Best baby food for dinner
Baby and toddler meal ideas
If you need some inspiration to help you cook healthy and tasty food for your child, try these meal ideas.
These are not suitable as first foods but are fine once your baby is used to eating a wide range of solid foods. Read more about your baby's first solid foods.
When preparing food for babies, do not add sugar or salt (including stock cubes and gravy) directly to the food or to the cooking water.
You can find more recipes and meal ideas on the Start4Life website.
Breakfast ideas for babies and young children
- unsweetened porridge or lower-sugar cereal mixed with whole milk and topped with fruit, such as mashed ripe pear or banana
- wholewheat biscuit cereal (choose lower-sugar options) with whole milk and fruit
- lower-sugar breakfast cereal and unsweetened stewed apple with plain, unsweetened yoghurt
- toast fingers with mashed banana and smooth peanut butter (if possible, choose unsalted and no added sugar varieties)
- toast fingers with a hard-boiled egg and slices of tomato, banana or ripe peach
- toast or muffin fingers with scrambled egg and slices of tomato
Lunch ideas for babies and young children
- lamb curry with rice
- cauliflower cheese with cooked pasta pieces
- baked beans (reduced salt and sugar) with toast
- scrambled egg with toast, chapatti or pitta bread served with vegetable finger foods
- cottage cheese (full-fat) dip with pitta bread, cucumber and carrot sticks
Dinner ideas for babies and young children
- mashed sweet potato with chickpeas and cauliflower
- shepherd's pie (made with beef or lamb and/or lentils or vegetarian mince) with green vegetables
- rice and mashed peas with courgette sticks
- minced chicken and vegetable casserole with mashed potato
- mashed canned salmon with couscous and peas
- fish poached in milk with potato, broccoli and carrot
Finger foods for babies and young children
Finger food is food that's cut up into pieces big enough for your child to hold in their fist with a bit sticking out. Pieces about the size of your own finger work well.
Examples of finger foods:
- soft-cooked vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, courgette, parsnip and sweet potato
- carrot or cucumber sticks and avocado
- fresh fruits, such as apple (soft-cooked if needed), banana or soft, ripe peeled pear or peach
- toast, pitta or chapatti fingers
- unsalted and unsweetened rice or corn cakes
- strips of meat without bones, such as chicken and lamb
- cheese on toast fingers, made with full-fat cheese, and cucumber
- hard boiled eggs
- omelette fingers
Healthy snacks for young children
Babies under 12 months do not need snacks; if you think your baby is hungry in between meals, offer extra milk feeds instead.
Once your baby is 1 year old, you can introduce 2 healthy snacks in between meals. For example:
- vegetables, such as broccoli florets, carrot sticks or cucumber sticks
- slices of fruit, such as apple, banana or soft, ripe peeled pear or peach
- pasteurised, plain, unsweetened full-fat yoghurt
- toast, pitta or chapatti fingers
- unsalted and unsweetened rice or corn cakes
- small strips of cheese
Getting your child to eat fruit and vegetables
It may take up to 10 tries, or even more, for your child to get used to new foods, flavour and textures.
Be patient and keep offering a variety of fruits and vegetables, including ones with bitter flavours, such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and cabbage.
Try to make sure fruits and vegetables are included in every meal.
To help your child eat more fruit and vegetables:
- give carrot sticks, cucumber sticks or slices of pepper with hummus as a snack
- give apple slices with smooth peanut butter as a snack
- mix chopped or mashed vegetables with rice, mashed potatoes, meat sauces or dhal
- add vegetables to classic savoury dishes such as cottage or shepherd's pie, spaghetti bolognese or casseroles
- chop prunes or dried apricots into cereal or plain, unsweetened yoghurt, or add them to a stew
- for a tasty dessert, try mixing fruit (fresh, canned or stewed) with plain, unsweetened yoghurt
Read more about helping your baby enjoy new foods and fussy eaters.
Drinks for babies and young children
Find out about drinks and cups for babies and young children.
Page last reviewed: 21 December 2022
Next review due: 21 December 2025
9 Best Dinner Foods for Your Baby to Help Him Sleep Peacefully All Night! (With Recipes)
Putting your baby to sleep is perhaps one of the toughest tasks you need to accomplish every day. Babies wake up often every night and find it difficult to sleep at a stretch. This also affects your health as you need to stay up with your baby and help him feel better. Very often, your baby finally falls asleep at 6 AM and for you, it is time to get started on the new day! Well, what if you found that making a couple of changes in your baby’s dinner can solve this problem?
