Pregnancy and baby

Children's meal ideas

If you need some inspiration to help you cook healthy and tasty food for your kids, try these meal ideas. These meals are not suitable as first foods but fine once your baby is older and used to eating a wide range of solid foods.

When preparing food for children, don’t add salt, sugar or stock cubes directly to the food, or to the cooking water.

Whole cows' milk can be given as a drink from the age of one. Semi-skimmed milk can be introduced at two years old, provided your child is a good eater and growing well for their age.

Breakfast for babies and children

  • Porridge or unsweetened cereal mixed with milk, topped with mashed ripe pear
  • Wholewheat biscuit cereal with milk and stewed fruit
  • Toast fingers with mashed banana
  • Toast fingers with a hard boiled egg and slices of ripe peach
  • Stewed apple, yoghurt and unsweetened breakfast cereal

Childrens's lunch or tea ideas

  • Cauliflower cheese with cooked pasta pieces
  • Mashed pasta with broccoli and cheese
  • Baked beans (reduced salt and sugar) with toast
  • Stewed fruit and custard
  • Scrambled egg with toast, chapatti or pitta bread 
  • Cottage cheese dip with pitta bread and cucumber and carrot sticks
  • Plain fromage frais with stewed apple
  • Small pieces of soft ripe peeled pear or peach

Children's dinners

  • Mashed sweet potato with mashed chickpeas and cauliflower
  • Shepherd’s pie with green vegetables
  • Rice and mashed peas with courgette sticks
  • Mashed cooked lentils with rice
  • Minced chicken and vegetable casserole with mashed potato
  • Mashed canned salmon with couscous and peas 
  • Fish poached in milk with potato, broccoli and carrot

Snacks

  • Rice pudding or porridge (with no added sugar or salt)
  • Canned fruit in fruit juice
  • Fresh fruit
  • Yoghurt (unsweetened)
  • Toast, pitta or chapatti fingers
  • Unsalted rice cakes
  • Bagels
  • Small cubes of cheese

Getting your child to eat fruit and vegetables

Try these ways of increasing your child’s intake of fruit and vegetables:

  • Put their favourite vegetables or canned pineapple on top of pizza
  • Give carrot sticks, slices of pepper and peeled apple for snacks
  • Mix chopped or mashed vegetables with rice, mashed potatoes, meat sauces or dhal
  • Mix fruit (fresh, canned or stewed) with yoghurt or fromage frais for a tasty dessert
  • Chop prunes or dried apricots into cereal or yoghurt, or add them to a stew

Further information

Kids' food

Children talk about food, and life coach Debbie Lewis suggests ways to encourage your child to eat more healthily.

Media last reviewed: 25/10/2013

Next review due: 25/10/2015

Page last reviewed: 23/09/2013

Next review due: 23/09/2015

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The 2 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Efi74 said on 24 October 2012

I was surprised to see that no red meat is included in any of the lunch or dinner meal ideas. I believe red meat is essential in the diet of young children and it is an excellent source of protein and iron. I believe it is worth revising the suggested meals to encourage people to offer more red meat and to make the diet a bit more varied.

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DietitianFife said on 25 July 2012

Seven dinner ideas, three of which are vegetarian, plus all the lunch choices are vegetarian! The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) of pre-school children (Gregory et al, 1995) reported iron deficiency in 12% of under twos, and a low iron status in around 30% of older children. Low red meat consumption is a known risk factor for iron deficiency (Gibson (1999) Public Health Nutrition; 2: 521–8) and the bioavailability of iron in lentils and chick peas is poor. Fish and chicken are low in iron. So, why isn't the Department of Health suggesting more meat-based meals for infants and children? The current list of meals would seem to be contrary to the evidence.

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