I wrote a post recently about healthy toddler food, and how our family’s mindset when it comes to that topic, and wanted to build on that post a bit by sharing a few quick, easy, and healthy toddler snack and meal ideas that we love at our house.
We don’t keep a ton of “kid food” on hand (you’ll rarely find Goldfish in our pantry or chicken nuggets in our freezer, for example, and there’s never any sugary cereal over here), and instead like to make Maggie’s snacks and meals from foods Kevin and I eat, too. After all, we feel like it’s our responsibility as Maggie’s parents to help her develop a taste for a variety of foods we hope she’ll enjoy her whole life. Sure, sometimes Maggie’s meal will be a pared down version of ours, but it tends to include the same elements.
It’s rare that meals and snacks at our house are complicated, either. Like all parents, we’re busy, and there’s not a whole lot of time to invest in meal planning or fancy recipes. We eat a lot of the same foods on repeat, which we’re all okay with, and love keeping some go-to staples on hand week after week to use to build our meals.
Are we “perfect” with food? NOPE. We sure aren’t! Some of that is because we’re human, and some of that is because we intentionally don’t want food to become something too rigid or limited (for us or for Maggie). She eats her fair share of kids’ meals from “Chick-Chick” (Chick-fil-A), for one (though always with fruit instead of fries — her request). Maggie often enjoys a treat after lunch or dinner (though not every day), which might be a couple of gummies or a popsicle or some chocolate chips. (We like finding better versions of treats for her — and for us — when we can, too. Smart Sweets are a great gummy option, as are Good Pops popsicles and Enjoy Life chocolate chips.)
Oh, and one last note: I’ve talked about this on my blog before, but wanted to mention it again. I follow a vegan diet, but Maggie and Kevin do not. (Kevin and I have found a way to make it work in our house and it’s not nearly as complicated as you might think…) That said, since I keep lots of plant-based things at the house and make lots of Maggie’s meals alongside my own, she often ends up eating plant-based as well.
Here are a few go-to Maggie meals and snacks that come to mind. You’ll see that we definitely aren’t opposed to convenience food, and these are quick and easy!:
-steel cut oats served on top of organic frozen cherries (the cherries cool the oats and add a bit of sweetness — I don’t sweeten the oats at all — and she loves “hunting” for the cherries!)
-Trader Joe’s organic frozen brown rice + canned black beans + cheese + tomatoes + pumpkin seeds
-build-your-own taco: tortilla + beans, tofu, or meat + radishes + Trader Joe’s organic frozen brown rice + yogurt/sour cream + cheese
-salad (yes, she often requests salad, which I just love, and it varies based on what we have on hand): lettuce + bell peppers + tomato + mushrooms + hummus + edamame + beets
-soup (this is our favorite one to make at home!) + sourdough bread
-stir fry: Costco frozen stir fry mix + tofu + hemp seeds + extra added veggies we might have on hand (spinach, kale, mushrooms, etc.)
-roasted veggies (Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, parsnips, celery, carrots) + tempeh or meat
-falafel + kalamata olives + hummus + cucumber + tomato + yogurt
-apples + almond butter or peanut butter
-celery + baby carrots + hummus
-smoothie: spinach + almond or coconut milk + frozen banana + frozen cherries + cacao nibs
I hope those are some helpful ideas if you’re looking to add some new toddler meals to the mix! None of these are especially creative, as far as I’m concerned, but they’re a good representation of the types of food we eat most regularly at our house. I’d love to hear any other easy, quick, and healthy favorite toddler recipes you love, too!!