Every stage with a baby and toddler presents new challenges. When my daughter was a newborn, she was breastfeeding around the clock and that felt really hard and exhausting. Then when she started solids, it felt like our entire day was built around her meals. Breastfeeding or eating literally every other hour. Was this my life now? Figuring out creative meals for this tiny (and picky!) dining companion?
My daughter is now 1, and I’m happy to report that it does get easier. This is in part because I have a better understanding of what she wants, she can more clearly show what she is interested in, and I’ve simplified things.
I want to introduce my daughter to a variety of flavors, textures, and nutrients. But I also want to maintain my sanity. I’ve let go of making elaborate meals, and I’ve also let go of the disappointment when she throws my delicious oatmeal bake on the floor. Doesn’t she know how long that took me to make?
Toddler meals can be messy and frustrating. In our house, we’ve found the best approach is to keep it simple. The below breakfast ideas can be made in mere minutes. I can usually whip up these breakfasts while my daughter stays distracted in her high chair with a few puffs or Cheerios.
Here are seven simple breakfasts that my toddler loves, and I hope yours will too.
1. Full Fat Greek Yogurt and Almond Butter
If your child likes nut butter or fruit spread, add it into a big bowl of full-fat Greek yogurt. Yogurt for babies is definitely a messier meal, but as long as most of it gets in her mouth, I’m OK with the mess. We like Trader Joe’s Greek Whole Milk Yogurt. It’s very thick, meaning a baby or toddler can eat it with their hands if they aren’t yet a fan of spoons.
2. Avocado Toast
Toast up a slice of multi-grain bread, spread a generous layer of avocado on top, and slice into thin strips. If this isn’t appealing enough, try sprinkling some cheese on top. Our favorite bread brand is Dave’s Killer Bread.
3. Breakfast Smoothie
For a while, I was giving my daughter pre-made pouches, which are an easy grab-and-eat option, but the cost of those pouches adds up. I still have them on hand for busy days, but prefer to make smoothies from scratch. I’ll typically make my own smoothie and portion out some for my daughter in reusable pouches. Play around with smoothie ingredients, including things like yogurt, fresh or frozen berries, spinach, chia seeds, flaxseed, and nut butters.
Simple Modern Reusable Food Pouches
These are easy to fill, don't leak, and are dishwasher safe.
4. Cheesy Scrambled Eggs
I quickly learned that my daughter will eat anything covered in cheese. What’s not to like? In a pan with avocado oil, I scramble one egg and toss in whatever cheese we have (usually shredded mozzarella). If I have roasted vegetables leftover from dinner, I’ll finely chop those and toss them in as well.
5. Oatmeal with Berries
Oatmeal is surprisingly another great finger food since babies can easily grab big handfuls, no utensils required. I like to make a big batch of this at the beginning of the week so breakfast is set for a few days in advance. You can use any oats, and we use Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Rolled Oats. To make, cook it on the stove for about 15 minutes, and toward the end of the cooking time, add in chopped berries and a sprinkling of cinnamon. I prefer frozen berries as they let off more liquid and flavor into the oatmeal. To up the healthy fat content, sometimes we’ll add in almond butter.
6. Cottage Cheese with Fruit and Peanut Butter
For a good dose of protein and calcium, cottage cheese is a great choice. The tart taste can be a bit much for babies, so we add in peanut butter and chopped fruit. If she’s not showing interest, I’ll add in a few pieces of Joe’s O’s cereal. When she grabs for the cereal, she inevitably also eats some cottage cheese in each bite.
7. Defrosted Pancakes or Waffles
Next time you’re in Trader Joe’s, stock up on a few freezer items. In an ideal world, I’d make pancakes from scratch, but in reality, having a freezer stocked with essentials is an easy way to serve up a tasty breakfast. Look for the Organic Silver Dollar Pancakes and the Naturally Flavored Blueberry Waffles in the freezer aisle.