Diets,  Health,  Nutrition,  Uncategorized

Meal Ideas for Your 3 Year Old Child

Healthy Meal Ideas for Toddler

Do you remember when…

Here is the old food pyramid shown below. Some hardcore health researchers were a bit taken back (horrified) by “added sugar” being on the pyramid.

Furthermore, you have probably noticed a few recent diet recommendations where protein and fats are not so bad.

food pyramid

The new food pyramid or rather “My Plate” is a bit easier to swallow

new food pyramid

Rapid growth and development occurs during the preschool years – ages 2 through 5.

  • A child grows about 2 to 3 inches and gains 4 to 5 pounds each year.[1]

Proper nutrition and opportunities to play and be physically active are critical to ensuring your child grows properly, learns to enjoy nutritious foods, and adopts healthy behaviors for maximum development and lifelong health.

Trust toddler instincts. It’s natural for a 3-year-old’s appetite to be erratic from day to day.

Stick to a schedule. Serve meals and snacks about three hours apart. This will help your child maintain healthy weight.

Here is a handy dandy printable grocery list below. When I’m trying to diet a huge tool I have is making a list and getting food on a certain day of the week (habit). Perhaps this will aid you in getting your little one healthy tasty treats.

Toddler Grocery List

Meal Ideas

  1. Peas + Applesauce +Baked Salmon + Chicken & Cheese Tortellini
  2. Cheese quesadilla + Frozen peas + Beer Braised Pulled Pork
  3. Deconstructed Meatball Sub + Maple Bacon Roasted Carrots
  4. Apples + Leftover Pumpkin pie + Turkey + Avocado
  5. Cottage cheese + Pears + Sweet Potato Bite + Life cereal
  6. Blue Corn Tortilla Chips + Green Bean Casserole + Cheesy Chicken
  7. Hummus + Strawberries + Smoked Salmon
  8. Cottage cheese + Clementine + Hard Boiled Egg + Smoked Salmon
  9. Sweet Potato Fries + Clementine + Freezer Chicken Tenders
  10. Sweet Potato Protein Cookie + SimplyNature Broccoli Bites + Chicken Sausage
  11. Clementine + Cucumbers with Hummus + Turkey (Plainville Organic) & Crackers
  12. Clementine + Steamed Sweet Potato + Stuffed Shells
  13. Clementine + Cottage Cheese + Whole Wheat Yogurt Waffle with peanut butter
  14. Fresh Mozzarella + Deconstructed Chicken Sausage Skillet with Zoodles
  15. Clementine + Broccoli Bites + Paleo Turkey Sweet Potato Meatballs
  16. Broccoli Bites + Mandarin Oranges + Instant Pot Asian Chicken
  17. Applesauce + Cottage Cheese + Peanut Butter & Jelly Toast
  18. Pears (in 100% juice) + Cottage Cheese + Waffle French Toast (dip bread in egg/milk mixture & cook on waffle iron)
  19. Blueberries + Mini Bell Peppers + Instant Pot Pulled Chicken (just chicken breasts + broth) + Hummus
  20. Roasted Sweet Potatoes + Blueberries + Smoked Salmon
  21. Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes + Grapes + Green Beans + Instant Pot Asian Chicken
  22. Cottage Cheese + Clementines + Egg Wrap
  23. Sweet Potatoes + Blueberries + Smoked Salmon
  24. Sweet Potato Bite + Raspberries + HB Egg + Shrimp with Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
  25. Raspberries + Polenta + Cheesy Pesto Chicken
  26. PB Toast + Avocado + Turkey + Hummus
  27. Meatball Sub + Green Beans
  28. Raspberries + Cottage Cheese + Shredded Chicken + Marinara + Sweet Potatoes
  29. Sweet Potatoes + Broccoli Bites + Lemon Garlic Chicken
  30. PB Banana Oat Muffin + 4% Blueberry Yogurt + Egg Wrap
  31. Blueberries + Blueberry Yogurt + HB Egg + Bite of donut
  32. Applesauce + Blueberries + HB Egg + Sweet Potato Bite
  33. Cottage Cheese + Donut + Clementine + French Toast Waffle
  34. Strawberries + Peas + Sweet Potato Protein Cookie + Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs
  35. Apples + Squash Yogurt Dip + Avocado Chicken Burger
  36. Strawberries + Sweet Potato + Cheeseburger
  37. Pasta + Steamed Carrots + Shrimp
  38. Mashed Sweet Potatoes + Pears + Turmeric Yogurt Chicken
  39. Mandarin Oranges + Yogurt + Egg + Sweet Potato Bite
  40. Sweet Potato Protein Cookie + Grapes + Pesto Pasta + leftover chicken something or other
  41. Mac & Cheese + Roasted Green Beans + Turkey & Hummus Roll-ups
  42. Sweet Potato + Clementine + Egg Wrap + Hummus
  43. Strawberries + Cottage Cheese + PB & J Roll-up
  44. Cottage Cheese + Mixed Veggies +BBQ Chicken + Broccoli Bites
  45. Paprika Roasted Sweet Potatoes + Blueberries + Garlic Chicken + Hummus
  46. Mixed Veggies + Apples + Turkey + Triscuits
  47. Clementine + Siggi’s Plain Whole Milk Yogurt + Life Cereal + Coconut Oil Banana Muffin
  48. Strawberries + Baked Beans + Sheet Pan Italian Salmon and Green Beans
  49. Egg wraps plain or fill them with some turkey, cheese and avocado!

