This toddler inspired grocery list is perfect for families with kids (babies, toddlers, or even older kids!) Be sure to grab the free printable below and use it to plan your own healthy family grocery list.
Creating Your Family’s Grocery List
Creating your grocery list should come from two basic places:
1. Your weekly meal plan. Your list should be based with your weekly meal plan. However, if you meal plan dinners only, make sure you have plenty of snack, lunch, and breakfast options to choose from.
2. Foods needed to replace the stock in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. In other words, these are the go-to items you keep stocked continuously. For me, this includes things like canned tomatoes, frozen fruit, meat in the freezer, yogurt, spinach, and bananas to name just a few. When you run out, add it to your list.
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Grocery List Basics
A basic grocery list should have a variety of foods so that you can expose your family to different foods throughout the week. I’ve divided this toddler and kid friendly grocery list into the following categories:
- Meat, Fish, & Eggs
- Rice & Grains
- Canned and Packaged Goods
- Oils & Condiments
- Prepackaged Snacks
- Convenience Items
Healthy Grocery List for Kids and Families
This toddler-approved grocery list is a great starting place for any family. You can use it as is or to guide you in making your own list by marking foods off and adding some of your family’s favorite foods. Picky toddlers can benefit from being exposed to a variety of foods throughout the week, and planning ahead will help ensure you have a variety of foods on your grocery list.
Buy a variety of veggies you will use throughout the week. In general, fresh and frozen veggies are the best choices, but canned vegetables (such as tomatoes or green beans) can be a compliment to a meal in a hurry as well. Here are a few veggies that are perfect for your kid friendly grocery list:
- Bell Peppers – The orange and red ones are sweeter and may be more well-accepted among picky toddlers and kids.
- Corn – fresh or frozen
- Green Beans – fresh, frozen, or canned (no salt)
- Onions – can buy frozen to save time when cooking if needed
- Peas, frozen
- Spinach, fresh or frozen
- Sweet Potatoes
Try to buy a few different fresh fruits for your family each week. Things like bananas, apples, and grapes are usually well accepted among kids and toddlers and make great sides for lunch or snacks along with a protein or fat.
- Mandarins such as “cuties” or “halos” – Oranges work as well, but I find many toddlers prefer these and they do encourage independence as they are typically easier for small kids to peel.
Meat, Fish, and Eggs
If you are making a budget grocery list for your family, consider stocking a deep freezer or other large freezer space with meat as it goes on sale. Here are some meats to consider using to create your family’s meals:
- Beef – Ground, Steak, or Roast
- Chicken – Breast, Thighs, or a whole chicken all work well in a variety of recipes. Chicken tenders are often small cuts of breast and can make cooking faster if you intend to cut the chicken. Buying a whole chicken to cook and create your own broth at home is one of the most budget-friendly options.
- Fish – Salmon or white fish – choose wild-caught when possible
- Pork – Tenderloin, Roast
- Turkey, Ground or Breast
- Cheese – Block cheese or cheese sticks work well for snacks. Choose your cheese variety based on the recipe plan for the week.
- Cottage cheese
- Cream cheese
- Milk, Whole
- Yogurt, Unsweetened – For more information read all about how to choose the best yogurt for your babies and toddlers.
- Bread, Whole grain or sprouted bread.
- Crackers, Whole grain
- English muffins or bagels – whole grain or sprouted
- Noodles – Here’s some great information on choosing the best noodle from Jennifer Hunt, RD.
- Naan bread, whole-grain – Can use to make naan pizza, etc
- Oats – Here’s a complete guide to the different types of oats.
- Pasta – Whole grain or bean/legume-based
- Rice – wild, brown
- Tortilla – whole grain or corn
- Black Beans
- Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)
- Pinto Beans
- White Beans – Cannelini, Great Northern
Canned and Packaged Goods
- Broth – Chicken, Beef, Veggie
- Marinara/Pasta Sauce
- Pizza Sauce
- Tomato Sauce
- Tuna – My family likes Wild Planet Skipjack tuna which is easy to find at most stores (including Walmart). I like that it is lower in Mercury and caught using sustainable fishing methods.
- Nut Butter (Peanut butter, almond butter, sun butter, etc)
- Sliced/Chopped Nuts – Sliced Almonds, chopped cashews
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp Hearts
- Dried Fruit – raisins, prunes, or other dried fruits (choose no added sugar)
Note on canned/packaged goods: read the ingredient list when choosing products. Many may contain hidden sugars.
- Kids kind bars – They are not my preference as they do contain added sugar but at 5g it is much less than most kids bars on the market.
- Larabars – regular or “kid Lara bar” comes in a smaller size
- RX bars – they have smaller “RX kids bars”
- Green pea Snack Crisps – such as Harvest Snaps
- Whole-grain crackers – Triscuits or Mary’s
- Dry cereal with no added sugar
- Coconut Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Here’s more info on choosing the best olive oil
- Jam/Jelly – no sugar added
- Maple syrup
- Mayonnaise – Choose a brand such as Primal Kitchen
- Coconut Aminos – makes a great soy sauce replacement
- Vinegar – Red wine, Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother for enzymes and good bacteria benefits)
Convenience items can certainly be a dinner saver on busy nights or unexpected situations. Although the term convenience food gets a poor reputation, they certainly have their place in a healthy meal and can make a necessary snack on the go easier.
Here are a few of my favorite convenience items and brands that I prefer to use for my family:
- Applegate Naturals Brand – Chicken nuggets, Chicken strips, Nitrate free deli meat, Grass fed hot dogs
- Hillary’s Veggie Burgers (many varieties available)
- Dr. Prager’s Brand Items (Veggie Burgers, Fish Bites, Spinach Cakes, Kids products)
- Simply Nature Spinach & Kale Bites, Broccoli Bites (this is an Aldi’s knock off of Dr. Pragers)
- Sweet Potato Fries
Why a Healthy Grocery List is Important for Toddlers
FAQ: Toddler Grocery List
Serve your 2 year old a variety of foods throughout the day from this grocery list. Aim to serve them proteins, healthy fats, and produce throughout the entire day. Ensure that you properly cut and prepare foods that are choking risks. For example, any cylindrical veggies (carrots, cucumbers, etc) should be cut lengthwise to avoid small round pieces.
Toddlers enjoy a wide array of easy to eat finger foods. Healthy finger foods for your toddler could include: thin sliced cucumbers, bell peppers, bananas, melon, berries, peanut butter and jelly, toast, avocado, and more.
Toddlers and preschoolers can be a challenge to feed! In general, feed them what you are serving the rest of the family. Here are some tips on dealing with a toddler who won’t eat dinner.
Prioritize your list with the most important items first and unnecessary/wants last. In general, eating whole foods is budget-friendly as you stick to the basics: meat, veggies, fruit, and basic pasta, etc. Here are more tips on eating healthy on a budget.