Batch cooking for baby- tips and tricks

We are big fans of batch cooking! It’s lovely to know that there is something in your fridge or freezer, cooked by you, ready to simply re-heat when your day has gone crazy. Cooking a week’s worth of food for your baby all at once may seem daunting at first, but it can really help if you are short on time.

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Setting aside a few hours at the weekend to plan and cook food for the week ahead for your little one can make a busy week a lot easier and knowing your baby is getting good quality home cooked, healthy and nutritious food means there is at least one less worry.

Once you have cooked your extra food portions, puree or mash the food to the right texture, depending on the age of your little one. Then cover and set aside to allow the food to cool to room temperature before freezing.  And when you need it simply remove the portion of food from the freezer and place it in the fridge to thaw. It’s important to reheat the food thoroughly before serving, and if you are using a microwave give it a good stir before you serve it in order to avoid hot spots.

Make sure not to freeze anything that has already been frozen and discard any of the re-heated food which has not been eaten. As a general rule batch cooked food placed in the fridge should be eaten within 3 days and batch cooked food placed in the freezer should be eaten within 3 months.

Top tips to ensure your fridge of freezer are filled with portions of home cooked food for baby:

  • Make extra portions of anything you can! When cooking an easy meal like spaghetti bolognaise for the family, get into the habit of making extra portions and storing them in the freezer (remember to only add salt to the adult part of the meal)
  • Cook extra Veggies: If you are making vegetables for dinner, cook a few extra for your baby. Separate them out and puree or mash them to your desired texture and store them in the fridge of freezer for later.. You can either serve these direct to your younger weaners as vegetable purees or add the puree sauces to pasta dinners for a bit of extra veggie goodness.
  • Potato wedges and mash: Bake or roast an extra potato or two when the rest of your family is eating. Once they are cooked, mash and pop them in the fridge or freezer for later – instant potato wedges or instant mash! It just needs to be heated up.
  • Mass puree fruit: Cook up large batches of fruit and puree them. You can store these in your freezer and then pop them in the microwave when you need them. Useful for an extra boost of fruit in the morning to add to porridge or cereal, to serve with custard or rice pudding for a yummy lunchtime pudding or to make into a homemade smoothie as healthy afternoon snack. (See our next blog for recipe ideas for home made smoothies for babies and toddlers).

 

  • Using baby weaning pots: In the early days it is useful to invest in baby weaning pots so you can keep your freezer organised. I tried a variety of ways of freezing purees from using the pots I already had (generally too big), using plastic bags (ok but still a little tricky with such small portions) and using ice cube trays. If you are reluctant to buy specific weaning pots, ice cube trays are a good option and work at the start. Despite being more pricey, I found investing in some weaning pots designed for babies did make life  a lot easier (the purees were easier  to remove when needed and the size of the pots were much more suitable for weaning).

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  • Label everything: even if you think you’ll remember you probably won’t! And often one mashed up pot of food can look very similar to another!! Include the names and dates and use up everything within 3 months.

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All our Tickle Buds recipes boxes are designed to make batch cooking easier! Every new recipe provides at least four portions of each meal and there are three to four recipes in each box. Plenty for both the fridge and the freezer! Find our more here.

http://www.ticklebuds.co.uk

Making time for breakfast time

 

As I sit down for my first (hot) cup of tea of the day, it makes me think about breakfast and how important it really is to make time for the first meal of the day. This morning we were all running behind, I skipped breakfast and I am catching up by myself in a cafe, sneaking a bit of me time before my work day really begins, my husband had a gulp of coffee as he ran for the tube and my little ones munched on a banana until they got a proper breakfast at nursery. It wasn’t the ideal start to our day, and it’s not that uncommon.

We are regularly told how breakfast is THE most important meal of the day, the one you shouldn’t skip. But it feels even more important now we have two little people in the house. My twins have just turned two and breakfast is a meal that is gobbled down. They seem to wake up starving and the change in energy levels after they have had their breakfast is hugely visible. From cuddly and sleepy little people (and often a little on the grumpy side), after an injection of food, they turn into bundles of energy. And even though adults are better at hiding how they feel, I know how much better I feel when I leave the house with some food inside me, I don’t charge down the street at top speed, but I do feel better in myself.

Breakfast provides all of us with the energy to start our day in a better way, it jump starts your metabolism and lets your body know that the calories will be coming regularly throughout the day and there’s no need to start conserving stores. Although it is not always possible, the best breakfasts are the ones we all share together as a family. Due to work schedules, it never seems to work for us to sit down for dinner at five pm, so breakfast is the meal we can all share or at least all be in the kitchen together. When we make the effort to do this, it always seems like a much better start to the day, we all leave the house with our tummies full and smiles on our faces.

By making time for the first meal of the day, I want my children to grow up with breakfast as a regular part of their day, a moment that we all have together, before all our different days start. It might be messy, hectic and rushed but at least sometimes we are aiming to start the day together! I hope that these early habits will stick for them and help them build healthy habits for the future.

Running out of breakfast ideas? See our next blog on some ways to make breakfast more nutritionally varied and more interesting for your little ones. 

Sparkly Mummy