Making healthy and quick toddler meals 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 Healthy Shortcut Toddler Meals are quick, easy, and nourishing meal ideas that you can get onto the table fast. Because yummy toddler meals are often best when kept simple and uncomplicated!
Adjust these quick toddler meals for your child’s eating abilities and preferences. Consider them perfect meals for picky toddlers because they are so easy to adjust and deconstruct as needed. You can vary the protein to make them vegetarian or vegan, and change up ingredients as needed for food allergies. Most of all, I hope that these ideas provide inspiration on those busy nights and give you permission to take shortcuts in the kitchen whenever you need to!
15 Healthy Shortcut Toddler Meals
1. Deluxe Cheese and Crackers
Whole grain crackers + sliced cheese + assortment of sliced veggies + thinly sliced salami
Assemble a toddler-friendly cheese plate (or make little cracker and cheese sandwiches) and serve with favorite raw or lightly steamed veggies and salami.
2. Quick Pasta and Peas
Pastina (or couscous or rice) + peas + butter + Parmesan
Cook pastina according to package, adding frozen peas to the pot during the last 1-2 minutes of cooking. Serve with butter and cheese.
3. 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.)
4. Quick Toddler 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.
5. Cheesy Pea Toast
Toast + shredded cheese + thawed peas
Cube toast, top with shredded cheese and microwave for 10 seconds to melt. Top each bite with a pea. (Frozen peas can be thawed quickly in a bowl of very hot water. Drain before using.) You could also simply serve the peas alongside cheesy toast.
6. Quick Yogurt Parfait
Plain yogurt + leftover roasted squash or applesauce + granola
Layer all ingredients in a small mason jar or bowl. Serve immediately. This also works with some of a favorite toddler cereal on top.
7. Chicken and Corn Tacos
Rotisserie chicken + thawed frozen corn + tortilla + salsa
Warm all ingredients except the salsa in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Serve with salsa on top or for dipping.
8. Apple Pancakes
Pancake mix + 1/2 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!
9. Veggie Grilled Cheese
Whole grain bread + butter + cheese + mashed roasted butternut squash or sweet potato
Spread the mashed squash or sweet potato on on side of the bread. Add cheese to the other. Prepare normally for a comforting and veggie-packed sandwich.
10. Tomato and Goat Cheese Shell Pasta
Mini shell pasta + halved cherry tomatoes + herbed goat cheese + parmesan + butter
Toss just cooked pasta with halved cherry tomatoes, a dollop of herbed goat cheese, a pat of butter, and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Stir to combine.
11. Vanilla Almond Butter 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.
12. Broccoli and Pea Soup
Frozen broccoli + frozen peas + potato + broth + Parmesan
Get the full (but quick) recipe here. It's also good for dipping bread slices or crackers, or using as a nutritious pasta sauce.
13. Cheesy Scrambled Eggs and Peas
Eggs + frozen peas + shredded cheddar cheese + toast
Scramble eggs, adding in the peas and cheese when the eggs are almost set. Serve with toast for a quick toddler meal.
14. Black Bean Sheet Pan Quesadillas
Black beans + cheese + tortillas + salsa
Sprinkle beans and cheese over tortillas on a sheet pan. Top with a little cumin and chili powder. Top with a second tortilla and warm in a 375 degree F oven for about 8-10 minutes. Serve with salsa and/or sour cream. Even picky toddlers will find something they love here!
15. Annie's Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese + broccoli or peas + side of fruit
Stir in a little frozen broccoli or peas to the pasta for the last minute or two of cooking and serve the healthy mac and cheese with a simple side of fruit. It's almost guaranteed to please your toddlers!
Plates by Re-play Recycled
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