Thursday, August 11, 2016

Meal Ideas for Toddlers

My daughter Scarlett is a very easy eater.  She likes practically everything I serve her, and that makes life so much easier.  It can be very challenging to figure out what to feed your child when they refuse things. Hopefully you have a child who likes to eat like I do.

As a parent, I'm always looking for new things to make Scarlett for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Since I don't have endless time to prepare meals with a 20 month old running around, my favorite things to make are quick and easy but still delicious.  Anything that I can make in volume is ideal, since it'll create leftovers that work for a meal for another day. Luckily since Scarlett has no food allergies or restrictions, everything is fair game. I always pair fruit or veggies with everything I make.  She's such a good eater that it makes cooking for her a pleasure. 

Here's some meal ideas that I've made in the past few weeks or months that will hopefully give you some food-spiration.  Happy cooking! 

Mini Turkey Pot Pies.  This combines cream of mushroom soup with chopped turkey, and peas and carrots.  Who wouldn't love the delicious crescent dough it's in too? It's so easy to whip up that you'll finding yourself wanting one too. You find the recipe here!  

Broccoli and Cheddar Bites.  If your child is a picky eater, this is a great way to get some veggies in by masking it with the taste of cheese!  The recipe is here

Ground chicken with peas and carrots.  This is a one bowl meal that combines delicious seasoned ground chicken with veggies.  Feel free to substitute with whatever veggie your child likes best.  My daughter goes nuts for peas and carrots, so that's our go-to. 

Homemade breaded chicken strips with mac and cheese and mixed veggies.  I take boneless skinless thin-sliced chicken breast and dip it in egg.  Then I take the egg mixture and toss it in Italian and garlic seasoned breadcrumbs and then cook it in a pan with a little oil.  It's crispy like a chicken nugget but without the deep-fried guilt.  My daughter loves them! The best part is that since the package of chicken is big, you'll have leftovers. 

Gnocchi with peas and carrots.  Gnocchi is one of my favorite types of pasta and I always order it when we go to Italian restaurants.  It's a fabulous potato filled pasta that is heavenly.  It's like eating a cloud! If your child likes a butter or garlic and oil sauce, do that instead.  I used marinara which is standard. 

Chicken and cheese quesadilla.  I make this at least once a week in my house.  I use grilled chicken strips since they're healthier than breaded.  You take two medium sized tortillas and put grilled chicken strips topped with lots of shredded cheddar cheese.  Put the remaining tortilla on top and cook in the oven on 350F for about 5 minutes.  You'll be presented with a crispy quesadilla that's like bringing a Mexican restaurant to the comfort of your home.  I usually serve with pineapple salsa on the side so Scarlett can dip it.  

This is a new recipe that I just made last week.  We went to the store and I saw a package of zucchini noodles or zoodles.  I've always wanted to try them, as I've heard wonderful things.  I sautéed the zoodles in olive oil and seasoned salt and then cut up grilled chicken and grape tomatoes.  The funny thing is that Scarlett loved it! It's a very adult meal that you don't typically think of a child liking, but mine did.  The best part about this meal is that you can use whatever you have in your fridge and it'll turn out amazing.  Throw in olives, cheese cubes, or even broccoli with it and it'll be a meal your little one will love! 

Turkey meatballs with mac and cheese, mixed veggies, and tomatoes.  Yes, the grape tomatoes are very random, but when you have a child who loves tomatoes they'll eat it with any meal! I like to substitute turkey or chicken for beef when I can, since it's healthier.  You can find these meatballs in any frozen food section of your local grocery store.  They are ready in minutes to delight your toddler's belly. 

Turkey meatballs, mixed veggies, and potato and cheddar pierogies.  Who doesn't love pierogies? I could eat them everyday, and so could Scarlett! 

Blueberries, strawberries, and a blueberry waffle.  One of my daughter's favorite breakfasts! I could eat it any day too.

Wheat toast with strawberry jelly, blueberries, and cheese eggs.  Feel free to not put cheese in the eggs if you'd prefer your child to not have it.  Blueberries are one of my daughter's favorite fruits so we alternate between them, strawberries, and apples! 

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