After a long day of work, school pick-up lines, and afternoon activities, the last thing you may want to do is spend hours sweating over a stove. You might feel like serving PB & J sandwiches to the older kids, tossing a fruit and veggie pouch to your baby, and calling it a night—and hey, no judgment here! 

But it is also possible to throw together a healthy meal without hours and hours of prep. And you can save even more time by making one meal that everyone can eat—including the littlest member of your brood. Research tells us that mealtimes positively impact kids’ eating habits, and watching their parents eat healthily is key. So, it is crucial to involve them in family mealtimes as soon as they start eating.

Remember that babies don’t need added salts or sugars to their foods…but that shouldn’t condemn them to months of bland food (they have tastebuds to honor too)!  Flavor their foods with herbs and salt-free seasoning blends (just hold the spice!). Family dinners can be colorful, delicious, chock-full of nutrients, and ready to have on the table in no time. Let these easy dinner ideas for babies inspire some new meals for the whole family!

Baby Dinner #1: Flaked Salmon with Quinoa and Peas 

Canned salmon is one of your grocery store’s best kept secrets. This shelf-stable staple makes offering healthy eats easy and affordable. Canned salmon is loaded with a nutrient called choline to help your little one’s brain development. You can safely introduce fish to your baby as early as 6 months, but be on the lookout for signs of a food allergy (hives, red spots, and wheezing, to name a few).

Then, cook your quinoa just like rice, but rinse it first to make it less bitte. Boil and drizzle with olive oil for a healthy side that loads your babe up with essential amino acids to support growth. Round out the meal with a side of steamed peas to boost fiber to ward off any problems going #2. 

Baby Dinner #2: Baby S’Ghetti

Spaghetti squash is one of our top picks for feeding littles. More nutrient-dense than run-of-the-mill pasta, spaghetti squash carries vitamin B6, vitamin C, and pantothenic acid. To prepare it, carefully cut a spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil, and place face down on a baking sheet. Be sure to bake for 30 to 40 minutes, so it’s tender, and then use a fork to draw the squash “noodles” out. Or cut your prep time by buying frozen spiralized squash noodles. The noodles should be soft enough for your baby to pick up and eat, using a palmer or pincer grasp.  Cut up soft turkey meatballs into bite-sized pieces to add iron to the meal, and offer a side of vitamin C-rich marinara sauce, which will help with iron absorption.

Baby Dinner #3: Littles Lentil Stew With a Cornbread Muffin

You might have noticed that lentils are getting a lot of love when it comes to feeding littles. That’s because these small-but-mighty legumes are a fantastic source of fiber and protein. To boot, they’re brimming with folate for cells, blood, and tissues, as well as iron for healthy oxygen flow and brain health. It’s wise to rinse lentils before boiling them, but they don’t have to be soaked like other types of dry beans, making them a perfect choice for quick, convenient meal prep. Cook them into a stew with chopped spinach for added nutrition and serve them with bite-sized pieces of cornbread. Pre-moisten pieces of cornbread by dipping them into the lentil stew juice, so they aren’t super dry (this will make them more palatable and easier for Baby to eat). 

Baby Dinner #4: Mini Fish Dinner

Bring seaside eats to the dinner table. Cod is an ideal fish to offer your tiny muncher because it doesn’t have a fishy taste. Whether you steam it, bake it, or air fry it, you can offer it in pieces or shreds. Pair the protein with cut-up soft-boiled rotini or penne pasta noodles and a pesto sauce. For more color and extra carotenoids (a source of vision-helping vitamin A), throw in some steamed carrots.

Baby Dinner #5: Tot Taco Bowl

There are countless ingredient combos and ways to create taco bowls for your little one. Conveniently, you can mash, cut up, or puree whatever you’ve made for the rest of the family and make it appropriate for your youngster. A few options to consider mixing and matching include: brown rice, fork-mashed black beans, shredded cheese, minced beef, avocado cubes, and pureed corn. These foods are good sources of fiber, B vitamins, iron, protein, and calcium–all essential to your baby’s health. The beauty of this customizable baby dinner idea is that it exposes your bub to a variety of foods and is easy to update depending on what’s in your fridge or pantry. It’s such a crowd-pleaser, you may be tempted to live every day like it’s Taco Tuesday!

Baby Dinner #6: Sweet Potato Pockets

As any busy parent knows, a meal you can eat with one hand is, well, quite handy! Sweet potato pockets combine whole wheat tortillas with a mashed sweet potato mixture and shredded mozzarella cheese. Soften a tortilla or pita pocket by steaming it, and make sure not to overstuff it with the filling. Your baby gets an easy tummy meal, plus heart-healthy whole grains and fiber.


Sweet potatoes make a must-have food for babies because they cook in no time and offer your babe vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese. You can also add sauteed spinach to the sweet potato and cheese filling for added folate and iron. Cut up the pockets into bite-sized pieces or let them munch baby-led-weaning style with a triangle-shaped piece or strip. 

Baby Dinner #7: Mini Meatloaf and Mashed Cauliflower

Put a twist on this retro dinner by bulking them up with extra nutrients. Sneak minced veggies or even baby food purees into your meatloaf mix before pressing it into a muffin tray and baking.  Offering your baby meat from an early age helps ensure they’re getting enough iron, zinc, and B vitamins for immune health and energy production so their bodies can function at their best. Quickly steam some garlic and cauliflower in the microwave for a tasty mashed cauliflower side for added antioxidants and immune-boosting vitamin C.

Baby Dinner #8: Easy Egg and Pancake Breakfast

Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? Scramble up some eggs with some of your baby’s milk to keep them soft and easy to eat. Eggs provide babies with choline, healthy fats, and protein to support how quickly they grow in the first year of life. Serve mini pancakes cut into bite-sized cubes and moisten them with applesauce or pear puree with cinnamon.  

Baby Dinner #9: Skillet Harvest Hash

Prep an autumn-inspired dinner with ground turkey, pumpkin or butternut squash, and kale. Pumpkin and butternut squash has lots of fiber, vitamin A, and potassium, while kale gives your baby vitamin K and manganese. Add oil to the skillet over medium and cook ground turkey until the pink is gone. Set the meat aside, cook the pumpkin or butternut squash until it softens, and then add the kale. Once the mixture is tender, add ground turkey and baby-friendly seasonings such as sage, garlic powder, onion powder, or thyme. Depending on your baby’s age, you can toss some of this warm mixture into a food processor and serve it over rice. 

Baby Dinner #10: Tofu Noodle Bowl

A meatless Monday classic, tofu noodle bowls make a simple, nutritious, and time-saving meal. Pan-fry cubed tofu and broccoli florets in sesame oil and serve with boiled rice noodles. Tofu is packed with calcium to nourish your baby’s bones and teeth. It has a healthy amount of protein and iron, making it a nutrient-rich fit for your baby. You can chop the tofu and broccoli blend into a scramble with rice noodles, or you can serve all ingredients individually cut up and in their sections on your baby’s plate. 

More Baby Meal Inspiration:

About Gabrielle McPherson

Gabrielle McPherson, MS, RDN, LDN is registered dietitian in Missouri who specializes in community and pediatric nutrition. Gaby is passionate about encouraging families to eat well in simple, practical ways that are realistic...and delicious! When not working, Gaby loves cooking, baking, and making messes and memories with her sous-chef/preschooler Charlotte.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.