Coming up with healthy toddler meal ideas after a long day—whether you work, stay home, or do some mix or in between—is a challenge. It’s often the time of the day when they need our attention most, yet they also need to eat. (Did someone say hangry?) These quick toddler meal ideas are quick, easy, and nourishing so that you can get the food onto the table fast. 

4 toddler meals in grid with snack plate and quesadillas

Healthy Kids Food

I hope that these ideas provide inspiration on those busy nights when you’re scrambling to serve up something healthy. And that they give you permission to take shortcuts in the kitchen whenever you need to. Because feeding our toddlers is hard work, and it’s 100% okay to make it easy on yourself when needed!

Planning Toddler Meal Ideas, Step-by-Step

  1. Consider your child’s eating abilities and preferences and adjust as needed. If she’s not using a spoon with any accuracy, let her use her hands! If he prefers his meals deconstructed rather than mixed together, serve the food that way. It’s okay to be flexible!
  2. Balance what you offer by including a protein (meat, dairy, nuts, or beans), a complex carb (like a whole grain or a whole grain bread product), fruit, veggies, and some healthy fat. This will help ensure your toddler is exposed to a variety of nutrients and textures.
  3. Vary the protein to make them vegetarian or vegan as needed. Sub in gluten-free or dairy-free substitutes if there’s an intolerance in your house.
  4. Adjust the produce based on what’s fresh at your store and what your kids like. 
  5. Keep it simple! Serving toddler meals does not have to be complicated and little kids often enjoy foods that are very simple and straight forward.

toddler meal idea quick chicken tacos on pink plate

Toddler Meal Ideas #1: Chicken and Corn Tacos

Rotisserie chicken + thawed frozen corn + tortilla + salsa
Warm all ingredients except the salsa in the microwave for 15-30 seconds. Serve with salsa for dipping. (Trade in cocktail shrimp or beans for a vegetarian option.) 

Easy Meal Idea #2: Quick Pasta and Peas

Star or alphabet pasta + peas + butter + Parmesan
Cook pasta according to package, adding frozen peas to the pot during the last 1-2 minutes of cooking. Serve with butter and cheese. You can also do couscous, quinoa, or rice instead of the pasta.

english muffin pizza with clementine

Toddler Meal Idea #3: Quick Pizzas

Whole-wheat pita bread (or tortillas or English muffins) + pizza sauce + shredded cheese
Cut pita into wedges and top with pizza sauce and cheese. Heat in the oven at 325 F or in a pan on the stovetop just until cheese is melted.

Kids Meal Idea #4: Cucumber Hummus Wrap

Tortilla + hummus + thinly sliced cucumber
Spread hummus and cucumber on tortilla and roll up or fold. Slice in half to serve. (Flour or multigrain tortillas tend to be softer than corn, which can be helpful for younger eaters.) You can also serve this deconstructed for younger eaters.

toddler meal idea cheesy veggie toast with bell peppers on pink plate

Easy Meal Idea #5: Cheesy Veggie Toast

Toast + shredded cheese + thawed frozen veggies

Top toast with shredded cheese, thawed frozen peas, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, or corn, and microwave for 10 seconds to melt. You could also simply serve the veggies alongside cheesy toast too!

Kids Meal Idea #6: Quick Yogurt Parfait

Plain yogurt + leftover roasted squash or sweet potato + granola
Layer all ingredients in a small mason jar or bowl. Serve immediately. This also works with the yogurt and squash or sweet potato blended together—or with applesauce! (Use a favorite nondairy yogurt if needed.)

toddler meal idea pancakes for breakfast on glass plate with apple cubes

Easy Meal Idea #7: Apple Pancakes

Pancake mix + ½ cup grated (drained) apple + nut butter
Add the apple to your favorite pancake batter (add 1 teaspoon cinnamon if it doesn’t have any) and cook as directed. Serve smeared with nut butter or a little honey. Toddlers (and big kids) love breakfast for dinner!

easy marinara sauce with extra veggiesToddler Meal Idea #8: Pasta with Jarred Tomato Sauce

Mini shell pasta + jarred marinara sauce + parmesan 
Use your favorite pasta (or try Banza garbanzo bean pasta for extra iron) and a jarred tomato sauce like Rao’s for a simple and satisfying meal.

easy-fried-rice-with-cherriesKids Meal Idea #9: Shortcut Fried Rice

Fully cooked rice + frozen peas + scrambled eggs + soy sauce
Scramble an egg, stir in a ¼ cup peas and ¼ cup of rice and with a drizzle of reduced-sodium soy sauce. Add a fruit on the side like cut up cherries or melon.

