Easy baby food recipes 12 18 months

16 Realistic Toddler Dinner Ideas for 12-18 Months

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Easy toddler dinner ideas for 12-18 months, plus toddler food safety, and the best toddler feeding supplies for 12-18 months.

What can I cook my 14 month old for dinner? What can I feed my 1 year old for dinner? What dinners are family-friendly for toddlers?

Here you will find a list of toddler dinner ideas perfect for young toddlers based on what my own kids have liked and eaten at this age. Toddler dinner ideas like pulled chicken, deconstructed fajitas, baked chicken tenders, and deconstructed loaded sandwiches.

Dinner doesn’t have to be anything fancy and your kids can learn to eat what you eat at dinner time (which makes it easier on everyone!).

You might also like these related posts:

  • Family-friendly Dinner Ideas for 18 Month Olds
  • Lunch Ideas for 18 Month Olds
  • Toddler Meal Ideas – 21 Months

How to Cook Food Safely For Toddlers

By 12-18 months old, your toddler can eat most of the food you can, it might just need to be modified in some ways to make it safe. The below list is not all inclusive, but is a good start for some food safety beginner tips. Always consult your doctor if you have questions or concerns regarding food safety.

  • Cook food until tender: avoid raw or hard fruits and veggies like raw carrots or apples. If the food is hard, cook until tender to avoid choking.
  • Cut food appropriately: food should be cut into small pieces to avoid choking; quarter grapes, squish blueberries, cut hot dogs and sausage length wise first.
  • Avoid small hard foods: such as nuts, seeds, popcorn (kernels), and candy.
  • Watch the sodium: baby’s kidneys are still immature so they aren’t able to process salt effectively. After 1 year old or so, the recommendation changes slightly as toddlers are able to safely process more salt. However, you should still limit salt for your toddler because diets high in sodium are shown to lead to increased blood pressure and other diseases down the road.

Best Feeding Supplies for 12-18 Months

You don’t necessarily need anything special to feed your toddler, but there are some feeding supplies that can make your life just a little bit easier (and cleaner). Here are some of our favorite young toddler feeding supplies:

Bibado Coverall (pictured above)- this is the perfect bib for baby led weaning and young toddlers! It’s full coverage so it keeps your toddler’s clothes and chair/highchair clean and much of the food off your floor (PINECONES20 for 20% off)

Pillowfort Divided Toddler Plate – these are our favorite plates because they are affordable, durable, and are a great size for young toddlers! You will see these plates frequently pictured below. If your toddler is into throwing plates, this is our favorite suction plate: EZPZ Mini Mat

Ingenuity Baby Booster Seat – 12-18 months old is a great age to move your toddler to the table (if they are still sitting in a high chair). We moved both of my kids by 18 months old. It helps them feel more involved in family meal time and is great practice for when they get older.

Grabease Baby and Toddler Self-Feeding Utensils – a great first utensil set for those just learning to poke and scoop with a fork and spoon. We love that the grip is round so it’s easy for little hands to hold and there is also a gag guard.

Toddler Dinner Ideas for 12-18 Months

  1. Buttered Pasta w/ Veggies – most young toddlers love pasta and it can be the perfect dinner time meal the whole family can enjoy.
  1. Meatballs, Steamed Veggies & Sweet Potato Fries – meatballs are one of our favorites for young toddlers because they tend to be super tender and break apart easily. Steam veggies like broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, and green beans until soft.
  1. Pulled Chicken – cook chicken breasts with cream cheese in the slow cooker for 4-6 hours on low, then shred and add more cheese (or salsa or green chiles). Sides of avocado and black beans.
  1. Broccoli & Cheese Quesadilla – a quesadilla made with a flour tortilla and stuffed with chopped broccoli and cheese, side of quartered grapes and avocado.

Related Post: 18 Fun Toddler Snack Ideas

  1. Mac & Cheese – a toddler favorite can also be a family favorite at dinner time! Choose a pre-made variety or make your own homemade (like our Super Creamy Mac & Cheese). Side of peas and golden kiwi.
  1. Cauliflower Tots – whether you have these as a side dish or main course for your toddler, we love Veggie Tots! Side of diced sweet potatoes and quartered grapes.
  1. Deconstructed Taco Plate – instead of full tacos, try serving a deconstructed version with ground beef, shredded cheese, quartered cherry tomatoes, black olives, and avocado.
  1. Pasta w/ Red Sauce – penne pasta with red sauce and sides of peas and mandarin orange.

