Healthy toddler meals don’t have to be complicated! This veggie loaded zucchini casserole is loaded with finger friendly toddler favorites. And the best part is that the whole family will enjoy it, too!
Zucchini Casserole With Ground Beef
This zucchini casserole is loaded with veggies and ground beef for a satiating, balanced toddler meal. I love ground beef for littles because it is easy for them to digest and is full of the protein and amino acids little minds and bodies need to develop.
Always offering littles a balanced meal with protein, veggies and healthy fats is essential for raising healthy little bellies and adventurous eaters!
Cooking With Toddlers In Mind
Achieving the goal of raising adventurous little eaters who love real food requires you to consistently offer them real food. And to make this feel like a manageable task, I recommend reverse engineering your meal planning. Start with your toddler in mind.
What recipes that whole family will enjoy are suitable for them, too? Start there and create your meal plan around those toddler friendly meals. Then, you aren’t stuck feeling like you have to cook separate meals or make a ton of extra food.
Join the waitlist for our upcoming course Toddlers at the Table for a deep dive into meal prepping with toddlers in mind and helping your little learn to be an adventurous eater and have a positive relationship with food.
Healthy Toddler Meals
Healthy toddler meals include each of the three components:
- Vegetables (and sometimes fruits, too)
- Healthy Fats
This veggie loaded zucchini casserole is a great combination of these macro nutrients to fuel your toddler with a balanced meal.
Now, I’ve mentioned that always offering the components of a healthy, balanced meal are key, but what about when your little only wants to eat carrots, or the beef off their plate or tray? Well, that’s where responsive feeding comes in.
In order to facilitate intuitive eating, we have to allow our littles to listen to their bodies. It’s hard at first. You will have an urge to try to get them to eat more.
But I challenge you to try to follow your little’s lead here. Let them choose what they eat and don’t eat. And when they say they are done, let them be done. Pack it up and save the rest for later if there are leftovers on the tray.
Doing this allows your little to own their eating and learn to listen to the cues their body gives them. Over the long run, this helps them to have a positive relationship with food.
Toddlers At The Table
Our upcoming course, Toddlers at the Table, will be a deeper dive into meal prepping with toddlers in mind and fostering a positive relationship with food. Join the waitlist for our course!
Your Turn To Make This Veggie Loaded Zucchini Squash Casserole
Make this casserole for a meal the whole family will enjoy! It’s full of the perfect finger foods for your toddler. Leave a rating and review below to let us know how it goes. And tag us in your pics on Instagram @healthy.little.bellies. We love to see what your littles are enjoying!
Veggie Loaded Zucchini Casserole
- 2 bell peppers, chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 onion, chopped into small pieces
- 3 stalks celery, chopped into small pieces
- 2 carrots, chopped into small pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 3-4 zucchini, spiralized into noodles
- 1 jar sugar free pasta sauce (25 oz jar)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tbsp cooking fat of choice (I prefer ghee or avocado oil)
- Prep bell pepper, onion, celery, carrots and garlic as noted.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat with cooking fat of choice and add chopped veggies to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5-7 minutes until they begin to soften.
- Add ground beef to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until beef is cooked through, about 7-10 minutes.
- While the beef is cooking, preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
- Also while the beef and veggies are cooking, spiralize zucchini and place in a 9"x13" casserole dish.
- Add Italian seasoning and salt to beef mixture. Taste and and more to taste if desired. Turn off heat.
- Dump the beef mixture in with the zucchini noodles and add pasta sauce to the dish. Toss to combine everything.
- Transfer to oven and bake for 15 minutes, until zucchini noodles are warmed through. Remove from oven, top with fresh basil and serve!