This toddler meatball recipe is cheesy, high iron and perfect for BLW and families. It’s an easy way to sneak in extra iron!
After a baby transitions off breastmilk or formula, I think one of parents biggest fears is that they’re not getting enough iron. I created a comprehensive guide about iron before 1, and I heard a lot of feedback that there was NO WAY your kid was getting enough. If you haven’t seen the guide, check it out here.
Here’s the thing- these numbers are averages based on babies also getting iron from less well absorbed sources (like plant based foods), so if you’re including animal protein in your baby’s diet, there’s a good chance they actually need significantly less than that magic 11 mg number.
This cheesy toddler meatball recipe for baby led weaning was one of my secret weapons for those days when I’d thinking our iron intake had been a little low. They’re flavourful, packed with iron and tasty enough that the whole family will love them. Even though my kids are a bit older now, we still come back to this recipe- not just for toddlers and babies!
Table of contents
Why This Recipe Works
These cheesy toddler meatballs are ideal for BLW and toddlers, because they’re tender enough even for a new beginner eater to enjoy. Here are a few more reasons why this toddler meatballs recipe is a family favourite.
- High in protein and iron
- Requires less than 10 ingredients
- Only takes 35 minutes to prepare
- Family friendly
Iron fortified baby cereal – this will add an extra iron boost to the toddler meatballs and will also act as a binder to bring the meatballs together.
Breastmilk – I like to combine breastmilk with the baby cereal to add moisture and an extra nutrition boost. Instead of breastmilk, you can use any milk of your choosing.
Ground beef – I prefer to use ground beef for these meatballs because they add a healthy dose of iron, but feel free to use any other ground meat of your choosing (like pork, chicken, or turkey).
Cheese – I use aged white cheddar or mozzarella cheese because they are a nice low sodium option that’s super melty and delish.
Egg – this will also act as a binder to help the meatballs stick together and also adds an extra iron boost.
How to Make This Recipe
Step 1: In a large bowl, mix together the baby cereal and milk and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Add in the meat, cheese, egg, oregano, pepper, and salt (optional). Mix until combined then roll into 1 tbsp meatballs.
Step 3: Grease the baking sheet. Place on the baking sheet and spritz with a bit more oil in an oil atomizer. Bake for 15 minutes or until it reaches 165 F, flipping once half way through. Allow to cool slightly before serving to baby, or transfer to a freezer bag for later eating.
This toddler meatball recipe is meant to be moist for baby led weaning so your little one can easily suck on the juice of the meatball. However, if you are having trouble forming them into balls, you can add more baby cereal one table spoon at a time until they are able to hold together.
There’s lots of iron sources in this toddler meatball recipe. We have the iron fortified cereal, the egg, and the ground beef (one of nature’s best sources of iron!) You can easily swap in ground turkey or chicken if you prefer, but go for the dark meat which is higher in iron and good fats for baby’s growing brain.
Totally! If you want to put half aside and add salt to the adult portion before cooking, that is a great way to ensure you also can enjoy the same meal as your baby/toddler without having to give the little ones too much salt.
You bet! I make a big batch of these toddler meatballs, letting them cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Then I flash freeze the meatballs on a baking tray before I transfer to freezer bag for 3 months. They never last that long, but these meatballs are perfect for the nights when my hubby and I want to have something for dinner that’s not so baby friendly (ie. spicy food!)
Yes! Assuming you use a gluten free grain, these are gluten free.
The main allergens in this toddler meatball recipe are dairy, and egg, and possibly wheat depending on what kind of cereal you use. You can check out my amazing allergen introduction guide here!
More Recipes You Might Like
We LOVE baby led weaning recipes here at Abbey’s Kitchen. Here are a few of our favs:
- Gluten Free Hummus Baby Meatballs
- High Iron Avocado Pasta
- Sweet Potato Apple Muffins
- Sweet Potato Lentil Fritters
- Healthy “Better Than McDonalds Chicken Nuggets”
- Salmon Sweet Potato Fritters
So moms and dads, tell me- what are some of your favourite meals and snacks for sneaking iron into your baby and toddlers’ diet? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts!
Baby Meatballs for Baby Led Weaning (High Iron)
- Preheat oven to 400 F and put the baking sheet in the oven to preheat.
- In a large bowl, mix together the baby cereal and milk and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
- Add in the meat, cheese, egg, oregano, pepper, and salt (optional). Mix until combined then roll into 1 tbsp meatballs. Grease the baking sheet. Place on the baking sheet and spritz with a bit more oil in an oil atomizer. Bake for 15 minutes or until it reaches 165 F, flipping once half way through.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving to baby, or transfer to a freezer bag for later eating.
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), regulated by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She is a mom, YouTuber, Blogger, award winning cookbook author, media coach specializing in food and nutrition influencers, and a frequent contributor to national publications like Healthline and on national broadcast TV shows.