21 Best Toddler Dinner Ideas

21 Best Toddler Dinner Ideas

Toddlerhood is the time when your little one tastes a wide variety of solid foods for dinner.. Your toddler can now eat dinner with other family members. But feeding a preschooler is challenging. You have to prepare a nutritious dinner yet make sure your toddler likes it. So what makes an ideal dinner for toddler and how can you prepare one? MomJunction brings you 25 toddler dinner ideas that are delicious and packed with nutrition.

Toddler Dinner Recipes

1. Mashed yellow peas

Mashed yellow peas

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Yellow peas (also known as yellow split peas) are the dried version of green peas. The yellow pea is rich in several micronutrients and makes an excellent vegetarian dinner food for a toddler.

You will need:

  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3-4 cups of water

How to:

  1. Rinse and wash the peas. Then, soak them in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer the peas to a pressure cooker and pour water that just submerges the peas. Cook till two whistles.
  3. In a pan heat the vegetable oil and fry the onions and garlic till they develop a light brown color. Transfer them to a blender and blend them into a coarse mixture.
  4. Pour the thick, cooked peas into a bowl, transfer the blended onions, and garlic and mix them all to complete the preparation.

 [ Read: Vegetable Recipes For Toddlers ]

2. Pumpkin carrot soup

Pumpkin carrot soup

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A pumpkin soup is a simple dinner for a toddler that is quick to make and easy for the little one to eat.

You will need:

  • 2-3 cups of diced pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup long and thin, sliced carrots
  • 1/3 cup fresh cream
  • 4 cups of water

How to:

  1. Boil the pumpkin, onion, and carrot together for 20 minutes or pressure cook them till three whistles.
  2. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a blender. Add cream and blend them all till it reaches a thin soup-like consistency.
  3. Pour the soup into a bowl and garnish with some boiled carrot pieces. You can also replace cream with soymilk to make it a dairy-free dinner for the toddler.

3. Pureed chicken with breadcrumbs

Pureed chicken with breadcrumbs

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Chicken purees are easy for a young toddler to eat and makes an ideal dinner idea for toddlers with diarrhea who need extra nourishment, but may have little interest in munching solid food.

You will need:

  • 2 cups boneless chicken
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs from whole bread
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 cups of water

How to:

  1. Boil the chicken for 20 minutes or till completely tender.
  2. Transfer the chicken along with the water into a blender and blend till it has a thin consistency.
  3. Pour the pureed chicken into a bowl. Add salt, breadcrumbs, and mix it thoroughly to complete the preparation.

 [ Read: Nutritional Snacks For Toddlers ]

4. Mashed peas and rice

Mashed peas and rice

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Peas with rice make a nourishing combination and a gluten-free dinner idea for a toddler.

You will need:

1 cup green peas
1 cup rice
3-4 cups of water

How to:

  1. Boil the peas for 20 minutes or pressure cook them up to three whistles in the cooker.
  2. Cook the rice separately and boil it until soft.
  3. Transfer the peas and boiled rice into a blender. Add a small quantity of water and blend them coarsely. You can also mash them using a hand masher.

5. Chicken and sweet potato puree

Chicken and sweet potato puree

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The protein-rich chicken combines with the sweet potato to make this thick puree that your toddler will love for dinner.

You will need:

2 cups minced boneless chicken
1 cup diced sweet potato
4-5 cups of water

How to:

  1. Boil the chicken on full flame for 25 minutes.
  2. Cook the sweet potato separately by boiling it for 30 minutes.
  3. Transfer the chicken and sweet potato into the blender and blend them coarsely to make a thick puree.

 [ Read: Lunch Recipes For Toddler ]

6. Bean and sago porridge

Bean and sago porridge

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Sago is light on the infant’s stomach and makes an excellent choice for dinner in combination with green beans.

You will need:

  • 2 cups sago pearls
  • 1 cup finely chopped green beans
  • 4-5 cups of water

How to:

  1. Cook the beans by boiling them for 30 minutes or by pressure cooking them for up to four whistles.
  2. Soak the sago in water for an hour and boil it till all sago pearls are consistently tender.
  3. Transfer the cooked sago and the beans into a large bowl. Mix it all well, and the sago porridge is ready to be served.