Things to Do With Toddler

  • Build a fort? Couch cushions and pillows make for a nice change of environment. The new terrain uses up energy. (careful of crawling too high)
  • Boxes? Large boxes make a great fort or tunnel.
  • Paper towel rolls or small boxes make great towers or mini towers that can then be knocked down!
  • Putting rice, beans, gravel in a baking sheet or pan creates a tactile learning experience.
  • Box of anything; boxes of treats, bags of food, diapers, create a challenge to go digging in the box.
  • Bath or outdoor pool; use caution.
  • I didn’t want to mention this one, playing in the refrigerator or cabinets is great but there is a risk of something falling.
  • Nature; just plucking leaves and exploring the colors and plants is a good activity to break up the day.
  • Watercolor paint or play-do.
  • Indoor obstacle course?

*The library is usually filled with child activities.*

Honorable mentions. Toys I have found helpful are magnetic building blocks, mega blocks (like giant Legos), flip books, and mini expandable play homes or mini kitchens.

What should my 3 year old be playing with for development?

At 3, your little one may have switched from 2 naps to 1. They may not even want the one nap but children usually need them up until age 5.

By age 3 your child has a vocabulary of about 300 words. And can make 3-word sentences. She soaks up conversation she hears and can understand much more than you think. The child’s understanding of words is called his/her receptive language. To develop this further simply talk about how you feel, how your food tastes, etc.

Getting herself dressed, potty training and feeding herself are common desires for the child at this age.


I don’t like that word but here are a few in regard to the above mentioned.

Receptive language

2-3 Years – Follows two-step commands (e.g take your doll and give it to mommy)

Identifies actions (jump, run)

Understands prepositions (under, in, on)

Understands simple contrasting statements (stop/go, hot/cold, nice/bad)

Expressive language

Has 200-500 intelligible words

Answers simple “who, why, where”

Combines up to 3 words in a phrase

Uses pronouns (I, me, you, mine)

Toddler Potty Training Tips

Don’t panic, it takes time. Some children will still struggle at 3 1/2 while others may get it much sooner.

It takes time and patience. Among the helpful things advised by others are potty training books, sticker charts, trashing the Pull Ups and praise for a job well done.

Rest assured one day your child will use the potty it’s not a matter of if, but… when.

When they have an accident don’t scold. You can ask “where does the poop and pee go? It goes in the potty”

Then allow them to dress themselves as it will help to develop a sense of responsibility. A 3-year-old can often dress him/herself.

