WE EAT | Toddler Meal Ideas

At one years old the girls started eating regular meal times- three meals and three snacks a day.  Like every new parent, I was super concerned whether or not the girls ate enough at a meal or throughout the course of a day.

Daily servings for toddlers
  • Fruit 3-4 servings a day: fruit- 1/2 to 1 small fruit, 2 to 4 tbsp canned fruit
  • Vegetables- 3 servings a day: 2 to 3 tbsp cooked vegetables
  • Dairy- 4 to 5 servings a day: dairy- 1/2 cup milk (whole milk for 2 years or younger) per serving or 1/2 cup yogurt
  • Protein- 2 servings a day: 1 to 2 oz meat, 1 egg per serving, or 4 to 5 tbsp cooked legumes
  • Grain products- 3 to 4 servings a day: 1/2 to 1 slice of whole grain bread; 1/4 to 1/2 cups rice or pasta, preferably whole grain like brown rice, whole wheat pasta or quinoa pasta, or 1/2 cup to 1 cup dry low sugar cereal, 1/4 to 1/2 bagel, 1/2 to 1 whole wheat or corn tortilla
Children catch on fast and they know when to cry, whine or charm their way into a certain food selection. Parker is notorious for this.  If ever its a mealtime when they are trying something new and it isn’t up to her expectations, (this is my life..) she gets pretty upset and refuses to eat.  Jolie is typically less picky and will try everything.  Once Parker sees her sister eating, she will often try several bites before deciding she’s done.  I do my very best to offer well-balanced and nutritious meals and healthy snacks- and the occasional convenience mixed in here and there- letting the my girls eat or not eat the amount of the food offered. Children often need to be exposed to the same food many times (10-20 times) before it is accepted.  Reinforcing the importance of regular meal times and healthy food choices help to mold good eating habits formed early in life.
I have found that meal planning for the girls, just as I do for Jordan and I, has been incredibly helpful in forming my grocery list and planning and preparing meals ahead of time when I can.  It also provides a no-brainer explanation when it comes to feeding the girls when I am not home with them or we happen to be out and about.  
A typical meal plan for Parker and Jolie at 15 months (has been the same since 12 months) 

Breakfast (7:30-8am): mini waffles with peanut butter (4 mini waffles, 1 tablespoons peanut butter), 1/2 slices banana, 1/2 cup organic whole milk 

Snack (9:30am): 1/2 cup whole milk Greek yogurt or fruit pouch 

Lunch (12-12:30pm): 1.5 ounces diced deli turkey, whole milk mozzarella string cheese, sliced grapes or strawberries OR 2 tablespoons guacamole spread on whole wheat pita bread, mandarin oranges 

Snack (2:30pm): whole grain goldfish, fruit pouch, multi-grain Cheerios, graham bunnies (Annie’s), veggie stix 

Optional Snack (5pm): apple slices, multi-grain Cheerios, veggie stix 

Dinner (6pm): turkey meatballs, cheesy broccoli OR scrambled eggs with cheese and turkey dogs OR baked chicken nuggets, baked sweet potato fries, steamed carrots with a little butter OR whole wheat pasta, red sauce, and chicken or turkey sausage OR whatever we are eating that night (casserole, etc.)