7. Meatloaf

Meatloaf

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Meatloaf is soft and convenient to eat for a young toddler with very few teeth.

You will need:

  • 2 cups ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup cow milk
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

How to:

  1. Mix the ground chicken, egg, cow milk, and bread crumbs thoroughly to make a coarse batter.
  2. Preheat the oven 350ºF (175ºC). Grease a baking tray with a tiny amount of oil. Pour the batter on top of the tray and spread it out evenly.
  3. Bake for an hour. Once ready, let the meatloaf cool. Break it into smaller pieces that would be easier for a toddler to eat. If you intend to soften the meatloaf, then pour a teaspoon of cows milk over it.

 [ Read: Food Ideas For Toddlers ]

8. Rice and chicken puree

Rice and chicken puree

Image: Shutterstock

A quick toddler dinner idea that is a great option for toddlers who prefer eating purees.

You will need:

  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 cup diced boneless chicken
  • 4 cups of water

How to:

  1. Cook rice by boiling it, and separately boil the chicken for 25 minutes.
  2. Let the rice and chicken cool a bit. Transfer them to a blender, add some water, and blend until they mix well together to form a puree.

9. Broken wheat and chicken porridge

Broken wheat and chicken porridge

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Wheat porridge with chicken makes an ideal dinner option. Make it taste more delicious for the toddler by adding sweet potato.

You will need:

  • 2 cups broken wheat
  • 1 cup minced boneless chicken
  • 3-4 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet potato

How to:

  1. Soak the broken wheat in water for two hours or preferably overnight to make it easier to cook.
  2. Boil the chicken for 20-25 minutes till it is soft. You can boil the sweet potato with the chicken to reduce cooking time.
  3. Transfer the wheat to a blender with the cooked chicken and sweet potato. You can use the cooking water for blending. Blend for two to three minutes to get a thick porridge.

10. Pumpkin and oatmeal porridge:

Pumpkin and oatmeal porridge

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Oats also make a good dinner option when you combine them with vegetable purees.

You will need:

2 cups oatmeal
1 cup diced pumpkin
3-4 cups of water

How to:

  1. Boil the oatmeal for 20 minutes or till it achieves the desired softness.
  2. Boil the pumpkin for 30 minutes. Transfer the pumpkin to a blender and blend it.
  3. Cool the cooked oatmeal and add it to the blender and mix the contents together to complete the preparation.

  [ Read: Pasta Recipes For Toddlers ]

11. Potato and cream puree

Potato and cream puree

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Potato with thick milk cream makes a delicious supper before bedtime. The easy-to-prepare nature of the recipes makes it an ideal last-minute dinner idea for toddlers.

You will need:

2 cups diced potato
1 cup fresh cream
3-4 cups of water

How to:

  1. Boil potatoes for 30 minutes or pressure cook them for four to five whistles.
  2. Let the potatoes cool before transferring them into the blender.
  3. Add cream to the blender and begin the blending process. If the puree seems thick, then add some water or cow milk (optional).

12. Scrambled egg with shredded meat

Scrambled egg with shredded meat

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It works as a great dinner idea for toddler birthday party when you want to serve something healthy that toddlers can eat comfortably with their hands.

You will need:

  • 2-3 eggs
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

How to:

  1. Boil the chicken for 25 minutes.
  2. Beat the eggs together in a large bowl.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and transfer the beaten eggs into it. Add the boiled chicken pieces and cook them together for 10 minutes on a medium flame.
  4. Turn and shuffle the pieces so that they all cook evenly. Continue cooking till the scrambled egg and chicken pieces get a golden-brown crust on the outside.

13. Carrot and peas rolls

Carrot and peas rolls

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A toddler-friendly dinner packed with the goodness of carrots and peas, this makes an excellent vegetarian dinner idea for toddlers.

You will need:

1 cup diced carrots
1 cup peas
3 cups of wheat flour
2-3 cups of water
1 tablespoon unsalted ginger-garlic paste
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

How to:

  1. Boil the carrots and peas for 20 minutes or cook in a pressure cooker for up to three whistles.
  2. Transfer the boiled vegetables to a bowl. Add ginger-garlic paste and mix them all thoroughly.
  3. Make wheat flour dough. Roll out the dough and add a spoon or more of the vegetable at the center of the rolled dough. Make a roll by wrapping the dough around the vegetables.
  4. Heat oil in the pan. Cut the dough into smaller rolls and shallow fry them on the pan on a low flame. Turn the rolls so that they cook evenly. Keep cooking till the rolls become light golden-brown from the outside.

