The Inspired Hive

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Toddler Meal Time Essentials

It seems like just yesterday I was offering our first son his first spoonful of pureed food. I quickly learned that it was a messy event, sometimes took a lot of time, and once he began wanting to do things himself, sometimes took a lot of patience too 😉

You know how time just gets away from you once you have kids? I had every intention of writing this post back when our son first started eating solid foods, but life just got in the way! But that's okay, because now I have even more insight and more tools to help you transition your kiddo from a sloppy puree eater to a self sufficient toddler who loves to eat!!! Here are some of the great products I've discovered over the past year that have helped make feeding our little one easier and (slightly) less messy.

Great list of essentials! All of the must have toddler feeding products for making meal time easier.

Thanks to BEABA for providing a storage tray to try!

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. For more information, see my disclosure policy.


  • Nuk learner cups- These cups are great for transitioning from the bottle. They have a soft silicone spout, very similar to a bottle nipple. To start the transition, we continued giving him milk in the bottle and offered water in this cup. 
  • Nalgene bottle- This is what we currently use. Eventually, our little guy discovered that he could turn the Nuk cups upside down and press the spout on the table to make a big mess! After that, we tried many, many different cups, and they all had that same fun feature! One of my mom friends recommended the Nalgene cup, and guess what... NO leaks! I love them so much that when I accidentally melted both of ours (don't even ask 😂), I immediately ordered another set!
  • Great list of essentials! All of the must have toddler feeding products for making meal time easier.
  • Spoutless training cups like the Munchkin Miracle 360 are great for learning how to use a regular cup. It can take some time for kids to figure this concept out because they have to bite down a bit to get their drink out, but we like to offer it occasionally to help develop the skill of drinking out of a glass. 


  • Pocket bibs- Pocket bibs are a no brainer for catching mess, but what I love most about these bibs is that you can rinse them in the sink after a messy meal, hang it up to dry, and use it for the next meal. One bib to wash at the end of the day instead of a zillion? Yes, please!
  • Training spoons- When our kiddo first started solids, we used these baby spoons to feed him. Once he started showing interest in doing it himself, we used these training spoons that make it easier for him to scoop without spilling. It's less mess for us and less frustrating for him! Now that he is becoming a little more picky with his food, I might try these fun construction utensils to encourage him to eat!
  • Great list of essentials! All of the must have toddler feeding products for making meal time easier.
  • Silicone Plates- At some point, all babies go through the "uh oh" phase where they drop things over and over. And at some point, that leads to dropping their plate on the floor. These silicone plates have a giant suction cup on the bottom of them. Hands down, one of my favorite buys for our little man!
  • Munchkin Stay-Put suction bowls- Same as above, these suction cup bowls help keep the mess to a minimum. I like to use these bowls for snack time or things like his favorite Annie's Bernie O's.
  • BEABA multiportions trays- These are my favorite for helping the entire week go a little smoother, especially now that I have a newborn too. I'm always looking for things to help me save time and ways to function with one hand while I've got the baby in the other. I like to prep toddler finger foods at the beginning of the week, put them into these portioned BEABA trays, and pop them in the fridge. Then, when it's time to eat, I have something easily accessible and ready to serve. Some favorites around here are hard boiled eggs, cheese, and fruit. 
  • Great list of essentials! All of the must have toddler feeding products for making meal time easier.
  • Convertible high chair- We have the GRACO Blossom DLX, and I don't have a single complaint about it. It has extra trays and they fit in the dishwasher. The height adjusts easily. And it even accommodates multiple kids at once, which is my favorite part since both of our kids will be eating solids soon. It has an extra booster seat and the whole base detaches, so one kid can sit in a regular chair, and one in the high chair. 


  • Pouches- Our favorite are the Mighty 4 pouches because they contain healthy proteins like quinoa and are organic. We also buy a lot of applesauce pouches because that's our toddler's favorite snack!
  • Disposable placemats- I am totally out of the germophobe phase now, but when our son first started eating solids, I hated letting him eat off of the dirty table. These disposable placemats made me feel a lot better about germs, and they have fun things printed on them to keep little ones entertained while you're eating. Now, there's no stopping our toddler from getting into germs, but our new addition to the family will be starting solids right at the peak of flu season, so I will definitely be ordering more of these (and lots of baby friendly hand sanitizing wipes!).
  • Bowls with lids- I love that these are perfect kid portion sizes and have lids. They are great for tossing snacks in the diaper bag to go or for storing leftovers when they inevitably don't eat all of their food! (And our toddler loves to play with them!)
  • Travel high chair- If you travel a lot to other people's houses, the beach, camping, etc., you may want to purchase a portable high chair. A couple of our friends have one like this, and I love it! I plan on getting one before our next camping trip!


  • Bottle brush- I like this Munchkin brush because it suctions to the countertop, and it also has a smaller brush inside of it that is perfect for cleaning nipples, spouts, and valves. 
  • Dishwasher basket- There are tons of dishwasher baskets available to keep your tots stuff together in the dishwasher. I like this one in particular because it has fold down flaps on the side that hold straws!! Genius! It also has large round openings in the top to allow bottle nipples and cup spouts to stick out. 
  • Boon grass- I like to have a separate drying rack for baby goods, and the Boon grass is perfect for taking up minimal space and letting things air dry. The green is a little much for me, so we have both the small "grass" and large "lawn" in white. Why do we have two? When I had to pump at 4:30am before work, I liked to keep the small one upstairs in our bathroom so I could rinse my pump parts off in the sink. I was too sleep deprived to worry about sterilizing first thing in the morning. So I pumped, rinsed, put the parts on the small Boon grass to dry, and then sterilized everything when I got home at night. It was a life saver having one drying rack upstairs and one downstairs. 
It's crazy how much time and money you can waste trying to find products that work for you. Hopefully sharing what I've learned with our little man will help you out. I've already tested out allllll the things, and these are our faves! If you have others that you swear by, I would love to hear about them since we are about to embark on this journey all over again in a couple of months! :)

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Great list of essentials! All of the must have toddler feeding products for making meal time easier.

Great list of essentials! All of the must have toddler feeding products for making meal time easier.

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