Baby & Toddler Food Ideas (w/ dairy free subs) Part 2

stokke tripp trapp white high chair review deals

Stokke high chair (NSale bundle (save $100+), white color at regular price), Etsy hairclips (love!), Nori’s 2-piece outfit (runs small, she’s 23m wearing size 3-4T), popsicle molds

Thank you guys for all of the wonderful feedback on my previous baby feeding posts! If you’re looking for them, this post is on Introducing Solids + Useful Tools (plus my thoughts on baby led weaning vs purees), and this subsequent post is Baby & Toddler Food Ideas, Part 1 along with a few more tools. Today I am rounding up a few more nutritious meal or snack ideas that Nori has been loving, including her favorite warm weather treat!

PS – for those shopping the Anniversary baby deals, the Vista sold out quickly but the Nuna Rava convertible carseat (which we’ve been using for Nori and would recommend) is still in stock at $75 off, along with the updated Nuna Mixx 2020 stroller in “Threaded” which I saw in person and tested out. Let me know in the comments any questions you guys might have and I’ll try to help!

Stokke Tripp Trapp Chair: Quick Buying Guide

I also wanted to quickly touch on this high chair based on questions I’ve gotten, since all the add-ons and attachments can be confusing! I had bought Nori’s chair 2 years ago as three separate pieces at full price, because there wasn’t a white bundle at the time:

  1. Chair ($199). The wooden chair itself with adjustable seat and foot rest height. Older toddlers or kids can use the chair as-is, without any other attachments.
  2. Baby set ($79). The curved plastic seat with harness straps, for babies 6m – 3 years. Tip: for easy in & out, hook straps around the back of the seat, as pictured above, then stand behind the chair to slide your little one in.
  3. Baby tray ($49). Some families don’t need a tray as they pull the chair directly up to a table.

As mentioned before, in hindsight I wish I got a cushion ($49) too so that Nori could’ve started using this more comfortably earlier ~ 6 months. Here’s examples of a few bundle options, depending on which attachments you need:

Dairy-Free Substitution Ideas

Most of the dishes below are very flexible and can be made with dairy milk or cheese, or a non-dairy alternative. Nori has several allergies, so here are some of our favorite dairy-free, nut-free alternatives to use in recipes (I found these at Wholefoods):

dairy free cheese recipe substitutions

  • Violife cheese shreds. Great in melty dishes like pizza, pasta. Tastes better than several other vegan cheese brands I’ve tried!
  • SoDelicious coconut-based yogurt avail. in unsweetened vanilla or unsweetened plain. Good sub for regular yogurt, sour cream, dairy based dips. We always look for unsweetened plain as there is a regular plain with loads of added sugar! We also do buy the sweetened fruit versions and just mix it with unsweetened for Nori.
  • Chao cheese slices – tofu based. This brand came highly recommended by you guys!

Mealtime plates, covers & utensils

I also wanted to mention this bowl w/ cover set and these silicone stretch lids that I got for our existing plates and love! The covers are designed for this divided suction plate (one of the few that fit perfectly on our Tripp Trapp tray) and makes it easy for us to prep Nori’s meal directly on the plate in advance and refrigerate it for later. After washing her silicone dish ware, I leave them out on our windowsill or patio under direct sunlight to get rid of any food stains or odors! This trick also works wonders on high chair trays for colorful stains like tomato sauce! 

PS – you can find more of our other mealtime tools on my Amazon page saved under the “Baby Feeding” category.

healthy meals for toddlers and babies dairy substitutes

9 Nutritious Baby / Toddler Meal Ideas

1. Healthy Breakfast Popsicles! 

Using mini popsicle molds is an easy way to make breakfast (or snack time) more fun, especially on a hot day! These molds are great with curved handles for little hands, and a drip tray that also keeps the popsicle from falling flat even when they put it down.

You’ll have to watch my Instagram video to see just how excited Nori gets for these! Served below with oatmeal (made with a lil’ 365 brand oat milk instead of dairy milk and chia seeds).

toddler breakfast idea dairy free yogurt pops

The easiest version is to just use your little one’s favorite yogurt, but it’s also a great way to get them to try new or less sweet flavors. Some other ideas we’ve tried frozen as popsicles:

  • Mix unsweetened yogurt with a little sweetened yogurt or a leftover fruit puree pouch
  • Mix unsweetened yogurt with pieces of soft fruits like berries + a little maple syrup
  • Blend green smoothies (we like baby spinach, bananas, oat milk) for colorful pop
  • Blend bananas with avocado and touch of coconut milk
  • Plain frozen breastmilk is also great for younger/teething babies!

A tip with these Nuby brand molds – after the popsicles are frozen, I prepare a bowl of hot water and dip the popsicle tray almost fully inside for maybe 20 seconds. This will help loosen them up for easy removal, then I store in a baggie or container in the freezer!