  [ Read: Indian Food Ideas For Toddlers ]

14. Rice and broccoli cutlets

Rice and broccoli cutlets

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Make rice and broccoli enticing to a toddler by cooking them together in a cutlet.

You will need:

  • 2 cups finely chopped broccoli
  • 2 cups rice
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 3-4 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

How to:

  1. Cook the broccoli by boiling it for 15 minutes or till it becomes tender. Boil the rice in a separate vessel.
  2. Make a small quantity of dough with the wheat flour.
  3. Transfer the boiled broccoli, rice, dough, bread crumbs into a large bowl and mix them well.
  4. Make small patty or cutlet out of the mix. If the ingredients do not stick well, add more dough to bind them together.
  5. Heat oil in a pan and cook the cutlets on a medium flame. Cook till they develop brown crusts on both sides.

15. Cottage cheese chapati

Cottage cheese chapati

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Chapati is a quick Indian vegetarian dinner for a toddler. But its plain flavor may not appeal to the toddler. Here is a recipe to make the chapati interesting to the toddler.

You will need:

  • 1-2 cups of wheat flour
  • 2-3 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup grated cottage cheese (paneer)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped spinach
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

How to:

  1. Make the dough with the wheat flour and water.
  2. Boil the spinach for 7-10 minutes or till it becomes entirely tender.
  3. Add the grated cottage cheese, boiled spinach to the dough, and knead them all together so that they mix evenly.
  4. Heat oil in a pan. Roll the dough into the shape of a chapati and cook it on the pan till it turns golden brown from both the ends.
  5. Once cooled, you can cut/break the chapati into smaller pieces so that it is easy for the toddler to have.

16. Spinach mini pizzas

Spinach mini pizzas

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If your toddler is a picky eater, then a pizza will certainly get him interested in dinner tonight. A homemade pizza with delicious mozzarella and iron-rich spinach is an ideal baked dinner idea for a toddler.

You will need:

  • 3 cups of finely chopped spinach
  • 3-4 cups of water
  • 2-3 small pizza base
  • 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

How to:

  1. Boil spinach for 15 minutes or till the leaves and the stalk turn soft.
  2. Transfer the spinach to a bowl and mix it well with salt and black pepper.
  3. Spread a thin layer of shredded mozzarella cheese on the pizza base. Put some spinach on that. Add another layer of mozzarella cheese and put some more spinach.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450ºF (232ºC). Bake the pizza for 10 minutes or till cheese melts and develops a light brown crust on the top.
  5. Cut the pizza into smaller pieces. Let it cool before serving this delicious dinner preparation for toddlers.

[ Read: Quinoa Recipes For Toddlers ]

17. Crispy chicken nuggets

Crispy chicken nuggets

Image: Shutterstock

Roll some chicken with dough and cook it all together to get this delicious protein-rich dinner for toddlers.

You will need:

2 cups finely sliced or minced boneless chicken
3 cups wheat flour
3-4 cups of water
1/3 teaspoon salt

How to:

  1. Boil the boneless chicken for 20 minutes or two whistles in a pressure cooker.
  2. Make a small quantity of dough with wheat flour and water. Add salt to the dough while kneading it.
  3. Roll a small piece of dough with the minced chicken and make a nugget shape out of it. Put the chicken-dough nugget in the wheat flour and roll it thoroughly so that the nugget has a smooth exterior.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (204ºC). Grease a baking tray with some oil and place the nuggets on top of it.
  5. Bake for six minutes. Flip the chicken and bake for six more minutes. Let the nuggets cool before serving it to your toddler.

18. Mashed potato mini sandwich

Mashed potato mini sandwich

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A mini potato sandwich for your toddler’s dinner time.

