Are you worried that your child’s smidgeon of a food portion isn’t enough till their next meal or snack time? In this article, you will find five loaded food ideas for your toddler and preschooler.

If you are the parent of an active toddler, you may be worrying constantly whether the food you prepare is enough to keep them going until their next mealtime. And you don’t want to overdo it either by offering food all the time. That’s why it is important to load each mealtime with immunity-boosting, nutrient-rich food. 

Below, we are listing our favourite calorie-rich food ideas:

1. Chicken & Veggie Bites

Recipe: Annabel Karmel via Instagram

Ingredients (for 8 bites)

  • ½ cup of broccoli

  • ½ cup of mashed potato (room temperature)

  • ¼ cup of parmesan cheese (grated)

  • 1 chicken breast (cooked and diced)

  • ¼ cup of breadcrumbs

  • 1 egg (beaten)

  • 2 spring onions (finely chopped)

  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil

  • Salt, to taste

  • Pepper, to taste

Cook the broccoli in water for five to six minutes until the florets can be easily pierced with a fork. Take them out of the water and let it cool. Once the broccoli has cooled down, finely chop them. 

In a large bowl, mix together the chopped broccoli, mashed potato, parmesan cheese, diced chicken, half of the breadcrumbs, half of the beaten egg, and spring onions. Season with salt and pepper. Then shape them into small rounds or sausages. Coat these in the remaining egg and then with the breadcrumbs. Let them sit for 10 minutes before frying them. 

Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry until they are golden brown. You could also air fry or bake them at 180°C for 10 to 15 minutes on each side. Serve them warm with ketchup or mint chutney. 

Age suggestion: 6+ months
Serving suggestion: 3 to 4 bites per serving
Allergens present: Parmesan cheese, egg

2. Dry Fruits Ladoo

Recipe: Riddhi Verma Ayyagari via Instagram

Ingredients (for 8-9 balls)

  • 1 tablespoon of cashew nuts

  • 1 tablespoon of almonds 

  • 1 tablespoon of black raisins 

  • 1 tablespoon of brown raisins

  • ½ tablespoon of pumpkin seeds

  • ½ tablespoon of sesame seeds

  • 15 dates (deseeded)

  • Ghee, as required

  • A pinch of cardamom powder

Dry roast cashew, almonds, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds together in a pan. Blend the roasted nuts and seeds, along with raisins and dates. 

Heat ghee in the same pan. Add the blended mixture into the pan. Let it soak in the ghee. Once the ghee is absorbed, take the pan off the heat. 

Let the mixture cool for a bit. Roll into soft balls while it is still warm. 

Age suggestion: 1+ years
Serving suggestion: 1 ball per serving
Allergens present: Almonds, sesame seeds

3. Blueberry Bircher Pot

Recipe: BBC Good Food

Ingredients (for 1 bowl)

  • 1 apple

  • 2 tablespoons of rolled oats

  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened yoghurt

  • Blueberries, as required

  • 1 Banana

Grate the apple. Mix this well with the oats and yoghurt in a bowl. Cut the banana into thin slices. Layer the mixture with blueberries and banana slices. Serve it immediately. 

When feeding babies and toddlers, make sure the blueberries are flattened and the banana slices are non-chokable. 

Age suggestion: 6+ months
Serving suggestion: 1 bowl per serving
Allergens present: Yoghurt 

4. Mushroom-Stuffed Muffin

Recipe: Cafe Delites

Ingredients (for 3 muffins)

  • 3 eggs

  • 2 tablespoons of onion (finely chopped) 

  • Salt, to taste

  • Pepper, to taste

  • ¼ cup of mushrooms (sliced)

  • ¼ cup of red capsicum (diced)

  • 1 tablespoon of parsley leaves (chopped) 

  • ⅓ teaspoon of garlic (minced)

Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly grease your muffin tray or ramekins with butter. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and season them to your liking. Add the onion. Add this mixture halfway up to the cups or ramekins. Add the mushrooms, red capsicum, parsley, and garlic to the top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Let it cool slightly. Serve when it’s still warm.  

Age suggestion: 6+ months
Serving suggestion: 1 muffin per serving
Allergens present: Egg

5. Veggie Pesto Pasta

Recipe: Abbie Flake via Instagram

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 1 cup of pasta of your choice 

  • ½ cup of pecans or cashew nuts

  • 1 avocado

  • ½ cup of peas

  • ½ cup of spinach

  • ¼ cup of fresh or dried basil leaves

  • ¼ cup of parmesan cheese

  • 1 garlic clove (minced)

  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt, to taste

  • Pepper, to taste

Cook pasta in boiling water until it is soft. You could follow the instructions on the package. When you drain the pasta, reserve some pasta water for later.

In a small pan, heat a little olive oil. Saute the minced garlic on low heat until fragrant. Don’t let it brown and keep it aside. 

Blend together pecans (or cashews), avocado, peas, spinach, basil leaves, parmesan cheese, cooked garlic, and olive oil until a smooth paste is formed. 

In  a large bowl, toss in the pasta and mix until the pesto coats it well. If the pesto is too thick, thin it with the pasta water. You can garnish with parmesan cheese. Serve while the pasta is warm. 

Age suggestion: 1+ years
Serving suggestion: 4-5 tablespoons per serving
Allergens present: Pasta, parmesan cheese, pecan/cashew nuts

The above meal and snack ideas are perfect for children and adults alike. You don’t need to prepare an extravagant spread exclusively for your child. 

For mealtimes, you only need to serve the food cooked for the whole family as long as it is balanced. And for snacks, you can always prepare some ahead of time. (Here are some easy-to-prepare, healthy recipes for you to try.) Offering them their favourite fruits or healthy store-bought snacks is another option. 

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