Embrace The Messat Least A Little
Sorry, guys, but I have to end this list with a little tough love. Cooking is messy. Theres no way to completely avoid it. Kids learn so much from exploring new sensations and there are so many to experience when cooking. Review the advice above and remember, you dont have to go all in and bake a layer cake with your toddler. Start small, enjoy the crazy ride, and learn together. Wiping down the counter and sweeping the floor after will be worth it. I promise.
Grab my free ebook, Easy Snacktivities, with 8 simple, healthy recipes that help little chefs get creative with food. See some examples in the picture below. Click HERE to download it now!
What Equipment Do You Need To Cook With Toddlers
Cooking with toddlers doesnt mean that you need a whole new set of kitchen equipment instead, there are just a few essentials, a few that make things easier and some little extras that we recommend in the Rainy Day House check out our Guide of Equipment that you REALLY need for Cooking with Kids.
More About Cooking With Toddlers Easy Recipes
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Toddler Daily Nutritional Guidelines
According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, nutrients of concern for underconsumption in a childs second year are vitamin D, calcium, fiber, and potassium, so make sure your toddler gets a variety of foods with these nutrients daily.
Below are recommended daily intakes for toddlers of different ages. Still, its important to look at what your child eats throughout the whole week instead of focusing on each day since toddlers eating habits can be erratic and unpredictable. As long as you keep offering a variety of foods from all of the food groups, your childs nutrition should balance out each week.
Daily Recommended Intake for Toddlers 12-23 months
- 700-1,000 calories a day split between 3 meals and 2 snacks
- Half of the daily calories should be from healthy fats
- 2/3 1 cup of vegetables daily
- ½ 1 cup of fruit daily
- 1 ¾ 3 ounces of grains daily
- 1 2/3 2 cups of dairy daily
- 2 ounces of protein daily
Daily Recommended Intake for Toddlers 2-4 years
- 1,000-1,400 calories a day for girls and 1,000-1,600 calories for boys split between 3 meals and 1-2 snacks
- Healthy fats should be reduced to about 30% of total daily calories
- 1-2 cups of vegetables daily
- 1- 1 ½ cups of fruit daily
- 3 5 ounces of grains daily
- 2 2 ½ cups of dairy daily
- 2 5 ounces of protein daily
Things To Cook With Toddlers
As cooking engages all of the senses seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting cooking with toddlers provides them with fabulous sensory input that is really important for brain development. As a teacher and a mum I have cooked with toddlers many, many times and I find that cooking with toddlers can be lots of fun and relatively stress free with a little preparation. Here are my tips
- Choose a time when your toddler is not overly tired first thing in the morning or after naptime work well.
- To keep the cooking experience short to suit a short toddler attention span, pre-measure the ingredients before you begin and have them individually separated ready for your toddler to add to the mixing bowl or pot.
- Toddlers love to mix and stir so be sure to include mixing and stirring in the cooking experience!
- There will invariably be mess but that is part of the process too. Fortunately toddlers also love helping to clean up!
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How To Cook With Toddlers + Kids
Cooking with kids is fun and rewarding and these recipes are perfect for them to help you make! Here are some tips to make the most out of the experience.
- Keep it Simple: to get the most out of your time together in the kitchen, pick simple and straight forward recipes that dont need a lot of ingredients or have complicated cooking steps.
- Start Small: you dont want to make your kiddos overwhelmed on their first recipe, so start with simple tasks like measuring ingredients and mixing, and then progress to techniques that need a little more accuracy.
- Stay Safe: depending on the age and confidence of your kids, keep them away from sharp blades and hot ovens, but they will be able to do a lot of the prep and they will be so excited to eat!
- Read the Recipe: this might sound like a no-brainer, but make sure you read through the recipe first so you know exactly what you are getting yourself into.
- Be Prepared for a Mess: if you prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario, then, whatever happens, will be better than what you prepared for. Also, have lots of towels on hand )
These Easy Recipes For Kids Let Them Snack On What They Want And Give You One Less Thing To Do Score Plus It’s A Great Learning Experience Find Ideas For Elementary Middle And High School
Help your kids learneven over lunch hour. By preparing and cooking their own food, kids can indulge in what they actually want to eat during the school day and perhaps even stumble upon a new hobbyin addition to these fun activities, of course. These easy recipes are appropriate for elementary, middle and high school-age kids.