Our favorite affordable divider plates: Pillowfort Divided Toddler Plate

  1. Steak & Mashed Cauliflower – iron rich foods are so great for your growing baby and toddler, so don’t be afraid of red meat (just cut into small pieces and make sure its not too overcooked and chewy). Steak with a side of mashed cauliflower and broccoli.
  1. Deconstructed Fajitas – if you are making fajitas for dinner, serve a deconstructed version for your 12-18 month old toddler. Shredded chicken thighs, cooked bell pepper, tortilla triangles, guacamole, and black beans.
  1. Baked Chicken Tenders – breaded and baked chicken tenders cut up into bite-sized pieces for your young toddler. Side of broccoli and sweet potato fries.
  1. Teriyaki Bowls – rice, chicken, and veggies cooked in teriyaki sauce.

Related Post: 50 Toddler Snack Tray Ideas

  1. Grilled Broccoli & Cheese – grilled cheese made a little more wholesome with added chopped broccoli. Side of raspberries.
  1. Baked Chicken & Sweet Potatoes – use a sheet pan to cook chicken breast, broccoli, and diced sweet potatoes for an easy family-friendly meal.
  1. Baked Beans – don’t forget about baked beans for a wholesome protein-filled meal option. Side of mandarin oranges and Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Littles.
  1. Deconstructed Sandwich Plate – if you’re having sandwiches for dinner, serve a deconstructed version to your toddler for an easy meal idea! Ham and cheese, diced tomatoes, cucumber, black olives, hummus, and quartered grapes.

Our favorite flower divided plate: EZPZ Mini Play Mat

Toddler Dinner Ideas Summary

Here is a quick breakdown of 16 easy toddler dinner ideas perfect for 12-18 month olds:

  1. Buttered Pasta w/ Veggies
  2. Meatballs, Steamed Veggies & Sweet Potato Fries
  3. Pulled Chicken
  4. Broccoli & Cheese Quesadilla
  5. Mac & Cheese
  6. Cauliflower Tots
  7. Deconstructed Taco Plate
  8. Pasta w/ Red Sauce
  9. Steak & Mashed Cauliflower
  10. Deconstructed Fajitas
  11. Baked Chicken Tenders
  12. Teriyaki Bowls
  13. Grilled Broccoli & Cheese
  14. Baked Chicken & Sweet Potatoes
  15. Baked Beans
  16. Deconstructed Sandwich Plates

Thanks for stopping by!

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Baby Recipes: 12-18 Months | Cooking Light

These 12 recipes are designed to help you transition baby to the family meal. Each recipe is a family-friendly recipe, and next to each one you’ll find directions on how to modify or adapt a small serving of that recipe for baby. Get excited because this is the beginning of simplified meal planning!

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Transitioning from Baby to Toddler

Feeding your toddler what the rest of the family is eating is often a tougher hurdle for parents to get over than it actually is for baby. But remember, your child is ready and technically has been eating more tender, plainer versions of adult food for a while now. It’s important not to label food as “adult food” or “kid food” because it creates connotations for your toddler of what he should or shouldn’t eat. Your little one will try almost all foods right now, so this is a perfect age to offer dishes and foods the rest of the family is eating. Plus, it simplifies mealtime tremendously for the cook! Here, we give you tasty family-friendly recipes and modifications for little one.



2 of 13

Mini Whole-Wheat Apricot Muffins

We love muffins for toddlers because they're perfect for quick breakfasts and snacks. They're also great for sneaking in extra fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber. To ensure that the apricots in these mini muffins are soft enough for baby, soak them in hot water for 10 minutes; drain them well before chopping them.

For baby: Serve 1 to 2 cooled mini muffins.

3 of 13

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Introduce baby to this family favorite made even more healthy by adding whole-wheat flour and oatmeal. Tossing unthawed frozen blueberries with a couple tablespoons of flour before adding them to the batter keeps them from turning the batter purple while they bake. If you use fresh blueberries, skip that step.

For baby: Serve 1/2 to 1 cooled muffin.


