Part of the mom calculus we all do daily is figuring out what to feed our little ones. It’s a delicate balancing act of making sure they get the right nutrition while keeping their taste buds excited. From snacks to meals to… more snacks, it’s hard not to feel like you’re a line cook dedicated to pleasing one (or more) very picky palates. Which is why stocking up on staples that simplify those processes can be such a game-changer. Focusing on toddler-friendly food options from Trader Joe’s is one way I’ve found to make sure mealtime feels like a breeze—and stays under budget (all those berries can be expensive!). From on-the-go snacks to kid-approved dinnertime faves, here’s what’s always in my cart. 

6 toddler-friendly Trader Joe’s foods to stock up on 

Organic apple banana fruit sauce crushers

trader joes apple banana crushers Motherly

The convenience of a pouch is hard to overstate—and I found myself (and my kids) reaching for Trader Joe’s organic fruit sauce crushers to fuel up on hikes, after library storytime or any other on-the-go activities. Highly portable and shelf-stable, they’re great to tide tiny tummies over until the next meal. Look for the apple-carrot flavor to work in a dose of veggies. 

Freeze-dried mango

trader joes freeze dried mango pouch Motherly

When it comes to convenience, Trader Joe’s freeze-dried mango reigns supreme. These little golden nuggets of goodness are not only delicious but also a lifesaver for busy parents. With their natural sweetness and satisfying crunch, freeze-dried mango slices are perfect for snack time–whether at home or on the go. Packed with vitamins, they’re a sweet option that even the pickiest of eaters can’t resist. And the best part? They won’t leave sticky fingers or crumbs all over your car. Find it in the dried fruit aisle. 

World’s puffiest white cheddar corn puffs

trader joes worlds puffiest white cheddar puffs Motherly

These white cheddar corn puffs are a Pirate-Booty dupe that makes for a great snack to have on hand–kids love the extra cheesy flavor. I like that they have a bit of protein and fiber, and that the bag is huge (it lasts a while!). 

Shells and white cheddar mac & cheese

trader joes shells and white cheddar Motherly

Mac and cheese might be the unofficial mascot food of the toddler years (If your kid tolerates dairy, that is!). Trader Joe’s boxed version featuring white cheddar and shells is organic and preservative-free, which means you can feel good about serving it on repeat to your kid. It makes for a quick dinner (key for the toddler years), and you can bulk it up by adding frozen peas toward the end of cooking and add in a little plain yogurt along with milk and butter to make it creamier, too.  

Mandarin orange chicken

trader joes mandarin orange chicken Motherly

There’s a reason the frozen Mandarin orange chicken is one of Trader Joe’s most popular items year after year: It’s just so good. For the toddler who loves Chick-Fil-A, this is a probable close second. Pieces of chicken are enveloped in a sweet and tangy Mandarin-orange sauce, and combined with rice and steamed broccoli, it’s a toddler-friendly meal that’s sure to become one of your weeknight staples. It has for us! 

Steamed lentils

trader joes steamed lentils Motherly

OK, hear me out. The refrigerated steamed lentils from Trader Joe’s are a fridge staple for our family, thanks to all the fiber, iron and protein they pack. Lentils can be an acquired taste for some, but I found that lots of young kids will eat them up—especially if introduced from a young age. Lightly spiced, they’re a savory addition to lunch plates–drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil—or try adding them to pasta sauce or soups; some kiddos might prefer them mixed in. 

‘This strawberry walks into a bar’ granola bars

trader joes strawberry walks into a bar Motherly

It’s hard not to love a product that has a joke setup built right into its name, but beyond the punniness of it all, I love these bars as a convenient option for kids (or myself) when a snack is proving necessary. They’re soft for little teeth to chew and made from whole grains and fruit and are full of B vitamins—and they come in tons of different flavors, for when your tiny food critic needs more variety.