A few months after Noah was born, I told myself that I couldn’t wait until he ate “real” food because I thought it would be so much easier. I was tired of making bottles of formula, warming them, and washing their many parts each and every day. Little did I know, those were the good days.
Yes, it is nice to give our son a little snack from the pantry, or toss him a pouch to suck down, but planning or creating meals takes a little more thought.
We try not to always give our son frozen chicken nuggets or a pouch of yogurt, but sometimes you do what you need to do in the moment. We aim to provide a variety of foods at each meal but this requires some thinking and preparation.
During the week, my ride picks me up at work and then we pick Noah up at daycare. Tim is usually not home by this point and Noah is usually starving within 15 minutes of being home. He has been eating his dinner around 4:30-4:45 lately. This means, I need to both entertain a one-year-old while getting his dinner together. For a little guy who has just played all day at daycare, all he wants to do is hang out with Mommy, or have me hold his hands while he walks aimlessly around the house. He wants nothing to do with his toys at this point as he has played with toys all day. I cannot do this if I am getting his meal together. Also, the second he sees or smells food, he goes nuts and is so excited and literally wants to eat it NOW. I needed to find a way to limit the amount of time that it took to get his dinner ready.
My husband and I decided that we wanted to start meal prepping, similar to what we do on Sundays for our own lunches for the week. We wanted to create a system for Noah’s dinners throughout the week.
We started this week and it has gone well so far. It takes the thinking out of the equation and allows me to spend more time with my little man instead of scrambling to figure out what to feed my hungry hungry hippo.
For example, we put a zip lock bag in the freezer that has a vegetable and a protein in it. We also cut up fresh fruit ahead of time, pick out a pouch, or had deli meat or cheese already in small bite size pieces. This way, I can offer Noah the pouch first, which he sucks down in 30 seconds, give him some fresh fruit for example, and wait for the frozen items to heat up and cool down.
This week, we had 5 different zip lock bags in the freezer and when it was time to eat, I grabbed one, emptied it out onto a paper plate, tossed it in the microwave, and the thinking was already done for me.
Some easy ideas to throw in a bag or have chopped up and ready to go:
· Meatballs and peas
· Veggie nuggets and broccoli
· Chicken nuggets and coli flour
· Fish sticks and carrots
· Hash browns
· Deli meat
· Fresh fruit
· Noodles or mac and cheese
· Breakfast food (pancakes, French toast, waffles)
· Any frozen recipe you’ve made such as oatmeal fingers or egg bites
· Pouches of all types
· Literally anything!
We are lucky in the fact that our son’s daycare provides snacks and lunch for him, but on the weekends, maybe we will try the meal prepping for his lunches too.
I highly recommend meal prepping for your little one.