During the toddler years, your little one is exploring just about everything, including new foods. Although growth slows a bit during this time, nutrition remains important as your toddler continues to develop.

So then the question is: What food should your toddler be eating to meet his or her needs? Check out this guide to healthy toddler meals to find out!

Basic guidelines to consider for healthy toddler meals

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Whole Grains

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Ideally, fruits are served in their whole form with no added sugar, rather than as juice or in dried form. Vegetables should include all varieties and colors, and not just starchy vegetables like potatoes. When preparing toddler foods, choose whole grains like brown rice and whole-wheat bread and pasta as often as possible, and serve a variety of lean meats and beans.

When thinking of toddler meal ideas, offer a wide variety of foods. This goes for all food groups, because every food offers its own formula of nutrients.

If you’re dealing with a picky eater, remember that your toddler is still new to this whole eating thing. It will take time and multiple exposures to adjust to new flavors and textures. Try not to fall into a habit of only serving toddler foods that your little one will eat day after day. Instead, offer foods – like these top superfoods for 1-3 year olds – your toddler enjoys alongside a smaller serving of a new or less appealing food.

Even if your little one doesn’t touch the new food, seeing it repeatedly will increase the chances that they will eventually give it a try. After they try it a few times, they may even come to love it. Offering foods repeatedly also helps your toddler become used to seeing healthy foods on his or her plate, which may influence his or her eating habits later in life.

Portion sizes for toddler meals

Life with a toddler doesn’t leave much free time. Instead of spending a lot of time measuring your toddler’s portion sizes, a good rule of thumb is to serve portions of toddler food that are about ¼ of an adult portion.

The plate method is a great visual tool for serving healthy toddler meals. Basically, the goal is to offer equal portions of fruit, vegetables, protein, grains, and dairy with each meal. We also recommend using a smaller, divided kids’ plate. To see more on the plate method for toddler meals, click here.

If your toddler doesn’t eat all of the food you serve, that’s okay. Toddlers have an innate sense of hunger, and will stop eating when they are full. Likewise, if your toddler asks for seconds, it’s okay to give them more of their favorite toddler foods in small amounts.

USDA Toddler Meal Portion Sizes

To avoid stress when serving healthy toddler meals, prepare quick family meals in advance. Take time at the beginning of the week to plan your family’s meals so you won’t have to give them much thought during the busy week.

Freezers are great for keeping healthy toddler food readily available. Keep frozen vegetables and fruit in your freezer. Other toddler foods we like to keep in our freezers include veggie tots, chicken nuggets, and mini spinach muffins for snack time. Storing these foods in your freezer makes it easy to execute on a variety of toddler meal ideas even on days when time is limited.

Stocking up on healthy toddler food decreases stress at snack time, too. When toddlers are hungry, they don’t have much patience for you to prepare a snack. Keeping healthy snacks like fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grain crackers, yogurt, cheese, or applesauce oh hand will help you and your child resist the temptation to grab a more convenient, but less healthy snack.

Yumble Toddler Breakfast Ideas

Healthy toddler meal ideas
for breakfast

Building a healthy breakfast for toddlers is simple and doesn’t require much time. Here are some toddler food ideas that they will gobble right up in the morning:

  • Toast with nut butter and blueberries
  • Yogurt with strawberries and a spinach muffin (recipe here)
  • Egg scrambled with chopped veggies, served with sliced banana
  • Oatmeal with fruit
  • Pancake or waffle topped with fruit
Yumble Egg-cellent Choice Toddler Breakfast

Yumble can make breakfast even easier! Our Savory Egg & Cheese Omelet is perfectly portioned and ready to go for your hungry toddler. Plus, this easy and healthy toddler meal is packed with protein with no added sugar to keep your little one satisfied and energized.

Yumble Bowl of Yays Toddler Lunch

Toddler foods for lunch
and dinner

Try some of these healthy toddler food ideas for lunch and dinner:

  • Turkey Cheddar Pinwheels with tomato soup, a Protein Popper, and apple slices
  • Chicken Nuggets with corn and peas
  • Barbecue chicken with green beans, cornbread, and fruit
  • Chili (for a faster version of this favorite, try our Bowl of Yays)
  • Turkey burger with avocado and roasted asparagus
  • Taco with toppings like avocado and chopped tomato, with a side of fruit (our Taco Pocket makes an excellent, hand-held alternative that’s ready to warm and eat)
Yumble Chicken Pops Toddler Dinner

Don’t be tempted by fast food on extra busy days (we all know the feeling!). Instead, keep some of our toddler meals on hand and you will have a nutritious and pre-portioned lunch or dinner ready in seconds. Need a suggestion for which meal to try? Including some of the favorites mentioned above, toddlers love our Chicken Pops, served with mashed potatoes and freshly steamed green beans.

All of our meals at Yumble are nutritionally balanced and portioned perfectly for your little ones. Most importantly, toddlers love them!