Toddler Dinners: The Staples

I have had a variety of questions over time about what my “staples” are when I refer to them.  I try to keep stuff in the house that I can always whip together.  Say we are having a really spicy meal that I don’t think he will enjoy or we just walked in the door for lunch on a weekend. I need something to throw on a plate in 5 minutes tops.  This also includes fillers to other meals.

Entree Back Up Plans:

Frozen chicken nuggets – shit, I’m not super woman.  I know he will eat them.  If he is already in a bad mood, why provoke it with something new? Honestly I don’t use them that much.  I think I have had the package I have for like 2 months but I always have them.

Trader Joe’s mini ravioli (or any dried pasta) – They come in a bag of dry pasta in the pasta isle.  I can heat up a handful or 2 in about 10 minutes and fridge the leftovers.  He loves them

Hot dogs – I stick to turkey hot dogs.  He doesn’t seem to like the beef ones. Yeah they aren’t a super food but they are protein and get the job done.

PB&J – I mean DUH.  Granted wouldn’t work with peanut allergies but sandwiches are always easy.  I even have a bread cutter to make dinosaurs. Also? cut into small squares and stab with pretzels = sandwich dippers.

Eggs – He likes them scrambled.  Pretty easy to whip up. Good protein.

Yogurt – Vanilla greek yogurt.  I find the thicker yogurt, while healthier and more protein packed, is way less messy. We add fruit and/or granola. Loves the stuff.

Tortillas – Make quesadillas.  Another way to smuggle veggies in.


Carrots – Baby carrots.  About once or twice a week I steam a handful of them and keep them in the fridge.  I just steam them enough to soften them.  He doesn’t like them just straight raw. Add hummus for dip…DONE.

Bell peppers – I always keep peppers on hand for my own eating (salads, pizzas, etc) so he gets them.  They are sweet and crunchy.  They also keep pretty well vs other produce. I just slice a few slivers off and voila.

Frozen broccoli – Kid loves it.  I steam it in a little Pampered chef steamer I have in small batches and boom.

Canned green beans – These really are a last resort. I keep them so that day when all my produce went to shit, I have something give him. He likes them fine.  We move on.

Cucumbers – Get 1 slicing cucumber and I have pieces for a week or more.


Frozen mangoes – from Trader Joes.  Pop them in them mircowave for about 15 seconds to soften them up.

Frozen blueberries – likes them this way.  I do nothing but pour them from the bag.

Dried tart cherries – K and I like these so he gets them too.

Raisins – Like the child’s crack.  Also have them in yogurt covered form.

Apple sauce – We are in love with the little resealable applesauce pouches.  You can get them with veggies in there too.  This is usually “dessert” for Landon.  He likes the control of holding it himself.  Also? Less mess.

Apple/Pears – Just sliced.



Tortilla chips

Pirate’s Booty

Mac & cheese

Cereal bars


Frozen waffles

English muffins

String cheese

I am sure there is more but alas…I can’t think. Anyways, Here is our week in toddler meals. Remember to follow the hashtag #toddlerdinners on Instagram throughout the week! This week, breakfasts!

Toddler Dinners is my weekly series of posts to explore the world of feeding munchkins. Each Monday I will post our previous week’s meals and a rating on how they went as well as discuss numerous issues we all face. Find out more here.

Also be sure to follow me along throughout the week with your creations on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #toddlerdinners.

11 thoughts on “Toddler Dinners: The Staples

  • November 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    String cheese. I always forget about string cheese. And I need to just start putting crap on her dish and if she eats it, great.

  • November 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I think we both share a love affair with Trader Joes. So the frozen mango does okay when thawed? I’m always been hesitant unless I threw it in a smoothie. Good to know!

    Thanks for all the ideas. I seriously need them.

    • November 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm

      Yeah totally works! I have found TJ’s handles it best too. Target ones got too chewy. I don’t thaw them out completely…just enough to cut up. I also gave this to a teeth infant…i guess it was technically his first food though he didn’t eat it.

  • November 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    This is a great list, although my once culinarily adventurous 2 and a half year old is going through a particularly fussy phase. He won’t eat most meat. I think it’s a texture thing because he’ll occasionally do a meatball or sausage on a pizza, but chicken nuggets and hot dogs are no-gos. Weird.

    A few of my staples that are not listed above:
    Canned beans (especially baked beans or refried black beans) – The boy won’t eat meat, but he will request beans even for breakfast. I serve it straight out the cans. Classy, I know, but at least I know it won’t be too hot.

    Mrs. T’s Frozen Pierogies (the mini ones need to be cut up less and cook faster, but if we’re having them as the family meal I use the big ones) – A babysitter commented that she’d never heard a toddler request pierogies before. It’s pasta, potatoes, and cheese; why wouldn’t a toddler like that?

    Wheat mini bagels – These are good for cream cheese, peanut butter or cheese/tomato sauce (i.e. pizza bagels), and they’re kid sized!

  • November 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Very very helpful. Bookmarked!!

  • November 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I always keep yogurt on hand too, and like Landon, Daniel loves Greek yogurt – even the plain flavor! Raspberries & apples are staples, and I’m going to have to find a good frozen source for the raspberries very soon I’m afraid.

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  • June 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Great list!

    Our staples include:
    ~Plain Greek yogurt
    ~frozen peas & carrots from Whole Foods
    ~I make big batches of whole grain banana pancakes and muffins and keep them in the freezer
    ~PB&J or Almond butter & jelly (peanut free daycare situation)
    ~cheese, cheese, and more cheese
    ~milk – milk is her coffee in the morning, her wine in the evening, and her crack before nap. I literally don’t know what would happen if we ever ran out of milk, but the thought truly terrifies me.

    Out of the above, I can feed her. Pretty boring, but hey, it works. Now, my staples in general – that is too long for a comment 🙂

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