Make Dinner Easy for Toddlers

fruit snacks

Getting Your Toddler to Eat Dinner

When dinner time rolls around, your Toddler will be less likely to eat a “full” meal than she did during breakfast or lunch. Don’t despair however as this is very common. Providing you prepared healthy breakfast, lunch and snack offerings, your Toddler has likely gained 85% of needed nutrition during the day.

There is no need to prepare separate dinners for your Toddler, every night and doing so will make future meals more stressful for you and your Toddler as you try to cross him over to eating the family meal. Simply take the ingredients you will be using for your dinner and concoct something your Toddler may just eat!

Having meat loaf and mashed potatoes but you know your Toddler won’t eat it? Make a small Shepard’s pie by setting aside some of the ground meat, veggies and mashed potatoes. Having baked chicken? Set aside some slices of chicken and make homemade chicken tenders/nuggets for your Toddler.

Feel free to substitute any ingredients you feel may be inappropriate for your Toddler!

Making spicy chicken breasts for dinner and your toddler won’t touch it? Try chicken sticks!

Thinly sliced strips of chicken breast
yogurt – plain
crushed cereal – shredded wheat, cheerios, corn flakes, honey oat cereal

Roll chicken strips in yogurt then coat with crushed cereal of your choice. Bake on lightly greased baking sheet at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until done. Serve with a dippin sauce and the family veggies.

hintHere’s an idea, push a popsicle stick through the chicken prior to baking and have chicken really on a stick; little kids love this!

Having Chicken/Beef/Fish and rice for dinner but your toddler won’t eat the meat? Try this easy recipe using what you have already made!

2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup cooked rice
1 or 2 2 eggs (both whites & yolks), beaten

hint Here’s a Tip:

Take your Toddler to the grocery store and let him or her pick out foods for dinner.

Involve your Toddler in all aspects of mealtime to help promote healthy eating!

Lemon Juice (optional)

Stir broth & rice together in saucepan, bringing to a boil. Add eggs & continue to stir until eggs have cooked.
Add some meat cubes and lemon juice & pepper as desired You may thicken this up by using less broth and
more rice to make it a “stew” type dish. Serve with bread and the family veggies.


1 cup cooked hamburger (use ground turkey for a more healthy meal!)
1 1/4 cup cooked macaroni noodles
1/2 cup ketchup – add full can of tomatoes instead of ketchup if you like
1/8 cup tomato sauce
1/2 can tomatoes (stewed tomatoes are nice!)
dash Worcester sauce
1/3 cup cooked peas
1/3 cup cooked carrots

Combine ketchup, sauce, tomatoes and Worcester sauce. add hamburger and
noodles, peas and carrots. Serve warm.

Stir interest in dinner by making your Toddler’s plate more fun.

Make a mashed potato snowman using an ice cream scoop to scoop 3 mashed potato balls – corn for eyes, string bean for mouth, carrots for buttons. Arrange the rest of dinner around the “snowman”.

Serve your Toddler dinner on a colorful plate and arrange the food in a circle, putting your Toddlers favorite food in the middle.

Break out the dippin sauce during dinner time (try to encourage use of utensils with the older Toddler) and allow your Toddler to dip his foods.

Try these ideas as well to stir some interest in dinner!

Few Toddlers will resist a plate full of noodles for a meal. Making some noodles to go with the family dinner may be just the thing to get your Toddler to eat her dinner.

Grated cheese may be one of the best eating temptations around. Sprinkle cheese on your Toddler’s veggies, rice, potatoes and noodles.

Offer dips and sauces with your Toddler’s dinner – tempting and very easy to toss on the table!

Peanuts and Tree Nuts have varied age recommendations for introduction. Typical ages for introduction are:

  • After One (1) Year for the Non Food Sensitive/Non-Allergic Child;

  • After Two (2) or Three (3) Years for the Food Sensitive/Allergic Child.

Some Medical Authorities even suggest holding off Peanuts and Tree Nuts until after Seven (7) Years old!  You should introduce these items with the consultation and recommendation of your baby’s Pediatrician!

Please note:  It is important that you ensure your Toddler is sitting upright when eating any and all foods.  Do not let your Toddler run around while eating any food!  Pay close attention to size of the foods that you offer your Toddler and be cautious of any foods you feel might pose a choking hazard for your Toddler.  For example, there are some Toddlers that may be able to eat grapes cut into pieces while other Toddlers might not.  Only you know your Toddler and his/her abilities to handle different foods of differing sizes and proportions!