Easy toddler dinners

Cheryl - posted on 12/22/2008 ( 18 moms have responded )

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Does anyone have suggestions for quick, easy, and somewhat healthy toddler dinners I can make? My husband gets home from work too late for us to all eat together, so I usually feed my daughter and then make dinner for mu husband and me. I feel like I'm stuck in a rut of pasta, grilled cheese and hot dogs. Any toddler dinner ideas are much appreciated!

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Felicity - posted on 12/22/2008

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I find an easy omelete relieves my guilt. chuck frozen vegies in frying pan with a bit of diced bacon (buy already diced) stir that around for a bit pour about six eggs over the top stir around again chuck some cheese on top, put on the lid and walk away for 5-7 minutes. Cut into squares and serve up. Vegies, protein and dairy in one meal and not much washing up.

Yvonne Vanden - posted on 08/29/2012

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Hi there,

I find by the time I get home from work. I have an hour to an hour and a half to feed, bath and play with my 14 month old... my husband also gets home late. Every Sunday while the boss has his afternoon sleep, I steam potato, sweet potato, carrot, broccoli, butternut pumpkin and mash them up and put into small containers,then all I have to do of a night time is microwave the frozen veggie mash and whip up either chicken, meatballs, sausages, pasta, or even party pies (I remove the lid scoop out half of the meat and replace it with some of the veggie mash and have a veggie shepphards pie. I try and keep him to pasta only twice a week, I get paranoid that he's not getting enough veggies. If he's not keen on any of those, peanut butter sandwiches are always a winner / or vanilla yoghurt. I sometimes forget that just like us adults, sometimes they just are not hungry.

Hope this helps

Janette - posted on 04/08/2012

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While all of the other suggestions are great, the majority sound heavy on white starchy items, perhaps leaning more toward a lean meat and some steamed veggies with some fruit as dessert would be a little healthier for your toddler. During this age is when their life long taste for foods can be decided for good or bad, so this would be the perfect opportunity to form good life eating habits. Frozen veggies are ideal for steaming, simply put them in a microwave safe bowl, following directions on the bag for each different type of veg, cover with wrap venting slightly. You can also start adding seasonings such as Ms. Dash garlic and herbs, etc as they get older and can handle a stronger taste. The most convienent part of this is that frozen veg can be microwaved in individual servings, no left overs, no food sitting getting cold!

Jenny - posted on 12/27/2008

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Try cooking some meals at the weekend n freezing them. That way you call all get involved in cooking them at the weekend and then when you are eating them in the week you can say "remember when daddy chopped up the onions and you helped add the sauce etc" .

Just take them out the morning you want them and then reheat them when you get home xx

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Dawn - posted on 03/26/2013

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If you prep most things the night before, starting on a Sunday night; everything you want to make shouldnt take too long and add quinoa and cuscous salads to the mix with finely chopped veggies and fruits! I agree to stay away from "white starches" they leave most ppl full at first but sooo hungry later. Make the switch to whole wheat or brown: pasta, toasts, grains. You think you wont get full off this stuff but you do, and you feel better. You sleep better and your skin looks sooo much more incredible. I LOVE www.cleaneating.com for my weekly recipes! It really makes life easier to have a weekly meal plan and make enough for a bit of leftovers for everyones lunch. Best of luck!!

Brittney - posted on 01/12/2012

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Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Total time: 75 minutes

An enchilada - a flour tortilla rolled around a filling, covered with a sauce and grated cheese, and baked - is a great way to sneak some extra veggies into the diet. All my children love it. This recipe, which provides protein, iron, selenium, zinc, calcium, folate, vitamins A, C, and D, and prebiotics, was created for children 18 to 36 months old. Find out more about Annabel Karmel at www.annabelkarmel.com.

Ingredients

Tomato sauce:

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ tsp. dried oregano

1 14-oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 Tbs. tomato paste

1 Tbs. drained, minced sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil

1 tsp. sugar



Chicken filling:

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 red onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 small zucchini, diced

1½ cups ground chicken

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese



8 small flour tortillas

Preparations

1. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the remaining sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer until thick, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season and blend until smooth.