2. No Sugar Added Banana Muffins

I shared the recipe for these super easy, 1 bowl banana muffins for adults in this post, but I’ve been omitting the sugar when using large, very ripe bananas and they still taste good! Sometimes I do add allergen-free chocolate chips (dangerous because then I end up eating half the batch). These have become our go-to for Nori’s egg / allergy challenge baked goods since they’re also easy to enjoy on the go – she devours them!

moist chocolate chip banana muffin toddler meal idea

Banana chocolate chip muffins served with plain dairy-free yogurt, chia seeds & peach (I mix this into the yogurt).

3. Pizza with Hidden Greens

We’ve been making pizza a lot at home lately, using our favorite “artisanal pizza dough” from Wholefoods’ fridge section or Trader Joe’s refrigerated dough when in a pinch. We always just cut a little hunk of dough off to make Nori her own personal sized dairy-free one, plus little ones can help add their own toppings!

A few tips we’ve found that help make pizza healthier but still toddler-pleasing:

  • Dough: Roll or stretch the dough thinner so it’s easier for little ones to chew. Bake at a lower temperature than the dough package instructions to help the crust stay softer. We do around 350 for a little longer than the time on the instructions.
  • Sauce: We use no salt added marinara sauce from Trader Joe’s.
  • Veggies: We like to chop up baby spinach and mix it into the sauce.
  • Toppings: To help toppings stay on better for little hands, put toppings UNDER the shredded cheese.
  • Serving: Cut into whatever size pieces your child is comfortable with – some examples below.
dairy free pizza toddler meal recipe
4. Simplified Mapo Tofu Bowl

A one-bowl meal with protein & veggies that makes for super easy leftovers the next day. We love making Chinese mapo-style tofu, and just take out a portion for Nori before adding more seasoning and spice, although she’s been very into trying our spicy version lately!

You can easily make this vegetarian with diced squash or mushrooms, but we start but sautéing ground turkey with garlic and Chinese black bean paste (the traditional seasoning for mapo tofu – we get this at Asian grocery stores) and adding a little broth. In a pinch for Nori, I’ve also just used a dash of soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic powder.

Stir in peas and a box of soft tofu at the end (I much prefer soft tofu to firm!) and serve over rice with extra cooking liquid from the dish to help soften up her rice.

healthy meals for little ones

5. “Cheesy” Tex Mex Pasta

Basically a quick chili mac! We made this to introduce Nori to some new flavors like the spices in this dish.

Saute black beans (we buy the 365 brand no salt added black beans in a box) with a little tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, or whatever Tex Mex spice blend you have on-hand. Toss in cooked pasta, and shredded cheese.

Served here with mashed avocado (as a “guac”) and boiled corn.

cheesy Tex Mex meals for kids

6. Coconut Shrimp Salad

We always have a bag of frozen shrimp in our freezer, as it defrosts (in a bowl of room temperature water) and cooks super fast for those days when meal time sneaks up on you. Shrimp is also one of Nori’s all time favorite foods!

To make this egg-free shrimp salad (since traditional mayo typically contains eggs), we stir together gently boiled shrimp with coconut milk, lemon juice and a little bit of cumin (optional). I slice the shrimp in half or chop up small to make them easier for her to eat, and serve alone or with some veggies like cooked carrots pictured below.

We also like introducing colorful foods to her, so served here with mashed purple sweet potatoes!

introducing new vegetables to toddlers

7. Tender & Juicy Oven Baked Chicken

Our whole family loves this, so I often make it during Sunday meal prep for the week! I love it for myself in pesto or caesar wraps and salads. Nori’s is served here with frozen corn, coconut “creamed” spinach and rice softened with broth.

Tender & juicy baked chicken breasts:

  1. Line a baking dish with a generous sheet of foil or parchment paper, big enough to wrap around and cover the chicken in a “pouch.”
  2. Drizzle whole, large chicken breasts with olive oil (or butter) and lemon juice
  3. Season both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder or seasoning of your choice
  4. Cover with the foil or parchment paper and pinch it shut (the chicken will steam-bake inside to stay tender)
  5. Bake at 400 degrees until done, approx. 20-25 mins for 2 large chicken breasts. Use a food thermometer to cook safely and avoid overbaking.
  6. Always save the baking juices for serving!

When boiling corn in a pot, I also blanche baby spinach leaves for 2 minutes in the same pot, then chop them small with food scissors.

For the rice, Nori didn’t used to love regular rice, so I soften the regular white rice I cook for myself using some chicken broth. Here I just used some chicken juices from the baking pan (I never discard those liquids… great for adding flavor and for keeping the chicken moist when serving) and a little coconut milk from the spinach. These additions made the rice quite tasty, for adults as well!

meal planning and prep for toddlers

8. Deconstructed Tacos

Toddlers will inevitably dismantle a taco themselves, so I figured save her the trouble and just serve it already deconstructed 🙂 This is an easy way to use leftover baked chicken and beans from the meal ideas listed above (again, for beans we like the boxed 365 no salt added brand from Whole Foods)!

9. Sardine & Avocado Toast

I know some people turn their nose up at sardines, but I wanted to expose Nori to this very nutritional food early on! We like Wild Planet brand sardines at Wholefoods (no salt added, canned in water) with Dave’s Killer Bread thinly sliced. Can also use leftover baked chicken in place of the sardines, or roll these up for more fun pinwheels per idea # 2 here!