Many people do not recommend Pull Ups

Caroline Fertleman and Simon Cove suggests starting off with potty training sessions. This means that you’ll want to train your child in the morning and afternoon for a few hours at home.

Let him eat, drink and play as normal, but every 15 minutes put him on the potty. At the end of a session, revert back to a diaper or pull-up and go on with your day

Try letting your child just wear a t shirt for a time while at home. This will give an added incentive to find a place for the potty.

Give a reward, perhaps something that your child specifically desires.

A boot-camp approach

You may have to commit to staying home for a time. Until she/he is at least fairly close to potty trained

Cold stop diapers except at bedtime.

Please, no shaming or scolding but try to see if she can take off/put on clothes after an accident. And help with the cleanup.

Try setting a timer for every 35 minutes. And wait 5 minutes on the potty. Do whatever you can to make the time on the potty pleasant.

When the child does go on the potty make a huge deal out of it immediately. A song and dance, a big reward, etc.

Respiratory Challenges in Children

Bottom Line – A brief investigation into the child’s environment may yield good clues in regard to allergens, cleaning supplies, outdoor contaminants, pet dander, etc.

A Hepa vacuum with bag (not “bag less”) is recommended. Also, a Hepa air filtration device, checking home air filter (if you have forced air), and a cool mist humidifier when-applicable can go a long way.

Often a child will catch a virus from other children or from crowded places.

Rest and added fluids will help to speed up the recovery process. Be sure to contact a Dr. immediately if there are any red flags – such as labored breathing or depressed chest or long-lasting fever.

Do not give young children cold medicine unless directed to by a doctor.

The use of saline nose drops used together with a rubber bulb for suction can clear up nasal congestion.

For children over 12 months a ½ teaspoon of honey will help to alleviate congestion. There are trace amounts of bacteria in honey that should not be given to a child younger than 1 year.

A cool mist humidifier – it needs to be cleaned every few days.

Extra fluids

Laying the child face down and gently tapping the back with a cupped hand may help to alleviate congestion and mucus build up.

Fortifying meals with garlic, onions, ginger will help during the winter months.

Washing hands with anti-bacterial soap


Raising the baby’s head while they sleep will often help them get added rest when sick.

Bay leaf chest compress. Bring water to boil with 4 bay leaves. Let it cool check the temperature < gently apply cloth to chest.

Vic’s vapor rub

Garlic milk – bring a few cloves of garlic to boil in a glass of milk add a pinch of turmeric and then sugar after the milk has boiled.

Toddler Imaginary Friends 

Is my child lonely or do they have issues? No worries, as many as half of toddlers show some sign on having an imaginary buddy. You may be surprised to know children with imaginary friends show added creativity, social skills and happiness down the road.

“It’s not a cause for concern,” says Michael Dickinson, a Canadian Pediatric Society spokesperson and pediatrician in Miramichi, NB. “This can be a routine part of normal childhood development.”

The child seems to know that it is pretend play.

The pretend friend can allow the child added control over their environment. There also seems to be some security and comfort gained from the relationship.

The imaginary fried usually has a certain personality and can be human or animal. The friend may help the child to develop socially and to cope with their ever-expanding world.

The key here is that you can gain a deeper insight into the stresses and fears your little one may be experiencing by watching them interact with their imaginary friend. If the playmate is afraid of certain thing your child may share the same fears.

The playmate will usually be gone before age 7. Try not to interact with the imaginary friend such as urging your little one to eat because “harry finished his food”.

What’s more is that the imaginary playmate may take the blame for say, a drink being spilled etc.

According to Marjorie Taylor at the University of Oregon, by age seven, about 37% of children take imaginative play to the next level and create an invisible friend.

If your child has an imaginary friend you can relax and enjoy it. As stated asking questions about the friend may give insight into your child’s fears, wishes, and interests.

It’s okay to correct your child if the playmate is encouraging bad behaviors.

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