If your baby has weaned off breastmilk and been introduced to solid foods, he probably eats a variety of things for dinner. Purees, porridge, rice, fruits…Our purpose is to keep his dinner nutritious, filling and easy to digest. But here’s the interesting part: research suggests that diet has a very crucial role to play in your baby’s SLEEP cycle!
The contents of any food item that we consume have an effect on our overall health. While some foods make us alert and wakeful (think coffee, for adults), there are certain food products that are known to promote sleep. These food items combined with complex carbohydrates help in the release of sleep-promoting substances in the body. This makes your baby feel sleepy and comfortable after his dinner. Simply put, this means he is likelier to nap sooner and for longer!
Did you know that according to some studies in child development, each sleepless hour a night can potentially cut down TWO cognitive years in a baby?
9 Dinner Food Recipes for Babies to Help them Sleep Better Through the Night
Here are 9 dinner foods for babies that are not just nutritious and easy to digest but also help your little one get a good night’s sleep!
1. Warm Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a wholesome food in itself, extremely healthy for both babies and adults. But here’s the best part: it is also an excellent source of melatonin which helps trigger insulin production. Insulin in turn helps in inducing sleep! You can prepare oatmeal in many different forms, the simplest of which is a porridge, light and easy to digest for babies. We recommend mixing it up with apples to improve both the taste and the nutrition quotient.
Recipe: Oats Porridge With Apples
2. White Rice
Rice is well-known be high in glycemic index. This, according to several scientific studies, has been found to help people sleep better and faster. Now you know why many people tend to feel sleepy after consuming rice! Although brown rice is highly recommended for babies due to its higher nutrient value, white rice has a higher glycemic index when compared to brown. Plus, rice is easily digested by babies and is light on the stomach too. Try this rice pudding with apples again – quite a delicious dinner food to help your baby nap!
Recipe: Apple Rice Pudding
As mothers, we keep stressing on feeding green leafy vegetables to our little ones. We want them to reap the benefits of nutrients such as iron, vitamins and minerals. But did you know that apart from providing the required nutrients, green veggies are also rich in tryptophan – an amino acid that our bodies use to synthesize proteins? Tryptophan also helps in the production of melatonin – the body’s ‘sleep hormone’! It is also called the body clock hormone as it determines the baby’s sleep-wake cycles. Whew, spinach has so many other health benefits that its sleep-inducing property is just another feather in its cap!
Cherries are another great addition to your baby’s dinner, for the same reason as spinach – they are replete with melatonin, the sleep hormone! They are also quite delicious which means your baby is likelier to accept them easily. Keep in mind that tart cherries contain the most amount of melatonin so choose them over the sweet ones.
How to Feed: It is best to de-seed and puree the cherries before feeding your baby. This makes them easier to consume and digest.
Watch: An Easy Cherry Puree Recipe for Your Baby
- All you need are cherries, either frozen or fresh. Defrost the frozen cherries for 4-5 hours before preparing the puree.
- Puree the cherries in the food processor or blender.
- Place the mix on a low-medium flame for 5 minutes. Remove when it starts steaming.
- Strain the mixture to get out the chunky bits with a mesh sieve.
Bananas are loved by many babies for their soft, sweet taste. But did you know that they contain a good amount of magnesium which is a natural muscle relaxant? Relaxed muscles mean your baby feels sleepier after dinner and eventually sleeps better! Apart from this, bananas also have good amounts of melatonin and serotonin. We recommend the following banana puree recipe for your little one.
Recipe: Banana Puree
If you are a non-vegetarian, you may be considering introducing chicken in your baby’s diet. You have a great reason too! Chicken contains high levels of tryptophan. And as we discussed, this amino acid will definitely make your baby sleepy post dinner! Needless to say, chicken will also take care of the protein requirements of your baby. It is a great idea to begin with shredded pieces and soup post the age of 8 months. Here is a recipe you can try to reap the double protein benefits of chicken and lentils. If your baby is old enough to self-feed, serve it in a bowl that has his favourite cartoon characters for maximum attention! 😉
Walnuts help the body in the production of serotonin – a chemical that soothes the brain and affects the mood of a person, making them more relaxed. This helps them sleep better and longer. Walnuts also contain melatonin which, as we saw, is great for napping. We recommend adding walnuts to your baby’s dinner after making sure there are no small pieces that can induce choking. Nuts are recommended for babies after they have crossed the one year milestone so as to minimise risks of allergies. Consult your paediatrician to discuss this further.
Legumes, in general, are high in protein as well as tryptophan and hence a great sleep promoter. But apart from high protein content, chickpeas are also high in iron, potassium, fibre and vitamins K, C and B-6. This makes them a great, nutritious dinner food! It is advised to boil the beans and mash them to include in your baby’s diet. This makes it easy for them to consume as well as digest chickpeas.