2. Make the chicken filling while the sauce is simmering. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or wok and stir in the garlic, onion, red pepper, and zucchini. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in half of the cheese until melted.

3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a large baking dish.

4. Warm the tortillas slightly (in the oven or microwave), then spoon some filling down the center of each, rolling them up as you go. Arrange the filled tortillas seam side down in one layer in the dish. Spoon the sauce on top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to warm before serving.

Note: Freeze in individual portions unbaked, without the remaining cheese; thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then add the cheese before baking.

Kasey - posted on 08/13/2010

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On the days that my husband works late or I don't feel like cooking I would always make pasta or potato dishes. You can take orzo or mashed potatos and to both of them I have added butter, broccoli, carrots, and chicken and it's healthy and easy and my four year old has been eating it since he was a baby. I do that now for my 11 month olds meals and she loves it too. You can also do it with alphabet noodles or zoo pasta or anything like that.

Tamar - posted on 12/27/2008

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You could do a turkey meatloaf, my husband loves that with steewed tomatoes from Hunts, just heat them in a saucepan. I also do trukey tacos. Just make everything a la cart for him and then he can heat up the turkey meat. Or you can use beef. Turkey is leaner and tastes really good. I get a rump rpast and put 1 packet of onion soup and 1/4 cup water in a crock pot and its ready by late afternoon. Throw the veggies in midway with potatoes and rice or noodles closer to the end. easy. I have 2 young boys. I like easy

Ellen - posted on 12/22/2008

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I don't have a toddler anymore but sometimes you could make a casserole and that way you could eat with your daughter and then wrap the rest of it up for your husband. I like the idea from the other reader though who suggested making a full blown dinner and then feeding yourself and your daughter and just eating dessert with your husband. Try a meatloaf/mashed potatoes/peas too. You can also give that to her the next day for lunch =)

Jennifer - posted on 12/22/2008

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Hi, I've had some luck with peanut butter on about anything, IF I give my 22 month old a "knife" (dull cheese spreader). He'd put the PB on apples, crackers, low fat vanilla wafers, etc. He also like to dip things in ketchup, so I get healthy cod fish sticks from Trader Joes or Turkey Nibblers from Whole Foods and he'll dip away. He will also now eat healthier cereal if he can put Cranraisins or cut up bananas in himself. I think giving him a role has helped. Good luck finding toddler dinner ideas!

Rhonda - posted on 12/22/2008

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Oh, and if he gets really picky and doesn't want to eat, he will eat Jello and applesauce, and bananas and apples instead. I don't usually worry to much if he doesn't eat well with his dinner, as long as he eats something.

Rhonda - posted on 12/22/2008

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I give my son mac and cheese, hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, pasta of all kinds, soups (he loves them) and they have the right sized veggies, pasta and meats in them. He also gets meatloaf, pizza, chicken, rice, veggies, he also loves those packages of noodle mixes, french fries, and sometimes he gets breakfast foods for dinner. He also likes ham and turkey. Sometimes I just pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and he will eat that, with some mashed potatoes and veggies. I know what a challenge it is to feed a toddler. I think they get bored with what they are offered and that is why they don't eat sometimes. Hope this was a little helpful for toddler dinner ideas.

Allison - posted on 12/22/2008

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We have the same dilemma in our house! I try to cook dinner for my 2.5 yr old daughter and myself, then leave daddy a plate in the oven or fridge. My daughter loves to help wrap it in aluminum foil for daddy...as for toddler dinner ideas...we struggle there, too. spaghetti (whole wheat noodles with the protein added are great for picky no-meat eaters like my DD) always works and so do homemade chicken nuggets. They are MUCH easier than they seem. Google a recipe of use the Jessica Seinfeld version in her cookbook--they're easily freezable and can be microwaved later. My daughter LOVES rice, too...so we eat that alot.

