One of the many joys of being a parent is introducing your little one to new foods. But what are the best foods for your baby that are not only healthy, but they will also love to eat?
Feeding your child a wide variety of healthy food early on will set them up for good eating habits in the future. Here is an awesome list of 20+ healthy meal ideas for babies and toddlers for breakfast, lunch, snack time and dinner.
The Five Food Groups
The key to providing a healthy and balanced meal for toddlers is to ensure that they are getting a wide variety of foods. Planning their meal is a breeze when you keep the five food groups in mind:
- Vegetables and legumes/beans
- Grain foods, mostly whole grain breads and cereals
- Milk, yoghurt or cheese (or alternatives)
- Lean meats, poultry, fish and eggs
It’s not necessary to consume from each food group at every meal. In fact, in some cases, you just need to consume a few of the different food groups once or twice per week.
Healthy meals for toddlers: Breakfast
A healthy breakfast is the most important meal of the day! These recipes are toddler-friendly with ingredients that you probably already have at home – put them together to make a healthy and nutritious meal.
1. Fresh fruit platter
Make your toddler’s breakfast table colourful with a fresh fruit platter. You can include fruits such as apple, banana, sliced grapes, kiwi, melon and pineapple – this fruit platter will energise your toddler for the day. You may also have your toddler assist you in creating the fruit platter as a fun activity to do together.
2. Fruit smoothie and fruit toast with ricotta cheese
3. Yoghurt and summer sunshine salad
This salad is made of peaches, nectarines and passionfruit which are what your toddler needs to kick-start their day. Just pair it with untoasted muesli and a healthy breakfast is ready.
4. Banana bubbles
Doesn’t the name sound fun? Your child will surely love this healthy breakfast made mainly of banana rolled in yoghurt, and rice bubbles. Bananas are high in fibre, potassium, vitamin B6, and various antioxidants that aid in the development of a healthy weight for toddlers.
5. Wholemeal toast with ricotta cheese, sliced banana and cinnamon
The combination of banana and cinnamon is a winner for most toddlers. Not only do they smell good, but they taste delicious as well!
Healthy meals for toddlers: Lunch
When it comes to lunch, you have a lot of options for healthy meals. It is best to go with simple recipes that won’t take too long and will be easy on your toddler’s sensitive tummy.
6. Chicken curry
With chicken, brown rice, carrots, pumpkin and green beans as its main ingredients, you can make a complete meal that’s packed with important nutrients. You may also check this kid-friendly chicken curry recipe, so you will have a guide.
7. Rainbow platter and wholegrain cracker with whitebean dip
Give your toddler’s breakfast a pop of colours by combining slices of apples, banana, cherry tomatoes, carrot and cucumber in one plate. Add wholegrain crackers and a white bean dip to make the meal more filling.
8. Baked creamy tuna pasta
With just simple ingredients like alphabet pasta, canned tuna, corn, carrots, broccoli and evaporated milk, you can make this creamy tuna pasta dish in no time.
9. Vegetarian fried rice
Who doesn’t love fried rice? Just prepare a cup of rice, egg and the vegetables of your choice, you can make a quick and easy vegetarian fried rice your toddler will enjoy. Putting a scrambled egg or hard-boiled egg is also great as an extra source of iron.
10. Tuna and broccoli frittata
You only have to prepare an egg, sweet corn, potato, broccoli, lettuce, tomato and tuna to make this dish. Serve it with green salad and wholemeal bread. This low lactose and nut-free dish is exactly what your child needs. Check this recipe as your guide.
11. Pumpkin soup
This soup is served with a multigrain sandwich consisting of tuna, sliced tomato, corn, egg and mayonnaise and has the exact nutrients a toddler needs.
Healthy meals for toddlers: Dinner
12. Beef lasagne with fresh salad
This recipe paired with fresh salad is what your toddler needs to get their energy back after a long day at school or play. Just prepare the main ingredients, like the minced beef, carrot, celery, lasagne sheets, zucchini, tomatoes and cheese.
13. Chicken Pasta Bake
This quick and easy chicken pasta bake is a great meal for your toddler’s dinner. With just chicken, pasta, cheese and tomato sauce as ingredients, this dish can be prepared in minutes.
