kid-friendly · Recipes

Turkey &Veggie Meatloaf (Toddler Friendly!)

So, I’ve been trying to revive my slow cooker for our cool fall nights, but am having trouble expanding my repertoire of recipes. A few weeks ago, I bought ground turkey to try and make this slow cooker cheeseburger casserole, but it seemed like every morning that week was just too hectic for me to do the minimal prep required to get it started before work. With the expiration date looming, I had no choice but to throw all that ground turkey into a meatloaf. That’s how this recipe was born! I didn’t discover a new slow cooker meal, but I did devise something just as easy and even a little bit healthy, since I snuck a lot of finely-diced and shredded veggies into it too. I’m really trying  to get more vegetables into Georgia’s diet these days, and this succeeded in doing that, while still tasting very moist and just like a classic meatloaf. Success!

The only bad thing is that I took ZERO good pictures of it. You’ll just have to trust me that this came out so tasty, and use for your evidence these snapshots of Georgia enjoying dipping hunks of the meatloaf in her favorite condiment — ketchup — which she calls sauce (“mama, I need more SAUCE!”) I really think the far-off stare, eating straight ketchup with her fork, and treating her binky like a place setting will make this look even more appetizing for you. And yes, I put a red shirt over my child’s regular clothing when she’s eating ketchup.

What makes this toddler friendly?

  • It uses turkey instead of ground beef & other red meats that are higher in saturated fats (and may be carcinogenic!)
  • It makes minimal use of that nutritional dud white bread, instead using some bread crumbs. I don’t know about your kids, but mine gets PLENTY of refined carbs as it is.
  • It packs a lot of veggies without turning a weird color or tasting too “green.”
  • It is good for practicing fork/spoon/knife skills, but is also very grab-able for hands that just want to go straight from plate to mouth!
  • The most obvious: it is prime dunking material, in ketchup, barbecue sauce, what have you.
  • Meatloaf is cool-weather food. It’s filling, reminds you of weeknight dinners as a kid, and reheats beautifully for busy evenings after work and school.

Without further ado, here is the recipe!

Turkey & Veggie Meatloaf


  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1.5 cups grated or diced vegetables of your choosing
  • 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 TBSP ketchup (extra) for serving


Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup ketchup, egg, vegetables, and mustard. Mix well and season with salt and pepper.

Pack the mixture into a loaf pan. Combine the Worcestershire sauce and remaining ketchup and brush over the meatloaf.

Bake for 45 minutes and serve warm. Packs well for day care with a side of “sauce!”

For vegetables, I used green beans, sweet potatoes and zucchini/summer squash. You could use whatever you like or have on hand.

I hope you are all enjoying Autumn and getting excited about Halloween. We are getting into the spirit with festive drinks, decorating our house for trick-or-treaters, and visiting the playground a few more times before frost sets in.

Georgia is going to be Minnie Mouse for Halloween this year — how about you??

Have fun, stay safe, and share photos afterward 🙂

5 thoughts on “Turkey &Veggie Meatloaf (Toddler Friendly!)

  1. Hi, Mande. I have two suggestions for you. 1) My mom used to use oatmeal in her meatloaf instead of bread crumbs. It’s difficult to get nice slices from it, but it has a lot of fiber. 2) Auntie Librarian says to send Mark to the Public Library and check out some slow cooker cookbooks. With your skills, you be able to adapt recipes easily to your liking. Love, Aunt Liz


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