The things on this ‘toddler menu’ is usually on repeat in some sort of fashion every single week.  For the most part the girls eat the same breakfast on most mornings.  They love the mini waffles and peanut butter.  Would probably eat them every meal if I let them.
Toddler Breakfast Meal Ideas:
  • Mini waffles with peanut butter and sliced banana
  • Whole cooked oats mixed with whole milk yogurt and a little brown sugar, blueberries/strawberries.
  • Mini Banana Pancake Muffins (recipe here)
  • Whole cooked oats mixed with mashed banana, and a dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 English muffin, 2 teaspoons peanut butter, sliced berries
  • Scrambled eggs with spinach and cream cheese (1 whole egg, 1 tablespoon cream cheese, 2 tablespoons chopped organic baby spinach), whole grain toast with strawberry jam
  • Cheesy Scrambled Eggs (1 whole egg, 1 tablespoons whole milk shredded cheddar), 1/2 cup organic whole milk yogurt.
  • Mini Omelet Cups (I make these in bulk and freeze them for later use)- 8 whole eggs, 1/2 cup whole milk, shredded cheese, veggies and meats of choice.  Bake @ 350 degree in a mini muffin tin for 25 minutes.  
  • 1/4 cup Cheerios (we do the multi grain), 1/4 cup diced melon (cantaloupe), 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
  • Fruity cream-cheese pinwheels (Spread low-fat cream cheese on a small whole-grain tortilla. Top with sliced fruit. Roll up the tortilla, and then slice into “pinwheels.”)
Smoothies (makes 2 (8-ounce) smoothies)
  • Morning Glory Smoothie ( 6 organic baby carrots, 1/4 c 100% pear juice (such as Gerber brand), 1/2 c frozen pineapple, 2/3 c vanilla Greek yogurt, 1/4 c frozen mango)
  • Banana Split Smoothie (1 c frozen strawberries, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 c low fat chocolate milk, 2/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt)
  • Berry Berry Green Smoothie (1 c loosely packed organic baby spinach, 1 c frozen mixed berries, 1/2 c vanilla Greek yogurt, 1/2 c whole milk)
  • Life’s a Peach Smoothie (1/2 c frozen peaches, 1/2 c frozen strawberries, 2/3 c vanilla Greek yogurt, 4 fresh basil leaves)
  • Love A’cado Smoothie (1/4 ripe avocado, 1/2 cup organic baby spinach, 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries, 1/2 c frozen mangos) 
Toddler Lunch/Dinner Meal Ideas:
  • Alfredo Veggie Pasta (frozen mixed veggies (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans), whole wheat tube pasta & homemade Alfredo sauce- recipe here) with mandarin oranges (canned in juice)
  • Baked chicken nuggets (all white meat), 1/2 cup chopped broccoli with American cheese, strawberry slices
  • Guacamole (recipe here) on whole wheat pita bread, sliced green grapes
  • Baked fish sticks, 1/4 cup steamed butternut squash, 1/4 cup chopped broccoli
  • Grilled cheese (American 2% cheese slices, whole grain white bread), Veggie Stix, peaches (canned in 100% juice)
  • Creamy Tomato & Sausage Tortellini (recipe here), 1/2 c sliced pears (canned in light syrup)
  • PB&J on whole grain white bread, sliced apple sticks (no skin), 1 cutie orange
  • Beef Stew (recipe here), whole wheat egg noodles, cinnamon applesauce pouch
  • Turkey Dogs and Cheesy Cheddar Scramble, 1/2 c sliced peaches (canned in juice)
  • Deli turkey meat (Boar’s Head), cheesy broccoli rice (Green Giant steamer bag), mango applesauce
  • Mexican Egg & Refried Bean Tostadas (3 whole eggs, splash of whole milk, diced tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers- spread fat free refried beans on a corn tostada, top with egg mixture and serve with cheese and plain Greek yogurt), sliced green grapes
  • Veggie Burger (brown rice), sweet potato hummus (blend together: baked sweet potato, skins removed, 2 tablespoons tahini paste, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/4 tsp kosher salt), 1/2 c blackberries
  • Cheese Broccoli Quinoa (recipe here) with rotisserie chicken (white meat), 1/4 cup steamed carrots, apple sticks
  • Turkey Meatballs (recipe here), cheesy veggies (Green Giant steamer bag), fresh mango slices
  • 2 ounces deli turkey or ham (Boar’s Head),  5 whole grain crackers, whole milk mozzarella string cheese
  • Turkey Sausage Alfredo Pasta (homemade Alfredo sauce- recipe here– lean turkey or chicken sausage, whole grain/wheat tube pasta),  steamed broccoli, sliced grapes
  • Mini Egg Frittatas with deli ham and hash browns (recipe here)
  • 2 oz Deli turkey, 1 oz sharp cheddar cheese cubes, 1/2 c mandarin oranges (canned in juice), 1/4 c steamed peas
  • 1/4 baked sweet potato, 1/4 c shredded rotisserie chicken, 1/4 c melon
  • Bean burger (recipe here), 1/4 c cubed avocado, 1/4 c blueberries, 1/4 c sliced strawberries
  • 1 sliced hard boiled egg, fresh veggie sticks (zucchini, squash, carrots), 1 half whole grain English Muffin
  • Curly whole wheat noodles with peas & zucchini in marinara sauce sprinkled with mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1 cutie orange 
  • Greek Cous Cous (grape tomatoes, chopped, skins removed cucumber, feta cheese, sea salt an olive oil), applesauce pouch
  • Veggie Quesadillas (white tortilla, cooked sweet peppers, onions, tomatoes, shredded monterey jack cheese- grilled or sautéed until cheese is melty), plain Greek yogurt for dipping, 1/2 c cantaloupe
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza (recipe here), 1/2 sliced strawberries
  • 2 oz Grilled chicken breast, 1/2 c baked sweet potato fries, 1/2 c steamed broccoli with American cheese
  • Mexican Turkey Bowl (1/2 c cooked ground turkey, 1/4 cup black beans (rinsed), 2 tablespoons diced fresh tomatoes, 2 tablespoons diced sweet bell peppers), 1/4 c sliced grapes, 1/4 c blueberries
  • Mini Meatloaf (recipe here)- make and freeze leftovers, mashed potatoes (boiled red potatoes-skins on-, buttermilk, salt, pepper), steamed broccoli
  • Turkey & Veggie Sloppy Joe (recipe here), 1/2 cup strawberry honey Greek yogurt
  • Broccoli, Chicken & Rice Bowl (1/4 cup brown rice, 1/4 cup chopped steamed broccoli, 2 ounces rotisserie chicken, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese), applesauce pouch
  • Ham & Cheese Muffins (recipe here) 1/2 c mandarin oranges
  • Pizza Minis (whole wheat pita bread, marinara sauce and shredded cheese) with veggie toppings
  • Hummus Pinwheels (recipe here), sliced green grapes
  • Chicken, Bean, and Cheese Quesadillas (recipe here) with 1/4 cup steamed corn & sliced peaches
There is my toddler meal planning list to start. This list will grow and I will surely update (because I like to look back and while I’m meal planning myself!) I make my meal plan a week ahead of time so that developing my grocery list is super simple and quick.  I make my list from the meal plans (both the little birds and for the adults) and it allows me to manage my budget in such a way to keep it under control.  Going to the grocery store without a list is a terrible habit to allow myself to do.  I would spent $300 and come home with nothing.  We’ve all been there. 
Be productive, make a list, feel accomplished.
Good luck!  Feel free to email me with any questions you may have (click that ‘contact’ button at the top!)

