44 Meals Your Toddler Will Devour

Updated: Nov. 23, 2023

Newsflash: Toddlers don't have to be picky. In fact, encouraging your little one to try a variety of foods helps him become a good eater for life. Bring these kid-friendly meals to the table and watch that broccoli—and everything else on their plate—disappear.

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Beef ‘n’ Rice Enchiladas

With a toddler in the house, I look for foods that are a snap to make. Loaded with beef, cheese and a flavorful rice mix, these enchiladas come together without a fuss. But they’re so good that guests think I spent hours in the kitchen. —Jennifer Smith, Colona, Illinois

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Veggie Macaroni & Cheese

This creamy mac and cheese definitely doesn't come from a box! Fresh veggies add crunch and color and will leave everyone asking for seconds. —Marsha Morril, Harrisburg, Oregon
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Weeknight Skillet Spinach Pie

I love sneaking extra veggies into my kids’ dinners, especially with this skillet spinach pie recipe. Because of this pie's flaky crust and extra cheese, the kids never know they’re eating a vitamin-rich dish. Plus, I’m not hovering over an oven for hours. Put the spinach and phyllo sheets in the refrigerator the night before or early in the morning for thawing. —Kristyne McDougle, Lorain, Ohio
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The Ultimate Grilled Cheese

These gooey grilled cheese sandwiches taste great for lunch with sliced apples. And they're really fast to whip up, too. Here's how to make grilled cheese the right way. —Kathy Norris, Streator, Illinois
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Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese

My kids and I love mac and cheese. We always get it in the bread bowls when we're at a restaurant, but with three cheeses, these white cheddar shells are filling on their own. —Steven Schend, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

This dish is a real crowd-pleaser with its smooth sauce, chunks of ham and potato slices. I always enjoyed it when Mother made it for us. I added parsley and thyme, and now my husband and five children request it all the time. —Wendy Rhoades, Yacolt, Washington
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Mini Bagelizzas

Garlic powder gives these speedy mini pizzas extra pizzazz. Not only are they a snap to put together, but best of all, the ingredient list is easy on your pocketbook. My husband loves them. And my toddler will soon enjoy them as an after-school treat. -Stephanie Klos-Kohr, Moline, Illinois
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Swedish Meatballs

Mom fixed this Swedish meatball recipe for all sorts of family dinners, potluck suppers and PTA meetings. The scent of browning meat is intoxicating. Add to that the sweet smell of onions caramelizing, and everyone’s mouth starts watering. —Marybeth Mank, Mesquite, Texas
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Cauliflower Gratin

This is a lower-carb side dish that pairs well with pork, ham or beef. It's so creamy and delicious! If you like a bit of crunch, sprinkle buttered bread crumbs over the top for the last five minutes in the oven. — Mary Zinchiak, Boardman, Ohio
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Sloppy Joe Pasta

Since I found this quick-to-fix recipe a few years ago, it's become a regular part of my menu plans. Everyone loves the combination of sloppy joe ingredients, shell pasta and cheddar cheese. —Lynne Leih, Idyllwild, California
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Pumpkin Alfredo with Chicken

I love pumpkin and my kids love pasta, so this pumpkin Alfredo recipe is a match made in heaven for us. Plus, it's an extra way to get some veggies into their diet. Use dairy-free or gluten-free ingredients if needed. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
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On-the-Go Breakfast Muffins

My muffins are a frequent request from everyone in the family. I usually make them on Sunday nights, so when we're running late on weekday mornings, the kids can grab these to eat on the bus. —Irene Wayman, Grantsville, Utah
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Pizza in a Bowl

On busy days, it's a comfort to know that my family can sit down to dinner minutes after we walk in the door. Double it to wow at a potluck. This recipe works in a slow cooker, too. —Virginia Krites, Cridersville, Ohio
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Over-the-Top Baked Ziti

I adapted a ziti recipe to remove ingredients my kids did not like, such as ground beef. The revised recipe was a success not only with my family but at potlucks too. It's so versatile: You can use jarred sauce, double or triple the recipe, and even freeze it. —Kimberley Pitman, Smyrna, Delaware Field Editor
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Chili Cheese Dog Casserole

Kids and adults alike will dive into this hearty, comforting dish. With a crispy cheese topping on a warm cornbread crust, this recipe is a keeper. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Chocolate Chip Elvis Pancakes

I'm one of 13 children, so making a recipe that everyone likes can be a challenge. This chocolate peanut butter pancakes recipe was a Saturday-morning special that we all loved. —Keenan McDermott, Springfield, Missouri
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Pico de Gallo Black Bean Soup

Everyone at my table goes for this feel-good soup. It is quick when you’re pressed for time and beats fast food, hands down. —Darlis Wilfer, West Bend, Wisconsin
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Quick Tangy Sloppy Joes

I adjusted three different recipes to come up with this one. Kids like the tangy taste and request the sandwiches for birthday parties.—Anna Adams, Chatsworth, California
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Chocolate-Hazelnut Fruit Pizza

You can prepare this snackable pizza in just 10 minutes! It's a fun way to sneak in those daily servings of fruit. —Dalynn Dowling, Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota
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Crispy Sage Chicken Tenders