See our guide to age-appropriate cooking tasks.
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Festive Christmas Tree Pretzel Pops
The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
What could be better for munching on by the tree than these adorable festive Christmas tree pretzel pops? This Christmas treat is super easy to create, with only two ingredients, plus whatever sprinkles or toppings you choose to add. Green candy is melted in the microwave and then drizzled over store-bought pretzel rods to look like trees. The kids can then decorate the trees any way they like.
Tips For Making Easy Toddler Recipes
- Freezer-Friendly: a great way to make feeding your toddler super easy is always to have a stash of toddler-approved meals in the freezer. If there are any leftovers, I will place them in the freezer for a later meal. This works great for muffins, waffles, meatballs, chicken nuggets, etc. Basically, anything you can find in the grocery stores frozen section can be frozen with your own homemade recipes. You can also make a double batch of your kiddos favorite recipes so you can have a backup plan when life gets crazy .
- Make Once Serve Again: if you are making a bigger or more time-consuming meal , its a great idea to save the leftovers and use those in another toddler meal. You can serve the same meal or use parts of the meal in another meal altogether chicken can be added into cheese quesadillas, pasta can be served with a different sauce, soup can be served with different sides like grilled cheese or turkey sandwich or used as a sauce for pasta or rice.
- Quick Toddler Meals: a key way to not lose your mind is to always have a list for a quick meal for toddlers. Print out or make a list of these easy breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas and keep them on hand for when life is super crazy and your toddler needed to eat 10 minutes ago.
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Tips For Cooking With Toddlers
I put together some of my best tips for cooking with toddlersand perfect kitchen activities to start out withwhich you can find here.
My best tips are to keep things simple to start in terms of the recipes you choose, isolate just one or two steps until you get the hang of having a little sidekick, and let them do as much of the job themselves so they can really get into it and have fun.
Oh and also: Try your best not to stress too much about the messor at least know that its a normal part of the process.
What Makes A Good Recipe To Cook With Toddlers
Anything that you are going to cook with toddlers needs to be:
- Very forgiving on the ingredients
- Easy to follow instructions
- Not take ages and ages to put together
Weve got even more tips that make it easier check out them out here!
When you talk to anyone that likes to cook whether a mum in her kitchen or a chef they generally say something about the memories of being in the kitchen with their mothers, grandmothers and other family.
Those memories start early and if you can help your toddlers to be familiar with cooking and learning to cook earlier on as they get older you will find it easier and easier to cook with them.
I love this quote below and it sums up one of the reasons that despite the mess, the tearing my hair out by the roots and more! Ive made time for cooking with my kids and part of our family goals.
In the childhood memories of every good cook, theres a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom.Barbara Costikyan
Dont forget to make cooking fun! One of the ways we do it is that as we cook we sing along with some of our favourite Baking songs and rhymes!
If you have older children too then check out our recipes to cook with kids an A to Z there are lots of great recipes to try there.
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Instructions For Toddlers And Kids
Keep to simple recipes with your kids and read through the recipe instructions together. Take the recipe a task at a time so they dont get to overloaded with information.
In each of the recipes below, I have outlined a list of tasks that I think are appropriate for both toddlers and kids to do in the kitchen. This section is usually at the bottom of the post before the recipe card.
These tasks are, however, just a guideline.
Its normal that kids skills are all over the place when it comes to cooking some kids will have mastered basic culinary tasks at an early age, while others will only want to sit on the counter, make a mess and eat butter.
Its all about exposure, so meet your kiddo where they are and remember to have fun!
Make Recipes You Want To Eat
Theres nothing more frustrating than spending time and energy cooking with your child and them refusing to eat what youve made together. Toddlers and young kids are fickle creatures. My son will eat three bowls of oatmeal one morning then refuse to eat any the next. Sound familiar? So, to avoid frustration and food waste choose recipes either you or other family members will most likely enjoy if your little one doesnt. Your child does not have to eat what you cook to benefit from your time in the kitchen together! She is still learning, still being exposed to new textures, scents, and skills.
- Refer to my blog post 75 Best Recipes to Cook with Kids for some of my favorite recipes to make with little chefs.