Toddler Meal Idea #10: Fruit and Yogurt Dip

Low sugar vanilla yogurt (like from Siggis) + almond butter + sliced fruit and veg + graham crackers
Stir together nut butter and honey to make a dip. Serve with sliced apple or pear, squash or cucumbers, and graham crackers. We love this sort of breakfast-for-dinner as a super quick  toddler dinner!

cut up vegetarian quesadillas for kids on plateToddler Meal Idea #11: Bean and Cheese Quesadillas

Tortillas + cheese + beans
Add cheese and beans to one side of a tortilla. Warm in a skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes, fold the empty side of the tortilla over and press slightly. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes to finish. You can also warm this in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Add fruit on the side.

Kids Meal Idea #12: Veggie Grilled Cheese

Whole grain bread + cheese + roasted mashed sweet potato
Spread the sweet potato on on side of the bread. Add cheese to the other. Prepare normally for a comforting and veggie-packed sandwich. You can also try omitting the sweet potato and adding snipped spinach or kale instead. (Or even omitting the cheese and just using mashed sweet potato!)

silicone star mold with snacks including oranges and cheeseToddler Meal Idea #13: Deluxe Cheese and Crackers

Whole grain crackers or snap pea crisps + sliced cheese + assortment of sliced veggies and fruit + beans
Assemble a toddler-friendly snack plate that’s a simple assortment of the food groups. You can serve it on a regular plate or in a fun silicone muffin tin!

2-ingredient-spinach-pancakes-on-forkToddler Meal Idea #14: Easy Spinach Pancakes

Eggs + spinach + banana
Blend the ingredients together and pour into small pancakes. They’re so moist and sweet—and easy to make! Full recipe here.

cereal-in-teal-bowl-with-canned-fruitShortcut Meal #15: Cereal and Fruit

Cereal + milk + fruit
It took me a while to feel okay about serving cereal for dinner but now we do it regularly and the kids love it! And it’s nice for me too since it’s so easy. (Find my favorite kids cereals here.) P.S. We also love doing smoothies for dinner!

Easy Meal Idea #16: Mac and Cheese with Veggies

Boxed mac and cheese + broccoli or peas + side of fruit
Stir in a little frozen broccoli florets or peas to the pasta for the last minute or two of cooking of a favorite boxed mac and cheese. The kids are usually so excited about the mac and cheese that they’ll go ahead and eat the veggies too!

If you have other quick toddler meals ideas that is a favorite in your house, please add it below! I’d love to hear what your kids are loving these days!

shortcut toddler meals in grid of 6.

16 Shortcut Toddler Meal Ideas (Super Quick and Healthy!)

Use this list to help you make quick work of offering nutritious toddler meals. (Nutrition will vary based on specific ingredients you use.)
4.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 6 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dinner
Calories 163kcal
Servings 1

Ingredients

  • Chicken and Corn Tacos: ¼ cup rotisserie chicken + ¼ cup thawed frozen corn + 1-2 tortillas + salsa
  • Quick Pasta and Peas: 1 cup star or alphabet pasta + ¼ cup peas + 1 teaspoon butter + Parmesan
  • Cucumber Hummus Wrap: 1 tortilla + 2 tablespoons hummus + thinly sliced cucumber
  • Quick Pizzas: 1 whole-wheat pita bread or tortillas or English muffins + 2 tablespoons pizza sauce + ¼ cup shredded cheese
  • Cheesy Veggie Toast: 1 slice whole grain bread + ¼ cup shredded cheese + 2 tablespoons thawed frozen veggies
  • Quick Yogurt Parfait: ½ cup plain yogurt + ¼ cup leftover roasted squash or sweet potato + ¼ cup granola
  • Pasta and Marinara: 1 cup cooked pasta + ¼ cup marinara sauce + parmesan
  • Apple Pancakes: 1 batch pancake mix + ½ cup grated drained apple + nut butter
  • Fruit and Yogurt Dip: ¼ cup plain or vanilla yogurt + 1 tablespoon almond butter + sliced fruit and veg + graham crackers
  • Shortcut Fried Rice: ½ cup fully cooked rice + 2 tablespoons frozen peas + 1 scrambled egg + 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • Bean and Cheese Quesadillas: 1 tortilla + ¼ cup cheese+ ¼ cup beans + salsa
  • Deluxe Cheese and Crackers: Whole grain crackers or snap pea crisps + sliced cheese + assortment of sliced veggies and fruit + beans
  • Spinach Banana Pancakes: ¼ cup mashed ripe banana + 1 egg + ½ cup baby spinach
  • Veggie Grilled Cheese: 2 slices whole grain bread + ¼ cup cheese + 2 tablespoons roasted mashed sweet potato
  • Cereal: ½ cup low sugar cereal + ½ cup milk + ½ cup fruit
  • Mac and Cheese with Veggies: Boxed mac and cheese + 1 cup broccoli or peas + side of fruit