4 of 13

Oatmeal Raisin Muffins

Look for untoasted wheat germ in the organic food section of your supermarket. Adding boiling water to the batter and allowing it to sit for 15 minutes before baking allows the hearty oats, wheat germ, and bran to soak up the liquid for a more tender muffin.

For baby: Serve 1/2 to 1 cooled muffin.

5 of 13

Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Serve the pancakes with heated maple syrup. Remember that serving sizes are designed for adult needs; baby will eat less and need only a small drizzle of syrup.

For baby:
•   Cut a pancake into bite-sized pieces and serve on a rimmed plate.
•   Drizzle lightly with syrup.

6 of 13

Breakfast Couscous

Couscous are tiny granules of semolina flour that cook up light and fluffy in just a few minutes. This is a great time-saving recipe for busy mornings because you can prepare it the night before and reheat it in the morning. The recipe is easy to double if you need to serve more people.

For baby:
•   Serve cooled spoonfuls in a small bowl.
•   Omit walnuts, if desired.




7 of 13

Mac and Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes

Introduce baby to this comfort food classic that the whole family will love as a main dish or side. Plenty of milk and cheese make it a great source of bone-building calcium. Feel free to use a mild cheddar, if you'd like.

For baby:
•   Omit black pepper.
•   Serve spoonfuls in a small bowl.
•   Cut the tomatoes and macaroni, if needed, into bite-sized pieces.

8 of 13

Barley with Shiitakes and Spinach

Although barley isn't a commonly used grain, it's great for baby because of its mild flavor. In this recipe, barley provides a quick yet hearty base for vegetables, cheese, and rosemary, which can be served as a meatless main or side dish.

For baby:
•   Omit black pepper.
•   Serve the barley mixture in a small bowl.
•   Cut the mushrooms and spinach into bite-sized pieces, if needed.

9 of 13

Pan-Grilled Snapper with Orzo Pasta Salad

Small rice-shaped pasta, orzo cooks quickly and soaks up flavor from the vinaigrette. Double the vinaigrette, and spoon some over the top of the fish, if you like.

For baby:
•   Omit black pepper.
•   Shred the fish into bite-sized pieces.
•   Serve fish and a spoonful of orzo mixture in a small bowl or on a rimmed plate.




10 of 13

Pilaf with Chicken, Spinach, and Walnuts

You'll need a large skillet with a lid for this recipe. Breaking the cinnamon sticks and sautéing them with the onion brings out their aromatic goodness. To save time, use chicken breast meat from a rotisserie chicken.

For baby:
•   Omit the walnuts and dill.
•   Serve spoonfuls in a small bowl.

11 of 13

Beef and Vegetable Potpie

Cooking the beef filling first in a large skillet and then in the oven ensures that the meat and vegetables are tender and flavorful. Finishing the casserole in the oven browns the breadstick-dough topping. For a fun presentation kids will love, make individual servings in 4-ounce ramekins. You can also freeze single servings for later.

For baby: Serve spoonfuls of potpie in a small bowl.

12 of 13

Oven-Roasted Green Beans

This simple side dish can pass as a healthy version of French fries and will add color to any meal. Plus you can roast the beans at the last minute while you finish setting the table.

For baby:
•   Omit black pepper.
•   Cut the green beans into bite-sized pieces.
•   Serve 3 to 5 green beans in a small bowl or on a rimmed plate.




13 of 13

Honey-Glazed Carrots

Orange rind gives carrots a sweet, citrusy flavor, but the white pith has a bitter flavor, so be sure to avoid it when you're zesting.

For baby:
•   Omit black pepper.
•   Cut the carrot slices into bite-sized pieces.
•   Serve spoonfuls in a small bowl or on a rimmed plate.

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Child nutrition up to a year - this is one of the most important questions that mothers have in the first year baby's life. According to WHO recommendations, complementary foods should be introduced from 5 months, if the child is bottle-fed and from 6 months, if the child is breastfed.

Products follow enter in the following order: vegetable mono puree (zucchini, broccoli, colored cabbage, carrots), dairy-free cereals (corn, buckwheat, rice, oatmeal), fruit purees. From 8 months, you can start introducing meat purees (rabbit, turkey, veal) and egg yolk.

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