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"Emergency" toddler meals?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

So, tonight I spent an hour preparing a new recipe for dinner that turned out absolutely disgusting.  So there we were, 30 minutes late for dinner, a hungry, grumpy 2-year-old, a frazzled mom, a kitchen in utter chaos, a CD loudly skipping in the CD player - and absolutely nothing prepared for my daughter's dinner.  She ended up eating some monterey jack, a Stonyfield non-fat strawberry yogurt, and some bits of biscuit.  Not my best parenting moment.  I usually have some Annie's microwave pouches on hand for her just in case, but tonight's experience left me wanting to be sure I'm prepared if something like this happens again.  So...what do you have on hand to feed your toddler at times when it's 30 minutes past supper-time and you have nothing prepared? 

post #2 of 16

eggs, cheese, crackers, whatever fruits we had around, peanut butter. sammiches always worked in my house!

post #3 of 16
I really see nothing wrong with what you gave her. It's not every night so it's really not a big deal. smile.gif We've all been there in some form at some point!

I have trouble cooking for emotional/mental reasons so I sometimes stock up on a few frozen meals, boxed soup, etc. for the days when I just can't cook. Trader Joe's has some very cheap options. Some are high in sodium though.

And sometimes when I need to pull together something simple we just have salads, or veggies/hummus/crackers/cheese, or fruit & yogurt, he is kind of self-sufficient when it comes to eating so if he's still hungry he'll just open the fridge & grab whatever fruit/veggies/leftovers he wants.

Really, if he is eating balanced meals most of the time, then in my house, anything goes, even ice cream sundaes for dinner as long as it's only a one-time deal!
post #4 of 16

and i would like to emphasize with you...i hate when dinner is a disaster! i hate having to walk out to dump dinner into the woods. i guess the critters like it, tho! lol

post #5 of 16
I agree with PPs, nothing wrong with a snacky dinner sometimes. We also freeze leftovers in toddler-size servings to use for quick dinners or lunches.
post #6 of 16

A grazing dinner is fine! DD ate that way last night. She had cheese, fruit smoothie, yogurt w honey, and some salad. Pretty well rounded meal even if she ate it here and there over an hour and a half. Also, it doesn't happen everyday so I don't fret.


We too freeze left overs and I almost always have some kind of left overs in the frige anyway. I always have in the house eggs, cheese, yogurt, greens, fruit and veg, crackers, nuts, miso and soba noodles. I can make almost anything with those ingredients!

post #7 of 16

grilled cheese sandwich

hotdogs and macaroni (boxed)

noodles/spaghetti sauce

fried egg sandwich


fruit, veggies, snacky stuff.

post #8 of 16

agree with others that it sounded fine but another idea, not the healthiest but quick, is gopicnic which is similar to lunchables but shelf stable. they have some gluten free so i am thinking of getting some to stash in the car for us.

post #9 of 16
  • scrambled eggs with cheese, toast, some fruit
  • PB&J sandwich on whole wheat bread with some yogurt or something
  • I prepare toddler meal size portions of home made mac and cheese when I do a batch for supper, allow to cool, top with frozen peas and freeze so it makes an easy meal to take out of the freezer and nuke on a moment's notice.
  • Soup and grilled cheese
  • crackers with hummus, some sliced chedder, fruit and/or cut up bell peppers


I agree, nothing wrong with snack-y meals sometimes!  Last night we all had sandwiches and salad because I was just too beat after a day at work to cook anything!

post #10 of 16

I agree with all PPs! Don't be hard on yourself mama, it's just like that sometimes.


Our #1 go-to is quesadillas. I always have tortillas on hand. Just grate some cheese between them and microwave it. When possible, I add beans and/or chicken, leftover veggies even.

post #11 of 16

Yep, nothing wrong with cheese, bread or crackers, fruit/veg.

When I need something quick and filling, these are usually hits with dd:

- frozen brown rice or quinoa mixed with frozen peas, carrots and chopped spinach, microwaved with a little butter and garlic powder (usually served with a little leftover chicken or some cheese)

- grated potato (hash brown style) cooked in the micro with butter and garlic, maybe mixed with some veggies

- pasta and broccoli or cauliflower or peas boiled up together, drained and mixed with a quick milk/butter/cheese sauce in the pan

- canned or frozen black beans topped with cheese (with a tortilla or some crackers - she doesn't much care for quesadillas or burritos but will eat them separately)

- oatmeal with flax seeds and a spoonful of peanut or almond butter mixed in, and a banana

- miso soup with lots of tofu, with a couple of frozen potstickers if we have them


I serve all of the above generally with a side of veggies or fruit ... if we're running low on fresh, I always have frozen peas, carrots, spinach, corn and berries, and I keep a few of those individual applesauces in the cupboard.

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the assurance, everyone.  I've been getting really stressed out about food planning and preparation lately, and I think I need to relax about it a little bit.  Trying to make things simpler, but I'm just one of those people for whom simple is really complicated, you know?  I'm happy to report, however, that tonight's meal went much more smoothly :)

post #13 of 16

I hear ya on food planning newmamalizzy.  I just can't be bothered to "cook" lately!! 


We had another whipped together meal last night...crepes with ham and cheese and a side salad. That's another fast/easy one to add to the list!

post #14 of 16
I keep canned beans around like black beans. It's carbs and protein rolled into one. We add a bit of cheese, and there are always frozen veggies in my freezer. I pop them in the mirowave while she starts on some cheese or bread or whatever so she can start eating and I can have 10 minutes to whip up something else. Left over veggies with an egg or all whites and some cheese is another good one. But yeah, this stuff happens in our house.
post #15 of 16

I second the canned bean idea! I like to buy red beans because they are larger/less likely to fall apart with grabby toddler hands :) I also buy cans of sodium free green beans and peas for in case of emergency situations. I like applesauce (sugar free, or especially the kind that are fruit/veggie all in one) in individual little containers for that purpose also. Whole wheat toast with preserves/jelly, even a bowl of cereal with milk or oatmeal will work in a hurry :) Don't stress, last minute meals happen a lot in our house!

post #16 of 16

Yep.  We eat easy a lot of the time, too.  When dh travels, it's just better for me not to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen, and, honestly, the littles eat better anyway.




Scrambled eggs, or egg sandwiches, or egg burritoes.  There might be cheese or ketchup or mayo or diced veggies of some sort involved.


Pancakes, with homemade syrup (just barely cover brown sugar with water and bring to a boil.  toss in some butter.  viola.  less water makes thicker syrup)  I'd probably scrounge up some fruit, too.  Or, make blueberry syrup (mix sugar and a little cornstarch, add a little water and bring to boil, toss in berries, boil until they burst.)


quesadillas, but I fry mine, or bake them instead of the microwave


peanut butter and jelly (ever tried it like a grilled cheese?  butter in the skillet, fry it lightly on both sides.  amazing...feels gourmet or something, lol.)


corn on the cob


whatever fruits and veggies are on hand, eaten lightly stir fried, or raw




oatmeal (with berries, or nuts and dried fruit)

Basically, anything to fill their little bellies. :) 


I decided a long time ago that I didn't really care how much or what or when they ate.  As long as the stuff we had to eat was mostly healthy, it didn't really matter anyway.  Sometimes I cook big huge meals, sometimes we have smoothies with spinach, sometimes we have them with sugar :), and sometimes I send the kids in the kitchen to make jelly sandwiches and I zone out on my laptop.  It works out in the end.

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