Instructions

  • Chicken and Corn Tacos: Warm all ingredients except the salsa in the microwave for 15-30 seconds. Serve with salsa for dipping. (Trade in cocktail shrimp or beans for a vegetarian option.) 
  • Quick Pasta and Peas: Cook pasta according to package, adding frozen peas to the pot during the last 1-2 minutes of cooking. Serve with butter and cheese. You can also do couscous, quinoa, or rice instead of the pasta.
  • Cucumber Hummus Wrap: Spread hummus and cucumber on tortilla and roll up or fold. Slice in half to serve. (Flour or multigrain tortillas tend to be softer than corn, which can be helpful for younger eaters.) You can also serve this deconstructed for younger eaters.
  • Quick Pizzas: Cut pita into wedges and top with pizza sauce and cheese. Heat in the oven at 325 F or in a pan on the stovetop just until cheese is melted.
  • Cheesy Veggie Toast: Top toast with shredded cheese, thawed frozen peas, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, or corn, and microwave for 10 seconds to melt. You could also simply serve the veggies alongside cheesy toast too!
  • Quick Yogurt Parfait: Layer all ingredients in a small mason jar or bowl. Serve immediately. This also works with the yogurt and squash or sweet potato blended together—or with applesauce! (Use a favorite nondairy yogurt if needed.)
  • Pasta with Marinara: Toss just cooked pasta with a little warmed marinara and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Stir to combine.
  • Apple Pancakes: Add the apple to your favorite pancake batter (add 1 teaspoon cinnamon if it doesn’t have any) and cook as directed. Serve smeared with nut butter or a little honey. Toddlers (and big kids) love breakfast for dinner!
  • Fruit and Yogurt Dip: Stir together nut butter and honey to make a dip. Serve with sliced apple or pear, squash or cucumbers, and graham crackers. We love this sort of breakfast-for-dinner as a super quick toddler dinner!
  • Shortcut Fried Rice: Scramble an egg, stir in a ¼ cup peas and ¼ cup of rice and with a drizzle of reduced-sodium soy sauce. Add a fruit on the side like cut up cherries or melon.
  • Bean and Cheese Quesadillas: Add cheese and beans to one side of a tortilla. Warm in a skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes, fold the empty side of the tortilla over and press slightly. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes to finish. You can also warm this in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Add fruit on the side.
  • Deluxe Cheese and Crackers: Assemble a toddler-friendly snack plate that’s a simple assortment of the food groups. You can serve it on a regular plate or in a fun silicone muffin tin!
  • Veggie Grilled Cheese: Spread the sweet potato on on side of the bread. Add cheese to the other. Prepare normally for a comforting and veggie-packed sandwich. You can also try omitting the sweet potato and adding snipped spinach or kale instead. (Or even omitting the cheese and just using mashed sweet potato!)
  • Cereal dinner: Serve favorite cereal with milk or separate with cereal dry and milk in a cup with a side of fruit.
  • Spinach Banana Pancakes: Place the banana (or sweet potato) and egg into a blender. Add a handful of lightly packed baby spinach. Blend well, cook as small pancakes in a greased nonstick skillet over medium heat. (Full recipe here.)
  • Mac and Cheese with Veggies: Stir in a little frozen broccoli florets or peas to the pasta for the last minute or two of cooking of a favorite boxed mac and cheese. The kids are usually so excited about the mac and cheese that they’ll go ahead and eat the veggies too!

Notes

  • Add a simple side of fruit as needed.
  • Serve with water or milk.
  • Adjust the serving size and size of food pieces offered to fit the needs of your child.

Nutrition

Calories: 163kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 24mg, Sodium: 251mg, Potassium: 274mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 289IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 43mg, Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Gosh I love your content. It’s so pragmatic and actually helpful for a tired mom of a 2 and 4 year old :). So many toddler feeding resources are ridiculous and unrealistic and make us feel like we’re failing by feeding our kids a pb&j with grapes for supper when there is nothing wrong with that!!

  2. 5 stars
    I was googling easy recipes for my toddler to eat after I get off work and this is this best list I’ve seen! Easy, simple, and things that my daughter can help me make too. Thank you!

  3. 5 stars

    My 2 year old likes shredded chicken mixed with hummus or guacamole. Add veggie fingers (thinly sliced raw veggies) or frozen peas on the side with fruit as dessert and you have a meal. She’ll eat pretty much anything if she has a dipping sauce: steak sauce, bbq sauce, salad dressing… It all works.

  4. My 3yr old doesn’t like meat, and I’ve been looking for meal ideas. This is awesome, it is all food she’ll enjoy. Thank you!!

  5. Great post! I love the sectioned plate!

    I looked through your "Mealtime Gear" post, but didn’t see it included.

    Do you happen to know what brand it is?

  6. My latest go-to for my daughter is a piece of toast + finely diced leftover chicken (small enough for some in each bite) + a deli-sized slice of cheese + microwaved together for 15 seconds. The cheese holds on to the chicken and makes it sort of like an open-faced melt. Since my daughter needs a little extra fat, I sometimes butter the toast before adding the chicken and cheese. It’s always a winner!