than everyone else? I thought so. You have several of choices: Ignore this blog. Write your own. Get a life. Go to hell. Jeez!!!

  17. C says:

    I love the chicken pot pie cupcake idea. It has chicken and VEGGIES (to those accusing the blog of veggieless entrees) and it’s in an easy to eat format since most toddlers are not experts with utensils (I know mine isn’t) and it makes for a less messy meal which is nice once in a while since my girl practically needs a shower every meal. I love the corndog one too. Way better than the processed ones. (Yes, I feed my toddler hot dogs. Not every day but she has had several. Hasn’t choked, and she is not even chubby). And the chicken nuggets homemade are so much better than the store bought. I don’t see how any of these are promoting an unhealthy lifestyle, and you can adapt the recipes pretty easily. Some great ideas here :)

  18. Jessica says:

    Geez some of you people are a little bit testy and a little bit nasty. My daughter is such a picky eater that I am going to try these recipes (sans the corn dogs) and I am going to sneak veggies in them. I think the pizza muffins would be great to sneak veggies into. Also the mac and cheese. The Mini deep dish pizzas i could sneak carrots and zuccini into the sauce. Awesome. I am also going to try the homemade spaghettios and sneak veggies into that sauce as well. Thanks for the tips

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