Pregnancy and baby

Baby and toddler meal ideas

If you need some inspiration to help you cook healthy and tasty food for your kids, try these meal ideas. 

They're not suitable as first foods, but fine once your baby is used to eating a wide range of solid foods.

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

Breakfast ideas for babies and children

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

Children'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.
  • 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.

Children's dinners

  • Mashed sweet potato with mashed chickpeas and cauliflower.
  • Shepherd’s pie (made with beef or lamb) 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 for babies and toddlers

  • Fresh fruit, such as small pieces of soft, ripe peeled pear or peach.
  • Canned fruit in fruit juice.
  • Rice pudding or porridge (with no added sugar or salt).
  • Plain, unsweetened yoghurt.
  • Toast, pitta or chapatti fingers.
  • Unsalted and unsweetened rice cakes.
  • Plain 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 as snacks.
  • Mix chopped or mashed vegetables with rice, mashed potatoes, meat sauces or dhal.
  • Chop prunes or dried apricots into cereal or plain, unsweetened yoghurt, or add them to a stew.
  • For a tasty dessert, try mixing fruit (fresh, canned or stewed) with plain, unsweetened yoghurt. You could also try tinned fruit in fruit juice, such as pears and peaches, or unsweetened stewed fruit, such as apples.

Your baby and cows' milk

From six months, keep giving your child mum's milk or formula milk, as well as introducing solid foods, but don't give cows' milk as a drink. Whole cows' milk can be used in small amounts in cooking or mixed with foods from the age of six months. You can give it to your child as a drink from the age of one.

Semi-skimmed milk can be introduced at two years old, providing your child is eating a varied diet and growing well for their age. From five years, you can give your child 1% or skimmed milk to drink.

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: 23/09/2015

Next review due: 23/09/2017


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The 3 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Seo Penyok said on 30 June 2015

I am very glad to see this article that discusses healthy food for my baby and diet also apply to my children one day later, thank you for the information and greetings from me

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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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