In this section, the Tutti Bimbi mums will be revealing our tips and tricks to batch cooking your baby’s meals.
This is something I dreaded about weaning. I thought I would be spending hours (that I didn’t have) preparing each and every meal. But, in fact, I was capable of making 1 week worth of baby food in only one hour! And so are you- the secret is simply that you just need to plan ahead.
Speed Up Your Shopping Trips
Each Sunday, plan a menu for your baby for the week ahead, knowing what kinds of food you are introducing that week. Then add those ingredients on to your regular shopping list. A handy tip is arranging your shopping list by supermarket section- for example; dairy, produce (fruits & veg), meat, packaged & tinned goods, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene items. This cuts half of the time that shopping usually takes and you won’t need to run back and forth around the store! It’s also great fun to take your little one along on your trips to the store, to show them what they’re going to eat and to let them pick out their fruits and vegetables.
Most organized mummies will cook their baby food at the same time as they are cooking the rest of the family’s meals. For example, if you are roasting your dinner, throw in a few sweet potatoes or other vegetables to cook at the same time.
Steaming is a favourite, as it only takes a few minutes to cook fruits and vegetables. This makes it easy to get your steamer going, and cook multiple loads one after the other. As we discussed before, this method of cooking also retains the most nutrients in your baby’s food, too. And you can add back in lost nutrients by using the steaming water to loosen up the purée.
Getting organized with your storage methods also helps to save time, as well as minimizing mess and stress. There’s nothing much worse than trying to cram all the freshly cooked and puréed food into an already overloaded freezer, then getting the runny baby food all over the place. Neaten up your freezer and choose some decent storage solutions.
Make 1 Weeks' Baby Food in 1 Hour
A Quick Example Of Batch Cooking one Week of Stage 2 Meals In 1 Hour. At this stage your baby will be eating very tiny baby meals 2-3 times a day. These meals will be made up solely of fruit or veg, and maybe a few combination meals.
Ideally, you will be making around 14 main meals of meat and/or veg and 7 fruit options, but the options are up to you. You don’t need to offer your little one meat every day.
- 1 Sweet Potato
- 2 Carrots
- 1 Chicken Breast
- 1 Zucchini
- Barley (ground)
- 4 Pears
- 4 Nectarine
- 4 portions of Chicken, Sweet Potato and Carrot
- 3 portions of Zucchini, Pea and Barley
- 7 individual portions of Carrot, Sweet Potato, Zucchini, Peas, Barley (with breast/formula milk)
- 4 portions of Pear Purée
- 3 portions of Nectarine Purée
One Hour Cooking Method
1. Wash the sweet potato, peel the carrots and put in the oven to bake
2. Put a small piece of chicken breast on a tray and cover loosely with foil, bake in the oven, keeping an eye out that it doesn’t cook too dry.
3. Halve and remove the stone from the nectarines, then put in the oven to bake.
TIP: Cook baby food whilst using your oven for other things such as cooking your dinner.
4. Peel and slice the pears and steam them. When they’re done, remove and add the chopped Zucchini, and after the peas to steam, topping up the water if needed. Remember to keep some of the steaming water to loosen the purées later.
TIP: When you are doing combination meals it is easier to throw the foods in together to steam.
5. Purée the food with a blender, food processor or stick blender, and mix the combinations together for different meals.
6. We will discuss the most effective storage solutions in the next part, but we recommend using the Tutti Bimbi Baby Food Freezer Tray as it safely stores nine good portions in your freezer and enables you to remove portions easily and re-use it as you need them.
7. Spoon each food into your freezer tray. At this stage you will need no more than 2 tablespoons per portion.