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Toddler & Kid-Friendly Meals

Another topic requested by y’all — kid-friendly meals! Before I share some of our go-to meals for our kids, I have to make a few announcements/disclaimers:
1. Our kids go through waves of being good eaters and super picky. So while these are some of our favorite meals to make on the fly, just know there are periods in which my kids eat cereal for dinner… for like 5 days in a row.

2. I do not claim any of these meals as “balanced” or “healthy.” My goal is EASY. And if they eat it, that’s a bonus. Also, I’ve pretty much given up on vegetables at this point — unless they come hidden in a pouch or pasta noodles.

3. We rarely eat as a family…because sitting down to eat together is ummm, not really that enjoyable? So we sit with the kids while they eat their dinner and then I cook dinner for me and Matt after they’ve gone to bed. Sometimes I’ll use our dinner leftovers for their dinner the following night. But for now, eating one meal together at 6 pm just isn’t in the cards.

4. We are absolutely obsessed with these divided plates from Target! They are less than a dollar and come in a variety of colors (although we only have a stack of green plates to prevent arguments over who gets which colored plate).

Okay, a few meals we throw together for our picky toddlers on the nights we aren’t serving frozen pizza or Chick-fil-A…

Kiwi, Grapes, deli meat rolled up, cubed string cheese. We like to call this the “grocery samples dinner.” If played infrequently, the samples dinner is usually a success. Note: this dinner does not work without the toothpicks – not even close. And yes, Thomas has to be closely monitored with the toothpicks.

Shrimp poppers, cherry tomatoes and mac & cheese. Caroline hates tomatoes so she gets watermelon, which Thomas will then fight her for. Also, the shrimp poppers (found in the freezer section) are surprisingly delicious. I’ll usually bake extra for shrimp tacos for our dinner after the kids are in bed.

Hot dogs, french fries, watermelon and loads of ketchup.

Pork tenderloin, apples and broccoli. Only Caroline will eat the broccoli but hey, at least I tried. I love this dinner because the pork is a two-ingredient crock pot recipe — super easy and the whole family loves it!

Pasta, cheesy bread and blueberries. Buttered noodles are always a welcomed substitute when they are tired of pasta sauce. And I always use the hidden veggie noodles to make myself feel better about drowning the noodles in butter.

Grilled chicken, bananas, sweet potato fries and yogurt. One trick I picked up over the years of toddler meals is grabbing a pre-grilled chicken breast from the store on my way home from work. It’s SO easy, cheap and ready to eat.

Chicken nuggets + edamame + strawberries.

And now for my favorite meals to serve in a pinch…

Kid Cuisines. Also perfect for babysitter nights, Friday nights, “we’re tired” nights and well, any night really!

Lunchables. I go absolutely bonkers stocking up on these when they are on sale. I am totally “that mom” clearing the lunchables off the shelf. I am not ashamed of my lunchables addiction, not one bit. I love that these are portable meals I can easily throw in a lunch tote for the park, the pool, the car, etc. Easy, easy, easy.

For more food ideas from my lovely readers, check out my previous Toddler Meals post!

Now leave your favorite toddler meal in the comments below, pretty please!!!

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Monday 22nd of June 2020

Reading through your old parenting posts....thanks for this one! It's so easy to feel pressured to serve toddlers perfectly balanced meals when all they want is cheese and ketchup!

Caley-Jade Rosenberg

Monday 17th of July 2017

Love the post my friend - been meaning to do one for ages! it's sitting in my Drafts but to make this all at once? Haha x


Monday 17th of July 2017

Awesome. THANK YOU! I feel like I serve him turkey hot dogs and turkey meat balls SO much. But it's what he'll eat!! AHHHH!!!! Luckily, he also likes turkey kielbasa sausage. Annnnnnnd.....cereal.

Traci Hutton

Tuesday 11th of July 2017

Sweetballs. Mini turkey, beef or frozen meatballs in a sauce made from chili sauce and grape jelly. My boys are 7 & 12 and still ask for them once a week. Pretty yummy served over mashed potatoes or in a crockpot for a party. We love the popcorn shrimp too!

Julie @ Just the Joy's

Monday 10th of July 2017

These are great meal ideas! And I love those plates! For less than a buck, you can't beat that! One of my kids is allergic to almost everything so he can only eat fruits veggies and meats. So that makes meals for him really boring! My other child is super picky so that just adds a whole other level of complication to the mix! We do a lot of waffle + PB + flax seed or rice cakes + PB + flax seed for her!