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Kid Friendly Salads

toddler meal ideas

Now that I have a toddler, I can’t just whip up a salad and call it dinner.  Crunchy raw veggies aren’t exactly baby-friendly, considering their limited number of teeth.  But sometimes I don’t have time for anything more complex than salad, let alone time to make two separate dinners.  And like many busy parents, I often haven’t planned ahead enough to have a variety of other appropriate foods on-hand.

So here’s how I improvise, in a way that allows Lucy to eat what we’re eating:

toddler meal ideas

I make a “toddler salad,” which includes the soft components of our meal cut up into baby bite-sized pieces.  It’s low maintenance, healthy, and I like that she sees the same foods on her own plate that are also on ours.

toddler dinner ideas

Since plain veggies are not always super appealing, I make sure she has some dip or dressing on the side for veggie-dunking.

toddler meal ideas

And voila, dinner is served.

Of course, she doesn’t always gobble down every veggie on her plate.  But she does try – and like – at least a few veggies each time we eat like this.

And even for older kids, this method may work.  As long as you provide a few items you already know your kids like, and offer a few different dip options, you’re likely to have a successful meal.


  • Alexandria Vegetarian Bagpiper
    August 29, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    These are great!

  • Abby Neumiller
    August 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Can you give me some ideas for dipping sauce for toddlers? My daughter is into ketchup but I need some other ideas. Thanks!

  • Amelia
    September 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Hi Abby,
    Probably nothing earth-shattering, but we love tzaziki, all sorts of hummus, black and white bean dips, artichoke dip (just blend artichoke hearts with a few dollops of ricotta or 1/2 cup of white beans + olive oil), ricotta blended with pesto, and mild salsa. These alone can keep Lucy interested for weeks! Hope this helps 🙂

  • Laura
    June 8, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    My little boys *love* eating their veggies this way. Your pics looks soooo delicious. We dip in pesto – different kinds depending on the greens and nuts we have on hand.

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