14. Tuna and corn patties
A great alternative for a sandwich, these tuna and corn patties will make your toddler’s meal more fun. It is easy to prepare with just tinned tuna, boiled eggs, potato, onion, corn and cucumber.
15. Stir-fry chicken and vegetables
With just simple ingredients like chicken fillet, cabbage and carrot, you can easily make this recipe at home. Serve it with brown rice and let your toddler enjoy a healthy and delicious meal.
16. Beef and broccoli stir-fry
You only need beef, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, brown rice and capsicum to make this recipe. It’s an easy dish that your toddler can enjoy at any meal of the day.
17. Baked chicken and vegetable risotto
This egg-free, nut-free and lactose-free meal is ideal for toddlers. With just chicken, baby spinach, pumpkin and brown onion as its main ingredients, your toddler will enjoy this meal. You should check out the recipe guide here.
Creative Ideas for Snacks
If you’re looking for healthy snacks that will keep your little one’s hunger at bay, these are just right! Preparing for them is easy and quick, as well.
18. Toasted wholemeal English muffins
This snack is perfect for toddlers. All you need is a wholemeal English muffin, tomatoes, low-fat spread and cottage cheese. It’s healthy, filling and tasty!
19. Vegetable sticks
Sliced beans, celery and carrots with creamy corn and tuna dip is a perfect and healthy snack for toddlers. You can also prepare this vegetable sticks recipe with other variations of vegetables that your toddler enjoys. You can even make it more fun by letting your child design his or her own vegetable stick platter. Not only does this improve your child’s eye-hand coordination and motor skills, but it also allows your toddler to be creative and to have some control over what he or she eats.
20. Rice cakes and watermelon platter
Top the rice cake with cheese, sliced tomato, and cucumber and make the arrangement fun. Then serve it with watermelon triangles, strawberries and sliced grapes platter.
21. Spinach and cheese muffins
When served with a 100 ml fruit smoothie, these spinach and cheese muffins make the best snack for kids. They’re healthy, yummy and easy to make.
22. Veggie dippers
Get simpler and healthier with your kid’s snack. Carrot sticks, slices of tomato, capsicum and steamed broccoli, then serve it with a low fat dip to enhance the taste.
23. Pumpkin scones and apple slices
If you have leftover pumpkin, you are in for a treat! These pumpkin scones are perfect with apple slices on the side. It’s an easy snack to make, and it’s healthy too! Check out this pumpkin scone recipe that is best for kids.
Toddler Finger Food Ideas
Finger foods are small pieces of food babies can feed themselves with. To start, feed them with foods that are soft, easy to pick up, and safe to eat such as:
- scrambled egg, in small pieces
- mashed sweet potato, in small pieces
- diced and lightly sautéed tofu
- fresh raspberries, sliced
- roasted squash, in small pieces
- cooked chicken, shredded
Discretionary Food and Drinks
Foods that are too high in saturated fats and added sugar or salt are considered discretionary. You should give these foods to your toddler occasionally and in small amounts.
- fruit drinks
- meat pies
- ice cream
- potato chips
- and other deep-fried foods
Toddler Food Idea Guidelines
Planning a meal for your little one could be a challenge. It’s important to offer them a variety of foods while sticking with healthy choices. Follow these guidelines when creating toddler meals:
- Offer a variety of foods at every meal. This includes fruits, vegetables, grains and protein.
- Make sure the food is age appropriate. Toddlers have smaller stomachs than adults, so they don’t need as much food.
- Keep it simple. Prepare one or two items for each meal instead of a complex dish.
- Offer a toddler-friendly version of your favourite meal.
- Make sure the food is safe to eat and avoid choking hazards. Cut food into small pieces, and supervise while they’re eating.
- Don’t give them discretionary foods too often.
Our childcare centre, Okinja ELC, follows strict sourcing guidelines and always makes sure that the foods your toddlers eat in our childcare centre are healthy, balanced and, most importantly, delicious!
The best way to give your children a healthy diet and education is by providing them with the right resources. Contact us on 07 5479 2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Enrol them at Okinja ELC now!