To follow along with my blog on 7 Days of breakfasts and 7 days of snacks for babies and toddlers, I thought I needed to follow it up with some other helpful meal options to take the thought out of the age old “what shall I do for dinner question”.
I’m a big fan of bish bash bosh meals, but usually I offer those to the kids at lunch, when I’m on my own, working or on the go as these can be such helpful/quick options. However, for dinner I usually (not always), try to make a bit more of a hot meal option. Please remember you don’t have to do this and if you’re wanting buffet style dinners or shared platters this is all absolutely fine to do too.
I like to vary things up and change up what kind of dinners I offer and I often base their meals simply on what I’ve got in the fridge that needs using up. It’s fine to go with the flow at dinner times, just try to think about how to balance those meals for your toddler. This essentially meals offering a portion of foods from each of the main food groups e.g:
- A protein/iron rich food
- A wholegrain/starchy carbohydrate
- A portions of veg and/or fruit
- And maybe some dairy or dairy food alternatives
I’ve got a blog on “Balancing Meals for Toddlers” for more info on how to do this, including a menu plan, so do check that out.
Simple dinner ideas for babies and toddlers
Here, I’ve shared 7 of my favourite dinners that you can offer to the kids, with an alternative on each day. I’ve also shared another 7 options at the end in case none of these take your fancy – so that’s a total of 21 dinner ideas for your little ones!
They are all SUPER easy to adapt so don’t worry if you want to make them veggie, vegan or meat options, I’ll give options for each. Also don’t forget you can easily make swaps – change the sauce, the type of beans, offer it with potatoes instead of rice – cooking is always about flexibility for me, so make these options suit you and your family as much as you can.
Here are my 7 Days of Dinners for babies and toddlers:
Monday is sometimes a bit chaotic being the first day back and so a quick and easy dinner can work well like these Easy Pitta Pizzas. Use the toppings you offer to balance out meals – some extra veg e.g. spinach, sweetcorn, pineapple and some proteins – lentils, slices of chicken or tuna and a little cheese, for example. Use dairy free cheese if you’re little ones are dairy free.
Alternatively, my spaghetti bolognese recipe is an ideal family favourite weekday meal!
Hopefully we’re starting to get into more of a routine for dinner the next day, so something like my mushroom and chickpea stroganoff for babies can work well for the whole family. If you’re strapped for time, I have a Super Quick Mushroom Recipe that works just as well, but do add chickpeas for some extra protein/iron!
If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, I have a great tomato pasta sauce that you could use instead – add some kidney beans and pour on top of potatoes with some grated cheese!
A nice, easy mid-week option is this one tray ricotta pasta bake recipe. You can do pasta in so many ways, but this recipe from Dr Pippa Gibson is such a quick way of cooking the whole pasta in one go. I’d recommend adding some protein to this one, so you could throw in a few handfuls of tinned butter beans or add some cooked chicken or fish at the end.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more meaty option, you could try this Easy Beef and Tomato Sauce with some wholegrain pasta!
One of my FAVOURITE recipes that I’ve created recently (and it’s been a huge hit in our household), is this Easy Cheesy Potato Pie recipe. It is a perfect weeknight dinner and great for keeping as leftovers and serving the next day too. Serve with some iron rich foods, such as baked beans or add some tinned fish into the mix to make it balanced, or simply serve some extra iron rich foods at other meals during the day!
Another simple option could be a jacket potato topped with hummus and some grated carrot.
This recipe is actually perfect for a Friday, it’s super quick and really delicious and perfect for the whole family. I love making this Creamy Lemony Salmon Bake and I think this is possibly the most popular recipe from my book How to Wean Your Baby, so I hope you love it too!
If you’re looking for an alternative to the salmon, stir in tofu chunks to the sauce instead.
Below are a few more recipes if you’re wanting to change things up, but I hope this 7 Days of dinners for babies and toddlers helps make your week of meals just that little bit easier!
Also check out my blog on adding extra nutrients to your child’s dinner for more on how to make the most out of your meals!
More dinner ideas for kids