This post may or may not contain affiliate links. For more information visit my Disclaimer, Disclosure and Terms and Conditions page.
The toddler is a finicky thing. Some days cheese is the bees knees. Others it’s odious. Below I have compiled a list to hopefully help you with your inspiration in trying to feed your toddler, while also providing some tips and tricks.
They are written in no particular order, although they are categorised.
I hope this list helps you! Below there’s a sign up form where I’ve made a printable of all this content so you don’t have to write your own list.
Banana – peel and go.
Orange, Peach, Nectarine, Plum, Apple, Pear – slice and go and beware of the skin.
Mandarin – I bite the pips out for him. Gross, but he’d eat his own poo if I let him.
Avocado – technically a fruit I think. Tip: buy these in bulk when they’re cheap (I checked today and they were over $5 each. Like it would buy it at that price), and freeze them in pottles or Zip Lock bags. Will require a spoon and supervision, unless you slice and go!
Feijoa – either you peel it and cut it or you supervise with a spoon. Again, buy (or pick) when they’re cheap and freeze in containers, although remember: these are a stool loosener. Two per pottle is more than enough.
Watermelon – I don’t bother taking the seeds out.
Rock melon – I do bother taking the seeds out.
Honey melon – Don’t think we’ve had this yet. Rock melons were cheaper at the time.
Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, other berries – of course you could pamper your Little One and buy these fresh, or you could be the green thumb mum and grow them yourself, or you could be the… buy these frozen and defrost as needed mum. Guess which one I am.
Cherry tomatoes – I thought since my son didn’t like tomatoes he wouldn’t like cherry tomatoes. I was wrong.
Apple purée from a jar – my husband preserved about 50 baby jars worth of apples recently. This is also a stool hardener, in case that’s an issue.
Crackers – they are a floor decoration in our house.
Cassava chips or other chips with little to no salt – hit and miss.
Cherrios – these are not a cocktail sausage, but a wholegrain cereal. A box costs about $4 and, let’s put it this way: I bought a box a month ago, have fed him a small handful most days, sometimes with milk, sometimes without. We’re not half way through the box yet.
Sandwich – Honey if over 1, peanut butter if not allergic, Marmite if they’re good little children who eat healthy food, chocolate if you’re at your wits end and maple syrup failing that (no I have never thought of doing those last two…) You can turn these into ‘Sushi’ sandwiches by rolling them up. I have more success that way.
Pretzels – watch out for salt.
Cheese sticks – Here’s the recipe: Defrost a sheet of pastry (short or puff is fine), pre-cut into strips, sprinkle with grated cheese and bake in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (355 Fahrenheit) for 15 minutes. They are yum! Worth it on cold days, as the oven can double up as heating a room. Of course you can add fancy ingredients, like pestos on top if your child likes that sort of thing.
Cheese toasty (Cheese toasted sandwich) – this one takes a little preparation, but can be cooked up quickly. Add vegetables inside, but don’t be too overzealous.
Cheese melted on bread – my child will pick off the cheese to eat.
Corn thins – you can get small ones. Hummus can be a good topping, however this isn’t something we normally have.
Porridge – the standard breakfast in our household.
Weetabix – don’t over-milk it. Could add some muesli to this if needed.
Frozen veggies – in general I defrost these first in the microwave before giving them to the swallower. However…
Corn – this he will eat. I recommend not giving this to your toddler unless he is not eating something below.
Peas and carrots – he used to eat these. And then along came corn.
Beans – he had already been introduced to corn, so he never ate these.
Broccoli – there was a time, when he was 7 months old, when he would eat this. I miss those days.
Olives – surprisingly, mine likes these.
Gherkins – but doesn’t like these.
Cucumber, Capsicums (Peppers), Tomatoes… – he never liked these.
Pumpkin purée – haven’t actually fed this to him, but I’m hoping my husband will preserve some like he did with the apples.
Deli meats – my child doesn’t eat meat. I lie, he’ll eat sausages, which are breadcrumbs waved past animals on the way to be made into chops and mince.
Ham – here is a link to the first article I found when asking whether you can freeze deli meats or not. I’ve never done so, but may be worth doing if you can remember to use it up in time.
Cocktail Sausages – we call these Cherrios in New Zealand. These can be a chocking hazard, beware!
Normal Sausages – again, they can be a chocking hazard.
Chicken, Turkey, Beef – something I did was ask at the deli counter if my kid could have a small piece of chicken to try. He refused to put it in his mouth, so I didn’t bother buying any. Saved me a few bucks.
Salami – No need to freeze, as this stuff lasts for aaaages.
Eggs – hard boiled, scrambled, poached or fried… yeah, we tend to only scramble. This is my child’s standard lunch, and while for a lunch it’s fast, for a snack it’s not.
Pieces of Cheese – sometimes yes, sometimes no.
Raisins/Sultanas – I know one is a grape and one is… I don’t know the difference, I get whatever’s cheaper and he eats them.
Prunes – loves them. Only three a day or fewer for the sake of your child’s nappies.
Dates – less sticky than prunes.
Dried cranberries – like raisins/sultanas.
Baby processed snack foods, like Banana Biscotti – beware the finicky in your child! We bought three bags of these, only to discover he’d turned his nose up at them. He’s starting to eat them again now, but it was annoying.
Yoghurt drops – treat only and have yet to buy them myself, as I haven’t found them in the supermarket.
Yoghurt – add berries/other fruit to unsweetened stuff. If worst comes to worst you can always add your own sugar/honey in, so you can control how much sweetness is in it.
Energy balls – haven’t made or bought them myself, but sounds straightforward enough. Mix a bit of almond flour with dates and peanut butter in a food processor. Can add other nuts etc.
Muffins – again, haven’t made any for the Little One yet, but there are sugar-free ones online.
Scones – or biscuits as their called in America. Add dates or other dried fruit for sweetness.
Biscuits (Cookies) – These will be full of sugar. Make small ones at home, so you can control their sugar content. Here’s a sugar free one in fact! Julie Bhosale is our Kiwi toddler food expert, so whatever she says is for toddlers on her website will be good for them.
Pikelets – I know this would be a hit, but have yet to make them. That may be a this week’s goal.
Hopefully the ideas above are enough to fill your child’s bento box for many years to come!