Snacks are next!


February 28, 2014

  1. Paige says:

    Seriously, thank you so much for posting this! I have a one year old and I am always looking for new things to feed her! I feel like she eats the same thing all the time! I want her to start her off healthy so she isn't always running for fast food! Your family is precious!!! Thanks again! 🙂

  2. Paige says:

    Thanks so much for posting this! I have a one year old and I am constantly looking for new things to feed her! I want her to start off right so that she doesn't just go for fast food when she's older! 🙂 Your family is precious!! Thanks again!

  3. Amanda says:

    Love.this.post. What an awesome list! I too have a pickier eater – my son would LOVEEEE if I let him eat blueberries and veggie straws all day, every day and my daughter will try anything. Meal planning for my twinks consumes my life and I couldn't agree more to make a list!!

    Do you make your own sweet potato fries or do you buy them packaged and bake them? I want to try those!

  4. smash says:

    Hey Amber! I'm a Dallas area dietitian that has been loving your blog since I discovered it a few weeks ago – my daughter is a few months younger than P+J and I love the toddler meal ideas. I have to admit, since reading some of your food posts I feel tons better about using some convenience-type foods. Seeing that another dietitian gives her kids fish sticks too does a lot of the dietitian guilt, haha. Anyways, one thing that never even occurred to me was to use fruit cups – I'm glad I read this prior to my grocery trip this morning! Such a time saver. Anyways, I was wondering why you prefer the fruit in light syrup instead of the water-packed option. Is it because the fruit packed in water contains sucralose? I had a little internal debate in the grocery aisle, but eventually figured my daughter already gets some sucralose in her diet from the random crap my MIL feeds her at her house, and it's probably a negligible amount anyways…but I was curious to hear your take on it. Thanks!

  5. Becky says:

    Thank you for posting this! My oldest daughter had many feeding issues was tube fed for awhile. We missed out on the fun of meal planning and gave her whatever we could get her to eat to get calories in (read: not usually healthy things). Now that my youngest is 1 and eating more solid foods I am excited, yet clueless, about meal planning. Your post is so helpful! Thank you!

  6. So helpful, thanks for posting!

  7. MrsDurick says:

    Thank you for this!! We struggle with what to feed our 13 month twins every day! This is a great list!

  8. Wendy says:

    Thanks for writing this post. It has been very helpful!

  9. Lauren says:

    Such a great post! I have been on the struggle bus lately making meals for my 16 month old. I feel like I do the same things over and over again.
    Thank you for some new ideas!

  10. don't take this the wrong way…but i was really hoping (from the title of your blog) that you were a polygamist. i'm from idaho and with all the new polygamist shows on TLC…well…i'm fascinated. regardless…so glad i found your adorable blog…and your family is the absolute most beautiful! karli

  11. Love this! Thanks for the helpful tips. I'm a RD too with a 4mo old…just starting baby foods (pretty exciting), so I'm definitely going to look at this for a reference when she gets older.

  12. Amy Wiltse says:

    Love all the ideas!! What kind of chicken nuggets do you use?