9. Dairy Products
Finally, this one is no surprise – the milk before bed-time is certainly a great idea. But even apart from milk, other dairy products like cheese and paneer are also packed with tryptophan. Hence, something like a bowl of bananas mashed in milk an hour prior to bedtime will ensure your baby sleeps comfortably through the night. Also, if going for cheese, opt for swiss and cheddar as they have the maximum amount of tryptophan. You can also make the following recipe part of your baby’s dinner sometimes, for a special treat! It is tailored especially to a baby’s taste and digestive power.
Did You Know:
Certain foods like sugar and caffeine are stimulating in nature and hence the term ‘sugar rush’ is actually a real thing. It is therefore advisable not to include food items containing these properties right before bedtime. As a rule, go easy on the sugar you add to any baby food to also protect your child from the risk of tooth decay and developing unhealthy eating habits.
Tips While Feeding Your Baby to Ensure Sleep Throughout the Night
When babies first begin eating solid foods, they may experience discomfort that also affects their sleep. There can be several reasons for this. For one, their digestive system is still coping with the sudden change from liquids to solids. The timings between the feeding of solids and milk probably haven’t been properly worked out yet. Sometimes, the quality of the food matters more than the quantity consumed. Apart from this, there may be certain things in the breastfeeding routine of the baby that is holding up their sleep schedules. You can follow these following tips to induce a long night’s sleep in your baby!
- While breastfeeding, keep the light turned off so as to make it clear that it’s not daytime. Alternatively, you can use a nightlight or dimmer switch. Use white noises (such as the hum of the fan) in the background which can help soothe the baby.
- Ensure that you burp your baby after breastfeeding; otherwise, trapped air in his stomach can cause him to wake up.
- Fixing a schedule for the baby’s eating and sleeping patterns is beneficial for the baby’s overall development. From the months of 4 to almost 18, it is ideal that bedtime should be between 7 to 8 pm, depending on where your baby is along the age line. Accordingly, dinner should be timed an hour or 1.5 hours before the baby’s bedtime.
- It’s not just dinnertime that should be fixed. The baby’s daytime routine also plays an important role in getting him to sleep through the night. Schedule timings for his meals and naps as is age-appropriate. Eventually, this can help the baby naturally feel drowsy by his bedtime.
- One of the main reasons for babies to wake in the middle of the night can be indigestion, because of which the child faces discomfort. ‘Tummy Time’ is gaining popularity among new parents now, owing to its several benefits, one of which is improving digestion. Lying on their tummy during the day (for example supervised floor play) provides the baby’s abdominal organs with a kind of ‘massage’, which also helps to relieve gas, and stimulate normal bowel movements. Keep in mind that this should not be done immediately after a meal. Also, while babies should compulsorily be made to sleep on their back only, tummy time during their waking hours can be of help.
- It will take up to the age of 8-9 months for the baby to sleep through the entire night (meaning a consolidated 11-12 hours of sleep). To remove the association of feeding and sleeping in their brains, it is important to wean your baby off being fed to sleep. Start with moving his nursing at the beginning of his bedtime routine (rather than at the end). If he persists in waking, make it earlier. i.e right before/after dinnertime.
- Remember to put your baby down to sleep when he is drowsy, but still awake. Rushing to get your baby to sleep right after nursing can prove to be problematic, as when the baby wakes up, he doesn’t know how to fall asleep on his own. Instead, when he is feeling calm and relaxed and is frequently closing his eyes, put him down to bed, and let him learn to put himself to sleep. Keep in mind that it may take a week or so for the baby to develop this habit.
Along with the baby’s food habits, something that can help your baby’s sleep routine is having your partner take charge as well. Dr. Diana Julian, Child Sleep Consultant, talks about how fathers can be the secret to a baby’s blissful sleep and various techniques they can incorporate. The father can feed the baby a bottle of breast milk during the night feedings, which makes for a dad-baby bonding session as well. Some mothers also claim that since their husbands took charge of rocking their baby to sleep when he wakes, it has proved to be a success! It could be because the baby associates feeding to the mother and expects to be fed when he wakes in the middle of the night and sees her. Try a role-reversal and see how that works out for you!
Is Your Diet Affecting Your Breastfed Baby’s Sleep?
When your breastfed baby refuses to sleep throughout the night, there are doubts that can creep into your mind regarding the effects of your breastmilk on your baby’s sleep. While there is no concrete research which state that elements of your diet can affect your breastmilk, there are certain tried-and-tested techniques by mothers which seem to alter their babies’ sleeping patterns.
