Before I had my chunky monkey I would talk to my other semi-health conscious friends and we would agree that we would absolutely make our own baby food. Out of real food, obviously, because it just made sense. Fresh fruit and veggies were what we put into our own bodies, why would we put processed foods into our delicate little babies?
Well along came working 9 hour days, rushed evenings, and sleepless nights. At 6 months into my motherhood journey, there was no way I could squeeze in the time or energy to make my own baby food. At that point our pediatrician gave us the go ahead to introduce rice cereal and veggies/fruit. One thing at a time, one week at a time. He said that since Max was 99th percentile in weight, and still waking up at least 3 times to eat in the middle of the night, the other food might help fill him up. As a breastfeeding, working mama I was at the point where I would try ANYTHING to get some sleep. So first we tried the rice cereal. That was a no go. Jarred Carrots. No Go. Jarred Green Beans. No Go. Jarred Peaches. Nope. Jarred Apples. Hel* No. He would not eat any of it. We were literally throwing away full, opened jars of baby food. But when we sat there eating dinner he would try to steal the food right off of our plates.
I took this and ran with it. I decided that since we were eating together as a family, we would need to eat the same thing. That way Max could simply just eat off of our plates. So what did this mean for us? Less fried takeout, more balanced meals (you know meat, veggie, grain, fruit), and food that could be shredded or cut into small pieces.
So, how do I accomplish a balanced meal like this in as little time as possible? Here are some rules I have lived by while following babyled weaning-isa (keyword "ish" because I honestly did not know I was doing baby-led weaning until a friend recently told me I was. Hah!):
- Make a plan and stick to it. I always make my meal plan and grocery list on Fridays, grocery shop on Sundays, and food prep on Monday nights. Of course this is not a perfect world, and sometimes my plans get thrown off. Typically, however, I follow the plan and the plan works.
- Food Prep: After I get my groceries I chop up all of my veggies and fruit for the week. They all go in pre portioned plastic bags or containers. That way I can just dump and go!
- Pinterest is your best friend. I get all of my recipe ideas from Pinterest. I have boards for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My favorite search is "sheet pan meals" because they typically involve very little prep time and are healthy.
Here is what an average day (in food) looks like for us:
*Breakfast: Overnight oats: I buy a big tub of whole greek yogurt, fruit, and rolled oats. Then mix it all together in 5 mason jars for me and 5 tiny containers for Max. Boom! Grab and go breakfast all week.
*Lunch: I buy chicken breasts and salsa, then put them in the crockpot for several hours on Sunday. Then add corn, cheese, and rice and divide into containers for me to take to work and Max to take to grandma-care.
*Snack: FRUIT.... my child loves fruit and its easy to cut into bites for him. I do all the chopping at the beginning of the week.
*Dinner: (Chicken again don't judge) Pesto Chicken with Potatoes and Green Beans. As easy as it sounds. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, throw some raw chicken, diced potatoes and green beans on it with jarred pesto. Then pop in the oven for about 30-40 minutes. Delish.