Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Meal Planning for Baby & Printable

Our daughter has been eating solid foods for a few months now. In the beginning when she was only eating one solid food meal, it was easy to find something for her to eat. But now that she is eating three solid food meals, I found meal planning is the best solution to make sure I have food on hand to serve her. We use a combination of homemade baby food and prepackaged depending on if we will be home or not. I have heard of some people making some pretty crazy homemade baby food combinations, but I am not that creative!

Steps to Meal Plan for Baby:
1. Sit down with a blank calendar or even just a piece of paper to write down your plan. (or use the free printable at the end of the post!)
2. Think about how many meals your baby eats (this will depend mostly on age).
3.  Take inventory of what you have on hand, whether it be fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, or prepackaged from the store.
4. Fill in your calendar with the foods for each meal. You can be as detailed or vague as you want. For example, I do not write down the amounts, just the foods.
5. Prepare the meals for the week.

Example Meal Plan:

12 PMMultigrain CerealMultigrain CerealMultigrain CerealMultigrain CerealMultigrain CerealMultigrain CerealMultigrain Cereal
2:30 PMPeach Greek YogurtPeaches, PearsBananaAppleBlueberry Greek YogurtMangoPear
5:30 PMPeas, ChickenSweet Potato, TurkeyMixed Vegetables, PastaCarrots, BeefPeas, ChickenSweet Potato, BeefGreen Beans, Chicken

To prepare for the week, I start with measuring out her cereal for the entire week. It makes it so much easier to just grab a bowl than having to measure it out every day. I use these Take & Toss Toddler Bowls made by The First Years to divide up each day's cereal.

Next up, I prepare the fruits and vegetables. I steam the fruits and vegetables before pureeing them (with the exception of bananas). I have a stockpot with a steamer insert that I use. I fill the stockpot with 1-2 cups of water. While the water is boiling, I cut the vegetables up into smaller pieces so they will cook faster. Then I put them in the steamer part and cover with the lid. I let them boil for about 5 minutes and then make sure they are cooked all the way through.

After the vegetables are cooked, I put them in my Baby Bullet. You can just use a regular blender, or even a fork to mash it up. Depending on the fruit or vegetable you are making, you may need to add water. I found this to be especially true with the thicker vegetables like sweet potatoes. I just add the water that I boiled with.
Once the food is pureed, I put them in individual containers and put them in the fridge or freezer, depending on when the food will be consumed.

Some examples of good homemade baby foods: carrots, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, yellow squash, pears, apples, bananas, avocados, mango, and peaches.

 Here is a free printable to use for your Baby Meal Planning! Click on the image below:


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