What to Feed a Toddler

I’ll admit it – I’m an odd duck. When my son became a toddler and started rejecting whatever fruit, vegetable, or meat Gerber saw fit to blend and bottle (because, really, what self-respecting preschooler would eat pureed meals?), I panicked. “What am I going to do?” I thought. “I have no idea what to feed a toddler!”

It’s been a challenge, no doubt, but finally, after a year of trial and error, I think I have crafted a long list of toddler-approved, healthy foods that can be given as a snack or combined to create a nutritious meal. Below are some of the toddler-friendly foods that have worked for me:

Best BetsĀ 

  • Edamame (soy beans) – This tops my list. You can buy it shelled and frozen, so it’s easy to prepare. It’s fun for toddlers to eat since they use their fingers, and it’s packed with lots and lots of protein!
  • Yogurt – Possibly my son’s favorite food. Full of calcium and protein.
  • Berries – The antioxidant power of berries is amazing. Plus, toddlers love the sweet taste of this finger food.
  • Baby Carrots – Carrots are filled with beta carotene. Small, easy-to-eat baby carrots are perfect for little hands.
  • Cheese – I have not yet found a type of cheese my son dislikes. Usually, I buy a big block of Cheddar and cut off squares to make a healthy, calcium-filled snack.
  • Oatmeal– Oatmeal is both a filling and nutrient-rich breakfast. Almost all oatmeal is fortified with vitamins and minerals. Because oatmeal is thick and somewhat sticky, it’s the perfect texture for toddlers learning to use a spoon (it won’t fall off so easily).

Honorable Mention

  • Avocado – Delicious, mild flavor and full of all the “good fats” you want your toddler to eat. The only possible drawback is the texture, which toddlers will sometimes reject.
  • Tuna – My son would eat tuna morning, noon, and night if I let him. While fish is a great food to feed your toddler (hello, omega-3), tuna has a high mercury content so you should give it to your toddler in moderation.
  • Peanut Butter – A healthy source of protein and fat, especially when paired with whole wheat bread. Plus, toddlers love all the different shapes you can make out of their sandwiches. Just make sure that your toddler is clear of allergies first.

Remember – it’s mostly about fun. Position the food as a special treat or let your toddler prepare it with you. And hey, if all else fails, a Flintstones vitamin ought to put your mind at ease.

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8 Replies to “What to Feed a Toddler”

  1. My kids love, love, love yogurt, too. And carrots dipped in ranch dip are always a big hit. They also like bananas, grapes and watermelon quite a bit, too.

  2. Noah loves edamame. He’s working on using the fork and spoon at the moment and since he doesn’t have any molars, we’re still sort of stuck with what we can do for meals. He’s obsessed with chicken parmesan, veggie corndogs, TJ’s turkey meatballs, PB&J, grilled cheese and his alltime fav is blueberries.

  3. One thing I’ve learned with my darling toddler is that one day he might eat anything you put in front of him and the very next day throw one of those same things right at you. It’s not so much that he’s picky, it’s that he’s picky about what he eats on certain days. An odd kid.

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