One of my mom's favorite chicken recipes used fresh sage. Her version was smothered with gravy, but we like these panko-crusted tenders as they are. —Deb Perry, Traverse City, Michigan
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PBJ on a Stick

Take the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the go with these skewers. They also make easy snacks. —Sara Martin, Brookfield, Wisconsin
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Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken

This is a fabulous slow-cooker ranch chicken recipe that we have passed around to all our friends, especially those who have young children. It's wonderful for a cold winter night or a hot summer day when you don't want to turn on the oven. Serve it as a weeknight family dinner or for a large group. —Sonya Stark, West Jordan, Utah
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French Toast Fingers

Kids love anything on a stick. Bite-sized French toast skewers make a fun breakfast for them to munch before heading out the door. —Mavis Diment, Marcus, Iowa
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Mini Mac & Cheese Bites

Young relatives were coming for a Christmas party, so I wanted something fun for them to eat. To my surprise, it was the adults who devoured these mini mac and cheese bites. —Kate Mainiero, Elizaville, New York
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Hot Dog Roll-Ups

Not only do my grandchildren love these cheese-filled hot dogs, they enjoy helping put the meal together, too. It's the perfect solution when you need a last-minute lunch. —Lyletta Searle, Morgan, Utah
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Corned Beef Hash and Eggs

Sunday breakfasts have always been special in our house. It's fun to get in the kitchen and cook with the kids. No matter how many new recipes we try, the kids always rate this No. 1! —Rick Skildum, Maple Grove, Minnesota
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Lunch Box Pizzas

When you have these fun-to-make mini pizzas, it's no challenge finding lunch fare that the kids enjoy. Plus they pack nicely in sandwich bags and travel well, so there's no mess. —Rhonda Cliett, Belton, Texas
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Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole

This chicken bacon ranch casserole is a dinner that both of my wonderful (but picky!) children will eat. I can easily make it ahead and then bake it right before serving. Sometimes I add 2 cups of cooked veggies, like peas or chopped broccoli, for a complete meal. —Rebekah Schultz, Mantua, New Jersey
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Cheesy Quesadillas

We serve these quesadillas as chili dippers or load them up with salsa and sour cream for a super starter. —Terri Keeney, Greeley, Colorado
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Cowboy Stew

I made up this cowboy stew in the early 1970s when I was down to very little food in the house. Because it's a combination of barbecue sauce, hamburger, hot dogs and beans, this one-skillet meal makes both children and adults happy. —Val Rananawski, Millville, New Jersey
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Roasted Winter Vegetables

A few simple touches and a blast of heat enhance the natural sweetness of fresh veggies. —Donna Lamano, Olathe, Kansas
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Ravioli Casserole

The whole family will love this yummy dish that tastes like lasagna without all the fuss. Time-saving ingredients like prepared spaghetti sauce and frozen ravioli make it a cinch to put together. Children can help you assemble this one. —Mary Ann Rothert, Austin, Texas
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Easy Arroz con Pollo

My children really look forward to dinner when they know I'm serving this. Plus, it's easy to make. —Debbie Harris, Tucson, Arizona
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Parmesan Fish Sticks

I wanted a healthier approach to fish sticks and developed a baked tilapia with a slightly peppery bite. My husband and sons love the crispy coating. —Candy Summerhill, Alexander, Arkansas
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Peanut Butter Granola Pinwheels

I came across this easy and tasty snack while searching online for healthy munchies for kids. Great for after school, it's really quick to make and filling enough to hold the kids until dinner. To satisfy heftier appetites or to serve as a power lunch, cut each tortilla into fewer pieces or provide one per child. The recipe is easy to increase as needed. —Mary Haluch, Ludlow, Massachusetts
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Garlic-Cheese Flatbread

Unless you plan to make two, don't count on leftovers. As an appetizer or side, this cheesy flatbread will be devoured in less time than it takes to bake. And that's not long! —Suzanne Zick, Maiden, North Carolina
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Apple and Peanut Butter Stackers

The best way to get kids interested in cooking and eating right is to let them help. These apple and peanut butter "sandwiches" are one fun way to pique their interest and kitchen creativity. —Shirley Warren, Thiensville, Wisconsin
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Pigs in a Pool

My kids love sausages and pancakes but making them during the week was out of the question. I bought the frozen variety on a stick but wasn't keen on the calories, additives or price. This version of pigs-in-a-blanket is a tasty, thrifty alternative. —Lisa Dodd, Greenville, South Carolina
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Mexican-Inspired Chicken Soup

This zesty chicken taco soup is loaded with corn and black beans in a mildly spicy red broth. As a busy mom of three young children, I'm always looking for dinner recipes that can be prepared in the morning. The kids love the taste of this easy soup. —Marlene Kane, Lainesburg, Michigan
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Refreshing Tropical Fruit Salad

Want a family-friendly side dish? This colorful medley is kid-pleasing and a great way to encourage healthy eating. —Sharon Ricci, Spooner, Wisconsin
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Ham Noodle Dinner

Whether I'm cooking for company or my own brood of five children, this delicious casserole is always well-received. —Eileen Nilsson, Plymouth, Massachusetts
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Hot Dog Casserole

When our children were small and I was busy trying to get all those extra things done, I would make this quick hot dish. Kids love it! —JoAnn Gunio, Franklin, North Carolina
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