The first thing to note is that breast milk is not made up of what you eat, but what is in your blood. So there is no particular list of foods that is applicable for mothers’ to avoid. However, if you seem to incorporate caffeine and sugar a little more than the healthy amount in your daily diet, cutting it down is ideal – it definitely will help to improve your overall health!
There are some mothers who have seen a slight improvement in their babies’ sleep patterns once their caffeine/sugar intake was reduced as well. Another possibility to consider is allergic reactions to some food nutrients that may be passed on through your breast milk to your baby. If symptoms like diarrhea, rashes, fussiness, gas, colic and so on keep your baby up at night, keep a track of what you eat and when these symptoms show up. If you see a link, reduce the suspected food and speak to your health-care provider about further remedies.
So moms, make sure you include these food items in your baby’s dinner to help him sleep uninterrupted. If your baby sleeps well, he will be happy and active the next morning, and so will you! Do you know of more recipes and sleep-promoting dinner foods for babies? Share them with other mommies by leaving a comment below.
150 dishes with step by step photos
Recipes according to GOST for children in kindergarten from 1 to 7 years. Proven recipes with step by step photos, calories and cooking time. Breakfasts for children, lunches, dinnersBreakfast like in kindergarten Porridge like in kindergarten Soups like in kindergarten Second courses like in kindergarten Side dishes like in kindergarten Kindergarten vegetable recipes Desserts and pastries like in kindergarten Salads like in kindergarten nine0002 Children are often reluctant to eat in kindergarten. The food is unusual, not homemade, “strange”.
But it often happens the other way around: “I want it to be like in a kindergarten!”. If this is your case, then this collection of kindergarten-style recipes is perfect for you and your child. Read more
Quince has a pleasant aroma and delicate fruity taste, and can be used to make a variety of dishes, including delicious desserts.
With or without apples, with jam or sour cream, these pancakes are good for everyone. nine0003
Sauerkraut soup like in kindergarten is recommended for older children.
Kindergarten-style cheese omelette is a wonderful breakfast for the whole family. Due to the presence of cheese in the recipe, the omelet is not bland, so parents will also like it.
Oranges are citrus fruits that we see on the shelves of shops all year round.
Fish baked in an omelette like in a kindergarten - a dish that is absolutely predictable in taste. nine0003
So many parents experience their children's dislike for vegetables, and this is often frustrating.
Adding another great soup to my kindergarten recipe box. Bean dishes are always hearty and healthy, and green peas, moreover, not only cook quickly, but also please with their beautiful green color.
After a year, the children's menu expands significantly and one of the first dishes that are introduced into the diet of babies is puree soups. nine0003
Pretty satisfying, thanks to potatoes, and fresh, thanks to cucumber, the salad will surely appeal to children.
In winter and spring, it is recommended to introduce dried fruits into the children's diet, since fresh fruits at this time of the year contain much less vitamins and nutrients.
Another salad in the piggy bank of recipes according to the kindergarten's technological maps.
From the age of about a year, fruits are introduced into the child's diet. Of course, if a child has few teeth and still cannot chew pieces, then we can only talk about fruit purees. nine0003
I would never have thought that rabbit meatballs like in kindergarten can be so tender and juicy!
Carrots stewed with rice and prunes, like in kindergarten - hearty, tasty, slightly sweet and, thanks to prunes, very fragrant dish.
Almost everyone remembers this pasta and cottage cheese casserole, it was a frequent guest on the tables in many kindergartens.
Boiled pasta baked with eggs, as in kindergarten, is suitable not only for a children's table, but can also be an interesting side dish for people on a diet (suitable for diets No. 3, No. 4c, diets No. 6, 7, 8, 10 , 11 and 15). nine0003
Soup-puree from zucchini, like in kindergarten, turns out to be very tender, calm, pleasant to the taste.
How many children love cauliflower? I don't know them :) Usually, the very smell of boiled cauliflower already drives the children out of the kitchen, but not in this case.
Fish patties with vegetables baked like in kindergarten - quite an interesting dish.
Delicious and fragrant garnish with a golden crust is potatoes baked in sour cream, like in a kindergarten. nine0003
Now even small children know that it is healthy to eat vegetables, but few people realize that the color of these vegetables is also of great importance.
Delicious, hearty and healthy chopped chicken fillet with scrambled eggs and vegetables, cooked like in a kindergarten, the whole family will like it.
Using the most common and familiar products in every kitchen, let's cook krupenik like in kindergarten.
