If you’ve got little eaters around your table, be it toddlers or bigger kiddos, I can tell you from experience that Michelle Piccolo is someone you want to follow. Soon after her son Jack began eating solids, Michelle focused her cooking efforts on creating wholesome foods for her little eater that were easy, flavorful, and fun. And it wasn’t long after that she started her food blog, Feeding Our Toddlers, to share her dinner ideas with other parents.
She’s a whiz at coming up with simple, toddler-friendly fare that doesn’t necessarily feel like “kid food” and also happens to pack in a helping or two of veggies and wholesome ingredients.
Here Michelle shares a week of toddler-friendly dinners and tells us how she does it.
Michelle (and Jack’s!) Toddler-Friendly Dinners the Whole Table Will Like
These are easy and delicious dinner ideas perfect for toddlers (and their grown-ups, too!). This plan features foods many toddlers love (hello, pasta!), plus plenty of wholesome ingredients and lots of veggies. I make a point to slot in dinners that will leave us with leftovers that can be served again or repurposed later in the week, because getting more than one meal from a cooking session is a huge win.
Monday: Spinach Pumpkin Seed Pesto
This pesto is full of flavor and ready in minutes! I wanted to create something healthful and hearty, so I use spinach and pumpkin seeds. I like to serve it over a chickpea or whole-wheat pasta with an extra drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
You’ll most likely have leftover pesto, which I like to use spread in grilled cheese sandwiches, tossed with veggies, or with meatballs. And since this pesto is nut-free you can incorporate it in a school lunch, too! For storing leftovers, I place in a jar topped with a little olive oil in the refrigerator (or you can also freeze, too).
Get the recipe: Spinach Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Tuesday: Turkey and Brown Rice Meatballs
Meatballs are always a hit at our house. Rather than just using typical meatball ingredients, I utilize a bunch of goodies in my refrigerator, like leftover brown rice and veggies. I often use chopped spinach and carrots, but any veggies you have in the fridge are fair game. Just blitz them in the food processor so they’re not so chunky in the meatball.
The end result is a delicious, power-packed meatball that can be easily warmed up on the stove before serving. Top with red sauce or my spinach pumpkin seed pesto, or even leave plain. You can serve with avocado, roasted veggies, polenta … whatever sides the family loves.
Get the recipe: Turkey and Brown Rice Meatballs
Wednesday: Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage
I have a batch of roasted broccoli in my refrigerator at all times, using it for a ton of different dishes. This one is a toddler-friendly spin on the classic orecchiette with pork sausage and broccoli rabe recipe. For this meal, I used Banza chickpea shells, cooked chicken sausage (cuts down on prep and is lighter than traditional pork sausage), and roasted broccoli. With a few other pantry and refrigerator staples, you have a super-yummy meal that is ready by the time the pasta is done cooking.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and warmed up in a pot with a little extra butter and chicken stock.
Get the recipe: Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage
Thursday: Beef and Spinach Sliders
I made these sliders for the first time at a BBQ a few summers ago and they were a bit hit with all of the kids. They are the perfect size for small hands, and it’s a great way to get a little bit of greens in their meal with the addition of spinach mixed in.
I like to top the burgers with provolone cheese and mashed avocado for added creaminess, but you could assemble with any of your favorite toppings.
Get the recipe: Beef and Spinach Sliders
Friday: Fluke Fish Sticks
If you have a fish stick-lover in your house, this is a simple way to make a fresh version that your toddler is sure to LOVE. It’s a super-easy recipe and makes for a great meal served with sides like corn on the cob, avocado, brown rice, or roasted sweet potatoes.
Get the recipe: Fluke Fish Sticks
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