Just a few benefits of sardines:

  • High in Omega-3 fatty acids while low in mercury, esp compared to the more ubiquitous tuna
  • Source of vitamins B-12, D, protein. & calcium (also great for those who are dairy-free)

Served here chopped small with food scissors and mixed with avocado, spread on toast.

quick and healthy toddler lunches

I hope this post was helpful! Let me know what you’d like to see more of! 

Leave a Comment

19 Comments

  1. Whitney wrote:

    Thanks for sharing the great ideas! I’m always having such a hard time thinking of meals for my 15 month old. Also love the allergy subs! We have legumes, eggs, and nut allergies. We did the oral challenge with the allergist when she was 8 months old and it wasn’t that bad. She reacted on the first dose and was given Zyrtec right away.

    Posted 8.24.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Whitney, it can definitely be a challenge so I’m glad you’ve found these ideas helpful! We’re certainly grateful that there are so many nutritious alternative these days for allergy babies xx

      Posted 9.2.20 Reply
  2. Col wrote:

    Such great ideas! We recently discovered that Hellman’s now sells a tasty vegan mayonnaise. It’s opened up lots of possibilities for my egg-allergic teen (also allergic to dairy and nuts).

    Posted 8.17.20 Reply
  3. Robbin wrote:

    This is really very helpful. These dishes toddler’s are going to love them. Thanks for sharing!!

    Posted 8.14.20 Reply
  4. ER wrote:

    This is super helpful, Jean – thanks! Does Nori have a favorite type of toast/bread? Looking to introduce bread to my 8 mo. old for the first time. Thanks!

    Posted 8.13.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi! We use Dave’s Killer Bread thin sliced version with the crust cut off.

      Posted 9.2.20 Reply
  5. Laura wrote:

    Thank you so much for the food recommendations and all the allergy friendly replacements, my Little has the exact same allergies as Nori so food has been challenging and I always appreciate when you post what has worked for Nori! Makes my life a little easier!

    Posted 8.13.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Laura, I’m so glad it’s been helpful! Good luck in navigating the food allergies as your little one gets older and hopefully they can both outgrow some of them!

      Posted 9.2.20 Reply
  6. Liz wrote:

    Thank you so much for the recommendations! They’ve been so helpful! For this bumpkins plate, I’ve read reviews that the soap residue lingers, have you found that? Also for Nori’s allergies, did you all do or consider oral challenges? We’re going through this now and hoping it helps but not sure yet (our son has nut allergies).

    Posted 8.13.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Liz, I think all silicone items can have the soap residue issue. I have silicone kitchenwares from all different brands and need to “sun bathe” all of them after washing. We usually hand wash all silicone dishware in hot water or in the dishwasher and then put it out on our windowsill afterwards and don’t have any residue issues. However we also don’t use a lot of dish soap on baby items in general.

      We haven’t done oral challenges other than just the. standard baked dairy and. baked egg challenges. We’re definitely looking for a new allergist willing to try different things, as our current one won’t even discuss nut challenges with us until an older age which I don’t personally agree with!

      Posted 8.13.20 Reply
  7. Ali wrote:

    Love this so much! We have a dairy-free toddler, who absolutely loves your pancake and chicken ball recipes – cannot wait to try these! Thank you for sharing and looking forward to more of your recommendations!

    Posted 8.13.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      So happy to hear that, Ali! Doesn’t it feel so rewarding when they actually eat your cooking vs toss it, hah!

      Posted 8.13.20 Reply
      • Amanda wrote:

        Seriously! I can’t wait to try all of these for my 2 year old. I find myself making the same things every single week and feel so guilty. This whole post is my meal planning! Thanks so much – looking forward to more posts like this! We already cook everything you blog for adults!

        Posted 8.13.20 Reply
  8. Angela wrote:

    Great and healthy dairy-free meal ideas!
    What kind of non-dairy milk does Nori drink? Our son is nearing 12 months and has a dairy allergy… We’re wondering which non-dairy milk option is best. Thank you!

    Posted 8.13.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Angela, I don’t have a great answer for this as we were not sure what to give her and her pediatrician didn’t really have recommendations. You hear conflicted info on pretty much all the “milk” types out there so we decided everything in moderation and just. gave her a variety, changing it up e very week. We ended up giving her a mix of infant formula (Alimentum) through her first year, in rotation with 365 brand oat milk, unsweetened soy milk, and if she were not allergic to nuts then I would’ve mixed in some nut milk options too,

      Posted 8.13.20 Reply
  9. Rene Torres wrote:

    thanks for sharing!

    Posted 8.12.20 Reply
  10. Sam B wrote:

    These are great meal ideas! And I love how the food is so colorful!

    Posted 8.12.20 Reply
  11. Kate wrote:

    I love how you make effort to expose Nori to different types of foods!

    Posted 8.12.20 Reply
  12. Courtney Kato wrote:

    Fantastic healthy recipes (not only for Toddlers but for the whole family as well)! I really love the mini posicles idea for a summer treat!

    Posted 8.12.20 Reply

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