- Choice: Its a great idea to give a child a choice between two recipes but still make sure they are recipes you are excited about too.
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Healthy Toddler Meal Ideas
Feeling stressed about what to serve your toddler? Are you short on time and not sure what your toddler might actually eat? Do you need some fresh ideas for new recipes?
Then this is the right place for you!
Ive compiled over 75 meals that are completely toddler-approved!
Thats right Ive tested them for you, so you wont have to! Over the years, Ive tested out hundreds of recipes on my daughters when they were toddlers and preschoolers, and these 75 recipes were clearly the winners because they still love eating them to this day!
Im not sure its okay to call your kids your test subjects but we are just going to go with it!
Feeding toddlers can be tricky! But, dont worry, Ive got you covered! Here you will find real-life toddler meal ideas, over 100 toddler snack ideas, great hidden-veggie recipes, 50 cooking with toddler recipes and so much more!
Cake Mix Sandwich Cookies With Strawberry Buttercream
No one will believe these impressive spring treats start with a boxed cake mix. The strawberry buttercream filling for these sandwich cookies uses both fresh and freeze-dried berries in order to deliver a potent punch of vibrant strawberry flavor.
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+ Easy Food Ideas For Toddlers
Its so easy to get stuck on some particular food for your toddlers especially if its their favourite that you tend to cook the same menu over and over again. Plus, for time-poor parents, theres just not enough time to prepare for their meals.
But, with our more than 50 food ideas for toddlers, preparing their meals is as easy as 1, 2, 3! Just choose from any of these dinner, finger food, snack, meat-free and dessert recipes that were sure your toddlers will enjoy
Orange And Banana Yogurt Smoothie
Sure, it’s a simple recipe, but it will still seem like magic to your child. He can do pretty much every step on his own. Tell your child about each ingredient as he puts it in the blenderthe yogurt has protein, which helps keep your belly full the juice adds flavor and makes it easier to mix, etc.to help him learn that each part has a purpose.
- Ease the measuring process by pre-pouring a little more orange juice than the recipe calls for into a small spouted cup that your child can handle easily. Katzen suggests placing a pie pan or tray under pouring vessels and measuring cups. That way, inevitable spills are contained.
- It’s not necessary to freeze the bananas, as the recipe states, though it will result in a thicker smoothie.
- Stress the ground rules for blender use: Children can turn the blender on and off themselves, but they can never put their hands into it. To be extra secure, keep the blender unplugged during prep, and plug in before it’s time to push go. And always make sure the top is on tight!
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Christmas Rice Crispy Treats
The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
Every kid loves the gooey, sweet taste of squares made from crispy rice cereal and marshmallows any time of year. These rice crispy treats are much the same but with a festive spin just for Christmas. They’re so easy to make and decorate, and the candy cane handles are extra fun to snack on.
Raspberry And Cream Cheese Brownie Bites
Who doesn’t love the classic combo of chocolate and raspberry? Add some sweetened cream cheese and you have the perfect dressed-up bite-sized brownies. For little and big kids: Let them help measure, mix and fill. For a bittersweet grown-up version, use strawberry jam or orange marmalade.
Get the Recipe: Kids Can Bake: Raspberry and Cream Cheese Brownie Bites
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Ways To Improve Your Kids Eating: Free Printable
Grab one of our most popular freebies: 9 Ways to Improve Your Kids Eating. These tips are invaluable and can have a drastic change on the way your child eats! Ill send it to your inbox and youll be added to our newsletter where we share all sorts of info about everything related to kids and food, as well as sensory processing.
Our Top Fun And Easy Baking Recipes For Toddlers & Kids With Quick No
If youve never baked with your kids or are just looking for something simple, then these easy baking recipes for toddlers and kids are a great place to start. Weve got lots of recipes on the site to suit all occasions and level, but here youll find our really easy baking recipes for toddlers and kids. From simple biscuit recipes for kids to try themselves to easy bakes and puddings that toddlers can help you to make, there should be something here for even the youngest, newest baker!
These recipes are a great place to start if youre stuck at home on a rainy day or are looking for activities for homeschooling children or preschoolers.
Ive separated our top recipes into sections depending on what youre looking for:
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