Recipes for Young Toddlers: 18-24 Months

From snacks to entrées, find recipes and tips on how to get your growing (and opinionated) little one to try new and nutritious foods.

Austin Snacking

Trying New Foods

Cooking ethnic dishes with mild seasonings is a great way to continue to expand baby’s palate. Toddlers at this age are usually still open to trying new foods—especially when they see the rest of the family eating the dish.

The recipes included in this collection offer simple ethnic dishes with modifications to make them toddler friendly but still tasty to the rest of the family. These recipes include dishes inspired by favorite foods from around the world.

Pumpkin Dip Recipe

Pumpkin Dip

Toddlers love the “do-it-myself” aspect of dipping and participating in an activity they’ve seen older kids and parents do. Give them a bowl of tasty dip, and most children this age will eat anything you put in front of them from fruit and veggies to chicken and tofu. Don’t stop with ketchup though; use dips as an opportunity to get additional nutrients, protein, and fiber into baby’s diet.

Canned pumpkin makes it easy to whip up this sweet dip. Make sure to purchase 100% pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling.

For your toddler:
•   Serve the dip with peeled apple slices, banana slices, or cinnamon pita chips.

View Recipe: Pumpkin Dip

Love Your Lima Beans Dip Recipe

Love Your Lima Beans Dip

Lima beans give this hummus-like dip a slightly sweet flavor.

For your toddler:
•   Serve the dip with tender raw vegetables like pea pods and cucumber halves or slightly steamed carrot sticks and broccoli florets.

View Recipe: Love Your Lima Beans Dip

Asian Peanut Dip Recipe

Asian Peanut Dip

Adults can use extra dip as a spread for veggie wraps or sandwiches made with grated carrot, sliced cucumber, and lettuce.

For your toddler:
•   Serve the dip with tender raw vegetables like pea pods and cucumber halves or slightly steamed carrot sticks and broccoli florets.

View Recipe: Asian Peanut Dip

Risotto Primavera Recipe

Risotto Primavera

For your toddler:
•   Cook the vegetables 2 to 3 minutes longer.
•   Serve a spoonful of risotto and vegetables.
•   Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

View Recipe: Risotto Primavera

Mediterranean Salmon Salad Recipe

Mediterranean Salmon Salad

Don't let the word "salad" in the title deter you from serving this warm mix of pasta, salmon, and vegetables to your little one.

For your toddler:
•   Omit the black pepper from the fish.
•   Toss a spoonful of hot orzo with a small handful of torn spinach until the spinach wilts and the mixture is cool.
•   Shred a small amount of salmon and add it to the mixture. Add olives and cheese, if desired.

View Recipe: Mediterranean Salmon Salad

Sweet-and-Sour Chicken Recipe

Sweet-and-Sour Chicken

Introduce baby to the yummy taste of takeout food without all the extra fat. This homestyle sweet-and-sour chicken has a lighter, fresher tasting sauce than typical restaurant versions. Serve with steamed brown or basmati rice.

For your toddler:
•   Omit the chile paste; adults can sprinkle red pepper flakes over their portions.
•   Cut a piece of chicken and a spoonful of vegetables into small pieces.
•   Serve it over rice in a small bowl or on a rimmed plate.

View Recipe: Sweet-and-Sour Chicken

Chipotle Pork Soft Tacos with Pineapple Salsa Recipe

Chipotle Pork Soft Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Pork, a common taco filling throughout Latin America, takes well to spices. When serving these soft tacos to younger children, spoon the pork and salsa into a tortilla, roll the tortilla tightly, and then cut it into small bite-sized pieces.

For your toddler:
•   When making the salsa, cut extra fruit into small bite-sized pieces for baby.
•   Omit the black pepper and chipotle peppers; after removing the baby’s pork, parents can add peppers at end of simmering in Step 2.
•   Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces.
•   Serve the pork and fruit pieces as finger foods on a plate with a warmed corn tortilla.

View Recipe: Chipotle Pork Soft Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Pork and Squash Stir-Fry Recipe

Pork and Squash Stir-Fry

Butternut squash is a unique addition to stir-fry that pairs well with Asian seasonings. Serve it over cooked rice or noodles.

For your toddler:
•   Reserve 3 or 4 cubes of squash following Step 1.
•   Sauté 1 strip of pork in a separate pan until done.
•   Cut the squash into bite-sized pieces, and shred the pork.
•   Serve the pork and squash with rice.

View Recipe: Pork and Squash Stir-Fry

Zucchini with Corn and Cilantro Recipe

Zucchini with Corn and Cilantro

For your toddler:
•   Omit the black pepper; parents can it add at the table, if desired.
•   Serve a spoonful as a side with any meat, fish, poultry, or tofu.

View Recipe: Zucchini with Corn and Cilantro

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