I love food. Real, high-quality, nutrient-dense food. And so of course I care a whole lot about the food I feed my son. But it’s not all about the nutrition. Yes, I want him to enjoy a variety of healthy foods, but I also want him to develop good habits and positive experiences around food. So I’m always on the hunt for delicious and nutritious recipes that all 3 of us will love and can eat together. And ideally, they’re fairly quick and easy and can be batch-cooked so that I have plenty of extra for lunches, leftovers, or to freeze for another busy or lazy week. I’m sharing a few in hopes that they’ll help make your meal planning a little easier and your mealtimes a little more enjoyable. Enjoy!
Thai Meatballs from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen
These are a staple in our rotation. You can make a million and freeze them before or after cooking. They heat up perfectly and are a great texture for little mouths – my son loves to shout “stab!” as he stabs them with his comically dull fork. I make extra sauce and dump it over broccoli or saute it with some cauliflower rice as a side.
Spinach Sweet Potato Tots from Physical Kitchness
My kid has a sweet potato obsession. Honestly. He loves baked sweet potato fries (I follow Cookie & Kate’s approach and mix up the seasonings depending on what I’m serving them with) but I like that these tots add in some extra flavor AND some spinach. Because leafy greens are hard to get into tiny humans. And because me and my hubs can only eat baked sweet potatoes so many times before we turn orange. I’ve frozen both the uncooked “dough” and the cooked tots and both work!
Paleo Broccoli Cheese Sticks from Physical Kitchness
My son now loves to shove whole “trees” of broccoli into his mouth, but before he did, I was looking for ways to get my favorite veggie into his belly. And these did the trick. They’re just “bready” enough that he was curious about them. The first two or three times I served them he just licked them and shook his head no. And then after seeing me and my husband make exaggerated yum noises as we ate them, he took a tiny bite. And another. And then he started mowing them down. They’re a great healthy lunch bite or snack for adults and kids.
Kale Falafel from Minimalist Baker
I typically just make the falafel part of this recipe with some hummus (again s/o to Cookie & Kate for the best ever recipe). My husband loads into a wrap, I like ’em over or wrapped up in greens. And the kiddo just munches away on the falafel itself while simultaneously loading entire spoonfuls of hummus into his mouth (he’s not grasped the concept of dipping despite my efforts to show him). These also go really well with Tribali’s Mediterranean burgers (kid-friendly, healthy, and convenient!) sliced up and tossed into greens or a wrap. I love that this meal includes greens, protein, and healthy fat in the form of tahini – sesame seeds are a great source of calcium!
Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers from Unbound Wellness
These are fast and easy and tasty for all ages. Try them with some smoked paprika added in and served with guac. Pair them with any veggie sprinkled with some garlic and smoked paprika. Shocker, my son also likes them with sweet potato fries.
Whole 30 Paleo Meatloaf from Paleo Running Momma
No, I didn’t put my kid on a Whole 30. This is just a really delicious and comforting recipe. I throw the onion and garlic in a food processor along with spinach and blitz it into a pretty fine chop. It saves time and adds a little nutrition boost. I’ve also rolled this into balls and baked in a bit of bone broth as meatballs. If you don’t feel like making your own ketchup, try Primal Kitchen’s ketchup for a no-sugar-added option.
Lemon Pepper Turmeric Salmon Cakes from Chronicles in Health
I recognize that many toddlers don’t like salmon. But if your toddler is going to like salmon, it’s probably this salmon. I really wanted to get salmon into my kid for the DHA that is critical to brain development. He got hooked on Serenity Kids salmon pouches that were made milder by butternut squash and beets, but when I tried to give him just the fish itself, he wasn’t having it. This recipe manages to make a fishy fish milder and delicious for adults and kids while also being quick and easy, and the perfect texture for toddler hands and mouths. If chunky onions freak out your little, just swap out with onion powder.
Zucchini Chicken Poppers from One Lovely Life
These aren’t terribly different from the other ground chicken/turkey recipes I’ve listed, but they add in a new veggie (zuchinni and mix up the flavors just enough to keep things interesting. I love the size and texture of meatballs and poppers for the toddler stage. Plus, you can batch cook and freeze like a champ.