Kids & Babies

Expert Tips for Feeding Toddlers According to Amy Palanjian, Creator of Yummy Toddler Food

Expert Tips for Feeding Toddlers According to Amy Palanjian, Creator of Yummy Toddler Food
Kids & Babies

Expert Tips for Feeding Toddlers According to Amy Palanjian, Creator of Yummy Toddler Food

News Kids & Babies Expert Tips for Feeding Toddlers According to Amy Palanjian, Creator of Yummy Toddler Food

If anyone understands the challenge of feeding picky little ones, it’s Amy Palanjian. In addition to being a mom of three, Amy is also the writer and recipe developer behind the Yummy Toddler Food blog, a goldmine of recipe ideas, product recommendations, and tips for stressed out, time-strapped, inspiration-seeking parents.


As with most great ideas, Amy’s own experience with motherhood inspired her to embark on a mission to create a space where parents could find practical advice, easy-to-follow recipes, and innovative ideas to make mealtimes enjoyable for both children and parents.


Amy’s passion for providing healthy and delicious meal options for little ones has led her to become a trusted resource for parents seeking guidance on feeding their children. That’s why we asked Amy for her best tips on how to get through mealtimes with kids, one step at a time.


Photography Credit: Matt Fern

What is your biggest challenge in the kitchen as a busy parent with young kids? How do you overcome it?

It’s being able to multitask and not lose track of what I’m doing with the food or with the kid. It’s a lot of balls to keep in the air! To help, I really have learned to streamline how I cook and my approach to meals. This means I lean on shortcuts from the store like bagged salad kits, jars of pre-made sauces, frozen veggies; I mainly use sides that involve little to no cooking like fruit, applesauce, cheese, and crackers; and I remember that it’s always okay not to cook and to simply assemble snack plates or sandwiches for dinner.

Cooking burnout is real! How do you handle those days you really don’t want to cook anything?

I try to keep some easy options in the freezer like chicken nuggets, dumplings, and burritos as options, or I remember that I can make something as simple as pasta with tomato sauce and a side of sliced fruit and everyone will be delighted.


Photography Credit: Matt Fern

Can you share your go-to dinners on nights when you have zero time to prep or cook?

Chicken nuggets with Caesar salad; shared snack plate with hummus, pita chips, cucumbers, tomatoes, and melon; pasta with tomato sauce and salad or fruit; hot dogs and frozen french fries, taco salad with lettuce, canned beans, shredded cheese, and whatever other taco toppings we happen to have.

Be honest: How do you feel about the microwave?

I love how convenient it is and how it has been an easy way to teach my older kids to take more responsibility for their meals. They’re learning how to warm up some of their favorites on their own, especially at breakfast, which is such a relief and a joy to watch.


Photography Credit: Matt Fern

Has Anyday changed your mind at all about it? If so, how?

I love the lids from the Anyday set. That has always been a challenge—figuring out how to cover things in the microwave so they don’t spill over—and this just solves that problem for me.

What do you use your microwave for most often?

Scrambling eggs, making burritos, reheating leftovers, quickly cooking frozen veggies, making oatmeal, reheating my coffee!

Most people don’t know, but the microwave actually retains MORE nutrients than other cooking methods, like boiling, steaming, or roasting. That’s because the microwave cooks food using less water and heat, for a shorter amount of time, so nutrients are less likely to leach out. How’d you feel when you learned this fun fact?

I am actually constantly surprised by how many people still believe the outdated info about microwaves and because it is one of my goals to help families find easier ways in the kitchen, I love to make sure people know this!

What are your top most-used kitchen tools and why?

I have an 8-year-old refurbished Vitamix that I use daily for everything. I use my kitchen scissors a ton. I’m not a big fan of single use kitchen gadgets, so I more rely on solid basics to do more things for longer periods of time. (Like I use kitchen scissors to cut grapes rather than buying a grape slicer. It’s just as easy!)

By the looks of your Instagram, your freezer is a treasure trove of great ideas. Can you share what we might find in there on any given day?

Frozen sliced homemade bread, frozen muffins, frozen veggies and fruit, frozen mirepoix for soups and pastas, frozen ginger to grate into sauces and stir fries. My guide to freezing food has a lot of specifics on these too.

What advice would you give to an overwhelmed parent who struggles to get dinner on the table?

Look for ways to make it easier. Maybe that’s including a food you know your child will eat, or making one less side and swapping in something you don’t need to cook. It might be relying on sandwiches or snack plates or rotisserie chicken. This can be overwhelming, so I like to think of one thing to make things easier at a time. Like it might be doing the dishes, so maybe a few times a week use compostable paper plates! Maybe it’s that you are stressed by the constant crumbs on the floor, so you could have more picnics outside if you have access to a yard or balcony.

Photography Credit: Matt Fern


You’ve created one of the most well-respected platforms in the parenting space! Why do you think your content resonates so much?

I think the main reason is that parents feel so much pressure to be “perfect” when feeding their kids and it’s actually kind of rare to be reassured that we don’t actually need to have that as our goal. I try to do that through the visuals and words I use, and also by using more regular ingredients that more people are likely to have on hand. And I think the challenge of feeding a family, especially with younger kids who go through so many phases with how they eat (and what they eat) is pretty universally challenging.

I’ve noticed in the comment section that your Instagram Reels of easy meal ideas even resonate with non-parents! What does that mean to you?

I love it so much! Once I started growing as a brand, people around me voiced concern that I was “too niche” and that it might be hard for me to resonate broadly because of that. It delights me to be proving them wrong AND reaching more people who want easy meal options. I also love that a lot of those people are young adults, because that was a time period in my own life that I could have benefited from more reassurance about not having to always be perfect about food.

If you had more free time, how would you spend it?

I might take up my old hobby of hand quilting! I did recently start a hiking group with some new friends which is my new favorite thing.


Find more easy recipes for busy parents on Amy's blog, Yummy Toddler Food!

About the author

Lauren Masur

Lauren is the Marketing Manager at Anyday and a former editor at Food Network Magazine and The Kitchn. She is based in New York City where she enjoys long walks on the High Line and in Trader Joe's.