There have been a few nights lately when I’ve just had no motivation to cook. And I’m quite sure that I’m not the only one who’s ever felt that way! So whether it’s your busy schedule, warm weather, or just the general business of parenting, here are 50 ideas for 50 easy toddler meals (with very little cooking) for those nights that you don’t want to do any “real” cooking. They’re some of my favorite quick dinner ideas for kids!

easy toddler meals grid with mac and cheese, sandwich and quesadills

Easy Toddler Meals

I polled my amazing Instagram community for ideas, I added a few of my own, and I would love to hear additional ones from you! Because the more we share our tips and tricks with each other, the easier all of this feeding the kids business gets for all of us.

Healthy Kids Food Ideas

This list is meant to give you a few new ideas for meals you can pull together in minutes. Each is healthy in essence and can be adjusted and customized for your own kids. I love to take the opportunity on busy nights to make quick dinners for kids that are simple and easy. And most of the time the kids appreciate that!

Quick Dinner Ideas for Kids

Of course, everyone’s idea of “easy” and “cooking” is different, so there’s a range here. Some of these toddler dinners do require cooking and some are assembly only (and others rely on leftovers being stored away in the freezer), but all are relatively straight forward. Keep this list on hand for those nights when you need to make family dinner, but you want to make your life a little easier.

50 Easy Toddler Meals (With Little Cooking)

  1. Nut butter and jelly sandwiches
  2. Cheese quesadillas (maybe add a little snipped spinach!)
  3. Butter and cheese pasta
  4. Tacos with beans, cheese, and/or salsa
  5. Meatballs (pulled from the freezer), sliced cucumbers
  6. Toddler cheese plates with cheese, crackers, fruit, and fresh veggies
  7. Fruit, veggies, and bread
  8. Take out!
  9. Pancakes (from the freezer) or 2-Ingredient Pancakes
  10. Canned soup (like Annie’s Lentil Soup)
  11. Pouches (clearly this one only works for toddlers!)
  12. 15-Minute Lo Mein
  13. Pasta with jarred sauce
  14. Pasta with peas and olive oil
  15. Burrito Bowls with rice and beans
  16. Rotisserie chicken tacos or Fish Stick Tacos
  17. Grain bowls with beans, rice, avocado, mango, and salsa
  18. Quinoa with Peas
  19. Avocado toast and quick scrambled eggs
  20. Ham fried rice
  21. Cheese and salami and fruit
  22. Cheese and/or deli meat sandwiches or wraps
  23. Yogurt, granola, and berries
  24. Breakfast burritos
  25. Snack plates with hummus, fruit, veggies, and cheese
  26. Flatbread Pizza
  27. Quesadilla pizza
  28. English muffin pizza
  29. Oatmeal with berries or dried fruit
  30. Sheet Pan Chicken
  31. Cereal
  32. Muffins with cream cheese or nut butter and fruit
  33. Burgers
  34. Snacky muffin tin meals
  35. Tortellini (with a favorite jarred sauce)
  36. Scrambled eggs with toast
  37. Pasta Salad
  38. Pesto Pasta
  39. Boxed mac and cheese (with peas or broccoli or just plain)
  40. Poached chicken with bbq sauce
  41. Chicken simmered in jarred tomato sauce with toast
  42. Chocolate Chip Oat Bars
  43. Chocolate chip pancakes (with a handful of shredded zucchini perhaps!), or any other pancakes
  44. Tortilla roll ups with banana and nut butter
  45. Tortilla roll ups with deli meat and cheese
  46. One Pot Meat Spaghetti
  47. Black beans or pinto beans with salsa and whole grain crackers
  48. Cottage cheese, granola, fruit
  49. Toddler trail mix (dry cereal, dried fruit, softer nuts like cashews) and milk
  50. Smoothies

I’d love to hear your go-to easy meals, so chime in below in the comments!

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Comments

  1. One staple in our household is Dr. Prager’s California Veggie burgers- toasted, cut into bites. My picky 2 year old loves them, and they are full of veggies and protein.

  2. Thank you for this list! Very timely in my household! Some of these are already in regular rotation, as I find what my 3 year old will eat. Thanks for all you do, I am GRATEFUL! Peace to you and your family in the new year.

