I want to paint a scene for you really quickly. A typical night in my life that will seem all too familiar to you, I’m sure.
It’s 7pm. (Or 5pm if you’re one of those moms that actually has a legit bedtime routine down and gets your kid to bed at a decent hour.) Beads of sweat are forming on your face as you attempt to feed your tantruming toddler a nutritious meal composed of a yummy protein, starch and vegetable combination. “I no like it”, they yell as you both wrestle with the fork. Through gritted teeth you say, “One more bite!” Only to have that fork knocked from your hands from a flailing limb as a portion of the meal you slaved over, hits the floor causing yet another mess you’ll have to tend to.
Been here before? Girl, me too! Way too often. My picky toddler would survive off of cracker and cheese Lunchables if he could! (And with no shame at all I’ll admit that, that has been his dinner once or twice *Kanye shrug).
But the obvious goal is to make sure our babies have nutritious meals that they’ll actually enjoy. And with that being said, here are a few of my go to, toddler approved, meal ideas.
1) Ham and Cheese Sushi Sandwich Rolls
These sandwich rolls are a lunchtime life safer and make for a very versatile meal! My go to is the ham and cheese version because Leo loves them but I’ve seen them made a dozen different ways.
To make the roll I start by taking a piece of bread (white or wheat bread) and flattening it out. Once it’s flat I cut the crust off and cut it into rectangles. On each bread cut out I add a little olive oil (we’re not big on mayo in this house) ham and cheese. Then I take one end of the bread and roll it into a sushi roll. And it’s that simple! I typically serve this with halved grapes and yummy almond milk.
2) Mini Bagel Pizzas
One of our childhood favorites has returned to bless our babies at mealtime too.
Now, if you are in a pinch, they sell the frozen version of these in grocery stores for like $5.99 (Absolutely no mom shame here girl). But if you have the time and you’re looking to go the extra mile, these are staple when made fresh.
When I make these, I typically make enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day. First preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. I then take 10 mini bagels and halve them. Next place them about an inch apart on a baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil. Top each bagel with yummy pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese and a topping of your choice! (We usually use spinach and pepperonis/chicken). Bake them for around 10 minutes and you have a delicious, no fuss meal! Add some yummy mandarin oranges and a juice box to complete the meal.
3) Corn Dog Bites
Who doesn’t love a good corn dog? This meal is a guaranteed win with Leo, especially when paired with tater tots or french fries. (Spoiler Alert: There’s a very yummy alternative to regular tater tots coming later.)
Now if you are a Mama with very limited time, then again, you can easily grab some delicious frozen corn dogs from the grocery store and call it a day. No judgement here. But if you have time to make these from scratch, they’re absolutely delicious! This recipe is a bit more time consuming and requires you to batter and fry “Beef Lit’l Smokies” from Hillshire Farm. But once you have the batter made and get into your groove, the 30-40 minute cook time flies by. Plus it’s a bonus that the kids will actually finish their plate for once.
4) Sweet Potato Tater Tots
Now I may be alone in this but there is something about the salty and sweetness of a sweet potato dish that satisfies my cravings in the best way. So naturally sweet potato tater tots were a welcomed dish change in my household. But the most pleasant surprise was that my son loved these tater tots as much as I do!
I followed the recipe on unboundwellness.com to a “T” and these turned out to be cooked to perfection. After boiling the sweet potatoes for 20 minutes and preheating you’re oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, you are just left with grating, seasoning and forming your tater tots. (PS: Forming the tater tots turned out to be a fun impromptu sensory session with Leo as well). Bake the tater tots for 30 minutes and you are ready to serve!
Those were a few of my yummy, toddler approved meal ideas. Let me know in the comments below if you have any go-to meals that your family loves. And when it comes to battling picky eaters at meal-time, “May the odds forever be in your favor.” ❤️