April - posted on 12/22/2008

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i make a cheap and cheerful version of risotto-that way I can sneak any and all veggies into it. it is dead simple. put a little oil or butter in a pan, stir-fry veggies, then add rice let it all cook for a few mins. then add liquid (low sodium stock)-let cook on low for about 20 mins then finish with a bit of homo milk and Parmesan cheese. She finishes the bowl every time and sometime has seconds!

Terri - posted on 12/22/2008

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My kids (34 months and 17 months) both seem to like the same things: turkey dogs, grilled cheese, PB&J, meatballs, mac and cheese, string cheese, spaghetti O's and chicken. They also love green beans, lima beans, corn, carrots and peas and they will eat any kind of fruit. I think at this age kids just like the same things over and over. I think that is normal, it should change as they get older, at least that is what my friends have told me.

Kathy - posted on 12/22/2008

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Ah yes, feeding a toddler get quite repetative doesn't it?

My daughter is very picky and some nights hardly eats any dinner. I think pasta and grilled cheese and hot dogs isn't that bad of a rut (my daughter will go a week with just eating a peice of cheese for dinner) as long as you make the choices count, like using whole grains, all beef hot dogs, etc.

I am interested in what others will have to say about toddler dinner ideas!

Ginger - posted on 12/22/2008

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my huband comes home much later too.. I have 2 kids a 3 1/2 boy and a 1 1/2 year old girl.. what has worked out for us is cooking the entire supper meal( what ever it is that day)... me and the kids sit down to eat.. I put my husbands food on a plate for him and stick it in the microwave.. he eats when he gets home.. I found that my kids eat way better if I am eating with them.. talk to your husband a see if he would consider it as an option.. I feel bad sometimes that we dont get to eat together.. but if I make a dessert we can eat that when daddy is eating his supper that way he doesnt feel alone at the table( of couse he gets dessert too).. what ever you choose good luck

Jennifer - posted on 12/22/2008

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Hi, I've had some luck with peanut butter on about anything, IF I give my 22 month old a "knife" (dull cheese spreader). He'd put the PB on apples, crackers, low fat vanilla wafers, etc. He also like to dip things in ketchup, so I get healthy cod fish sticks from Trader Joes or Turkey Nibblers from Whole Foods and he'll dip away. He will also now eat healthier cereal if he can put Cranraisins or cut up bananas in himself. I think giving him a role has helped. Good luck finding toddler dinner ideas!

Rhonda - posted on 12/22/2008

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I give my son mac and cheese, hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, pasta of all kinds, soups (he loves them) and they have the right sized veggies, pasta and meats in them. He also gets meatloaf, pizza, chicken, rice, veggies, he also loves those packages of noodle mixes, french fries, and sometimes he gets breakfast foods for dinner. He also likes ham and turkey. Sometimes I just pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and he will eat that, with some mashed potatoes and veggies. I know what a challenge it is to feed a toddler. I think they get bored with what they are offered and that is why they don't eat sometimes. Hope this was a little helpful for toddler dinner ideas.

Allison - posted on 12/22/2008

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We have the same dilemma in our house! I try to cook dinner for my 2.5 yr old daughter and myself, then leave daddy a plate in the oven or fridge. My daughter loves to help wrap it in aluminum foil for daddy...as for toddler dinner ideas...we struggle there, too. spaghetti (whole wheat noodles with the protein added are great for picky no-meat eaters like my DD) always works and so do homemade chicken nuggets. They are MUCH easier than they seem. Google a recipe of use the Jessica Seinfeld version in her cookbook--they're easily freezable and can be microwaved later. My daughter LOVES rice, too...so we eat that alot.

Kathy - posted on 12/22/2008

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Ah yes, feeding a toddler get quite repetative doesn't it?

My daughter is very picky and some nights hardly eats any dinner. I think pasta and grilled cheese and hot dogs isn't that bad of a rut (my daughter will go a week with just eating a peice of cheese for dinner) as long as you make the choices count, like using whole grains, all beef hot dogs, etc.

I am interested in what others will have to say about toddler dinner ideas!

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