Children are often reluctant to eat in kindergarten. The food is unusual, not homemade, “strange”. nine0003
But it often happens the other way around: “I want it like in a kindergarten!”. If this is your case, then this collection of kindergarten-style recipes is perfect for you and your child.
In addition, all the recipes from this collection are prepared according to technological maps for preschool institutions and are ideal for organizing baby food.
If your "Nehochuha" eats mostly pasta and refuses to eat anything else, you will find suitable options here to diversify your child's diet. nine0003
For example, if a child eats semolina in kindergarten but refuses to eat it at home, you can find here the recipe for semolina in the form in which the child eats it in kindergarten.
The same applies to recipes for other breakfasts, as well as soups, second courses and side dishes. The taste and appearance of the dishes is the same as in kindergarten. Suitable for children from 1.5 to 7 years and their parents. After all, we often have to eat up for our "Nehochuhs", don't we? :)
By the way, you will probably be interested in our training “ How to teach a child to eat right in two weeks? ” .
20 recipes from Eat at Home. Cooking articles and life hacks
Pleasing young gourmets is not an easy task, especially if you need to prepare not only tasty, but also healthy dishes. When the supply of ideas runs out, time-tested recipes and children's smiles come to the rescue. See the selection from "Eat at Home" and delight young household members with delicious treats!
Children's vegetable soup
Grated cheese, pieces of boiled meat can be added to this soup, and older children will love the fried bacon added before serving, sparkling golden snake in the middle of the plate. If you are whipping soup, then 2 tbsp. l. cream will make it even more tender.
Children's sausages and sausages with cream
Homemade sausages and sausages can be prepared in reserve and kept in the freezer. Hearty meat products will always be a good addition to lunch or dinner, and most importantly, this is a natural product. nine0003
Children's pumpkin risotto
Who said that children wouldn't like risotto?! Add fragrant pumpkin, grated cheese, cream, and your gourmets will not resist such an appetizing dish. Parmesan can be substituted for any other hard cheese in this recipe.
Sloppy Joe Sandwich
If your child has long dreamed of a hearty burger or sandwich, please your child! Make Sloppy Joe with homemade bun and toppings. Cooking will not take much time, and the result will exceed all expectations. nine0003
Multi-grain porridge with baked banana
Breakfast porridge is healthy! And to make the kids like it, add baked bananas, cinnamon, some fresh berries. Cook the dish in milk and put a little butter for flavor. Overeating!
Curd cakes with carrots
Sometimes an unexpected impromptu can result in an original dish. Curds with carrots and apples are very tender and tasty. And if you bake them in the oven, children's delight is guaranteed! nine0003
Hot chocolate on a stick
Hot chocolate on a stick is both a drink and a dessert. Undoubtedly, the younger family members will like the treat. The author also suggests picking up beautiful packaging, writing a wish and presenting such chocolate on a stick to relatives and friends.
Cottage cheese donuts
Fluffy and fragrant cheese donuts with a crispy crust are a delicious treat for children and adults. nine0003
Prepare healthy candies for the whole family! They can be served with tea and taken with you as a snack. The ingredients are completely natural and healthy. What could be more important when it comes to the health of a child?!
Cottage cheese biscuits with almonds
Spend time with your children in a fun and healthy way - prepare delicate fragrant biscuits together! Young household members will like to cut out the dough using different molds, and when ready, the treat will delight them doubly. nine0003
Chicken pancakes with cheese
Tender and tasty chicken pancakes. They do not contain anything superfluous and are prepared from simple and affordable products. We recommend the dish especially for the children's menu.
Vegetable puree soup with peas
This light vegetable soup will appeal not only to children, but also to adults: vegetarians, those who follow a healthy diet or fast. From the main products you will need potatoes, broccoli, green peas. Complement the meal with toasted pumpkin seeds or crispy bacon strips if you're a meat eater and want to make your meal more satisfying. nine0003
The author of the recipe makes mini pizzas from homemade yeast dough, so it will take time to proof. The filling can be completely different, be guided by the taste of your young gourmets.
Pasta with Meatballs
This is a hearty and tasty dish that can be served both for lunch and dinner for the whole family. Tender meatballs, juicy baked vegetables and pasta that help fill you up. nine0003
Chocolate rice porridge with sea buckthorn
Chocolate porridge with berries is almost a full-fledged dessert that a child is unlikely to refuse. The dish can be supplemented with any chopped nuts.
Very soft, porous cake with juicy cherries. Berries are also suitable frozen, and cooking takes only 1 hour. Such pastries will be delicious the next day.
Detailed recipe. nine0003
Mini breakfast pancakes
Look at those babies! Mini pancakes will cause tenderness and genuine interest in the child.