  3. Thank you for this list! Just the kind of stuff I have time for with a newborn and a toddler who doesn’t like meat. All the other ideas I keep finding look like gourmet meals! Not practical for this household:)

    1. Without any context as to the type of pasta, what else is in the meal, what other foods are offered and eaten in a week, what other foods a child will eat, to categorically say that “pasta is not healthy” is categorically false and is simply a lie straight out of diet culture. We all get to make choices for our families and if there’s a food you don’t want to serve for any one reason or another, that is always of course fine. But shaming or degrading an entire category of food isn’t helpful to anyone.

    2. Of all the things on that list, including “Take out” and “Nut butter and jelly” etc, you single out Pasta as being unhealthy?? Right…..

  4. Try Kroger’s frozen beef or cheese ravioli. My son loves these and eats them with his hands, no sauce needed! They are really good.
    Sometimes I’ll even break a small hole in the ravioli and gently smush a green food into it like spinach.

    Another favorite…a bowl of no sugar added applesauce with frozen berries on top (partially thawed)

    And whipped cream…we use it a lot! In small amounts it’s low in sugar and once we put whipped cream on something he almost always eats it.

    mini quiche bites, Jimmy Dean Delights for breakfast, veggie pizza (cover veggies with extra cheese if needed)

    String small bites of whatever onto a kabob. This interests some toddlers enough to pull the food off and eat it. Just supervise so there’s no eye pokes.

  5. Hi, I have a very picky almost two-year-old and I’m struggling with coming up with meal ideas. Unfortunately I’m not very creative in the kitchen, and I’ve tried several things to get him to try new things, but it is still a big struggle. I’d love to hear ideas of what to try. He’s not a fan of pasta, so a lot of things have been a no go for him.

  6. I make savoury quinoa muffins: 1 cup of cooked quinoa to 1 egg as a basic ratio and mix in whatever you like: ham and cheese/ buffalo chicken/ taco meat/ spinach and tomato are some of our faves. Press the mixture into silicone muffin cups and bake 20 minutes at 350. My twins girls gobble them up and you can customize flavours for any meal. You can add panko breadcrumbs for a bit of crunch I’d preferred.

    1. Thanks for sharing Lynsey! I made these last night for my 15 month old. He sorta liked them which is a win in my book! I added chopped carrots, spinach and bacon.

  7. Add a cup of ground up carrots to spaghetti sauce. It disappears in the sauce, adds a little sweet to the sauce, and adds one more serving of veggies to the day.

  8. Thank you for all those great ideas, which are really practical! I love how you strive for reasonable healthy ideas without being dogmatic, and how you combine convenience products and “shortcuts” with fresh fruit and veg to allow for quick meals which are not hideously high in salt and sugar.
    Sugar-free spelt-and-date-syrup-homemafe waffles with rice flour crusts are great, but I think I speak for many patents when I say we also need the “quick fix” options. So thanks for providing those!

  9. Cauliflower crust is great for picky toddlers! Load them up with more veggies and protein or keep it simple with sauce and cheese. Simple, quick healthy alternative to reg pizza 🙂

  10. What would you suggest for a toddler who only wants to eat mixed fresh fruits (mostly just blueberries, blackberries and strawberries) and sometimes plain rice, sometimes pizza with only cheese and sauce and fries with tomato sauce(ketchup)…I’ve read that too much fruit can be bad for tots so I’ve tried hiding veg and hasn’t really worked, he won’t even eat potato if it doesn’t look like fries. At one point he refused to eat anything but ice cream so I found a recipe for chocolate mousse made with avocado, coconut cream and honey, he still enjoys that and when I couldn’t get him to eat I used to just tell him it’s ice cream. We’ve also tried making him fruit smoothies and that’s worked too but I’ve tried adding veggies and anything but adding carrots “tastes yukkie”. I’ve even tried healthy versions of pizza and he just picks off all the toppings, eats the cheese separately and the base. We’re trying granola with a kids groundup superfood nutrients mix and yoghurt in the mornings just so we can be sure he’s getting all the nutrients he needs, the yogurts quite sweet so at least for now he thinks it’s just a sweet treat but I’m dreading the day he decides he no longer wants to eat that. Seriously hoping he grows out of this phase soon.

    1. I would recommend reading about the feeding approach known as Division of Responsibility and to try to stress less about keeping track of bites. Fruit and veggies are both good for kids, so I wouldn’t worry so much about pushing veggies. Most kids get the nutrients they need if you zoom out a bit and look at the bigger picture of what they eat over the course of the week versus each meal.

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