You will need:

  • 3 cups diced potato
  • 4-6 slices of wholewheat bread
  • 2-3 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt

How to:

  1. Boil the potato for 30 minutes, or you can pressure cook them for up to four whistles.
  2. Transfer the diced potato to a plate and mash them using a fork or a hand masher. Add salt during the mashing process.
  3. Toast the bread slices. Apply the mashed potatoes on the bread and make a sandwich. Cut the sandwich into smaller pieces to make several mini sandwiches.
  4. Heat oil in the pan. Place the mini sandwiches and cook them on a medium flame for five minutes. Turn the sandwich around so that both sides turn golden brown.

[ Read: Carrot Recipes For Toddlers ]

19. Carrot sticks with scrambled egg

Carrot sticks with scrambled egg

Image: Shutterstock

This is an egg dinner idea for toddler and is combined with some supple carrots.

You will need:

  • 3 cups of thin, long sliced carrots (carrot sticks)
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3-4 cups of water

How to:

  1. Beat the eggs and scramble them in the pan with the vegetable oil.
  2. Boil the carrot sticks for 25 minutes till they are tender to chew.
  3. Transfer the boiled carrot sticks, scrambled egg, garlic powder, and salt into a large bowl, and mix them to complete the preparation.

20. Vegetable momo

Vegetable momo

Image: Shutterstock

Momos are dumplings made with rice and wheat flour. It can be filled with vegetables or meat, and make an excellent toddler dinner food.

You will need:

  • 3 cups rice flour
  • 1-2 cups wheat flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4-5 cups of water

How to:

  1. Boil the carrots and peas for 20 minutes.
  2. Mix wheat and rice flour to make a dough.
  3. Flat out the piece of dough with a rolling pin. Place the cooked vegetables at the center and roll the dough in the shape of a momo.
  4. Place the momo on a steaming grill inside a cooking vessel. Fill the vessel halfway with water and steam the momos for six minutes on a medium flame.
  5. In case you do not have a steaming grill, you can place the momo in a pan with shallow water, close the lid, and steam for 6-7 minutes on medium flame.
  6. Let the momos cool sufficiently before serving this easy, healthy dinner to the toddler.

21. Mini meatballs

Mini meatballs

Image: Shutterstock

Meatballs are rich in protein and make an excellent dinner item for special occasions such as Halloween, birthday party, or any other event when you would like to try a different and creative dinner idea for toddlers.

You will need:

  • 3-4 cups of refined wheat flour
  • 4 cups of minced mutton
  • 5-6 cups of water
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

How to:

  1. Boil the mutton for 25 minutes on full flame, or you can cook it in a pressure cooker on medium flame for up to four whistles.
  2. Make the dough with the wheat flour. Add the breadcrumbs, cooked minced meat, black pepper, ginger-garlic paste, and salt to the dough. Mix them thoroughly.
  3. Heat oil in the pan and shallow fry the meatballs. Roll the meatballs frequently to ensure they cook evenly. Continue cooking till the meatballs develop a dark brown crust.

These recipes will undoubtedly help make dinner interesting for your energetic toddler. Also, we bring a few ways to ensure that your toddler is less fussy about dinner.

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  [ Read: Breakfast Ideas For Toddlers ]

Tips For Toddler’s Dinner Time:

Have a routine by serving dinner at the same time each day. This helps the toddler to expect a meal the same time every day, and he will eat food easily as he is expecting it.

Let the toddler have dinner with the family by setting the toddler’s dinner time with the rest of the family’s. It helps in social bonding while also improving the toddler’s interest in food. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that a family dinner helps boost a toddler’s socio-emotional health and reduces chances of developing eating disorders later in life (1).

Rotate recipes. Do not stick to a fixed menu. Instead experiment with several options. Rotating meal items also ensures that the toddler gets a healthy balanced diet, which is vital for growth and development.

Let the toddler make a choice. We understand that parents know better, but even the toddler can decide a few things. Leave it to your toddler to decide how much he would like to eat and if he would like to have an extra helping of his favorite preparation. Pediatric experts state that you must not force a toddler to eat nor use food as a means to bribe or punish (2). Instead, encourage the toddler to display some independence when it comes to food.

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Dinner is the last meal of the day that keeps the toddler’s tummy full and prevents him from waking up hungry in the middle of the night. It is also an essential source of nutrition for healthy growth. Maintain a fixed dinner time and keep rotating recipes to ensure that your toddler gets all the required nourishment. Have any more interesting recipes to share? Tell us in the comments section below.

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