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When I was in high school I remember wondering why my mother was always so concerned about everything growing up. Why couldn’t she go to sleep until all of her kids were home? Why did it matter what I ate and how nutritious it was? Why did she still get up to check on us in the middle of the night, even when we were older? However, from the second I found out I was pregnant, I understood. The worrying, caring and constant concern started the moment I knew we would soon have a little baby in our lives. As a new mom, I have read so many articles about what babies should learn, things to avoid, what to feed them and how to get them to sleep. I had originally planned strictly on breastfeeding and so I wasn’t really worried about infant formula supplies at first. However, after months of failing (not for the lack of trying) to increase my milk supply, I started supplementing with formula to help him gain weight. All of a sudden, finding purified water to mix the formula with became a priority. I recently found Gerber® Pure® Water at Walmart, and was absolutely thrilled to find out that they make water that is great for mixing with formula and/or baby cereal.
Gerber® Pure® Water is specially purified for babies which makes me feel confident when giving it to him. You can learn more about Nestle Gerber and Gerber® Pure® Water here.
In addition to baby formula and cereal, Gerber® Pure® Water has become my go to product when steaming and making homemade baby food. As Everett has gotten older and we’ve started on solid foods in addition to bottles, I have found that sometimes it gets difficult to make sure he gets a good variety of foods. Our days are often packed to the brim, and usually when my son decides he’s hungry, he demands food right then and there (especially when he’s going through a growth spurt). I recently started coming up with ideas to make it easier to have good meals ready for him quickly. I have previously done meal prepping for myself, so I decided to start meal prepping for my baby. Here are some tips on how to meal prep for baby, and some of my personal favorites to make.
MEAL PREP: BABY FOOD IDEAS
Most bread, crackers and grain products are usually ready for eating almost instantly. However, I find it more difficult to have fresh vegetables, and even some fruits ready quickly enough. Most vegetables are still a little too hard for him to eat raw, so I like to cook them until they are soft enough to gum. Here’s what I’ve started doing to have fruits and vegetables more readily available. (Baby food ideas and what foods I like to prep, also included below this list of basic meal prepping steps.)
- Buy a variety – I start with buying a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you are making homemade pureed baby food vs larger solid foods, try to buy fruit and veggie combinations that would taste good together, that way you can have fun mixing and matching. We liked combinations like sweet potato/carrot, mango/carrot/orange and pear/apple/spinach.
- Make a plan – When meal prepping, I find it important to wash and prep my produce the same day I buy it or to set aside an assigned time/day to do this. Otherwise, it usually doesn’t get done ahead and I lose the time saving aspect meal prepping provides.
- Wash produce – Most fruits can be ready for eating almost instantly with very little preparation, but I’ve found that my family is more likely to reach for fruit if it is already washed and ready to snatch out of the fridge or off of the counter. I also wash vegetables that I am prepping for my baby’s meals.
- Cook/steam food then store – For the foods that need cooking so they are soft enough for my baby to chew (or soft enough to puree if you are making baby food), I steam ahead of time and then refrigerate. That way these food items are ready almost as quickly as my son can ask for it. I use my baby food maker filled with Gerber® Pure® Water to steam veggies I have washed and cut, but you can steam or cook the items in the style of your preference. I have also prepped foods in the microwave, oven and on the stove.
Those are the basic steps on how I meal prep for my baby.
PERSONAL FAVORITE BABY FOOD IDEAS
*Note: Storage times for prepared food varies, so make sure you research how long items keep and factor that into your meal prepping.
- Potatoes – I wash, peel, cube and steam potatoes. When my son is ready to eat, I heat them back up in the microwave for about 30 seconds (check the temperature and make sure they aren’t too hot or cold). After heating, I add a little butter, milk, salt and pepper and then mash them with a fork so I have fresh mashed potatoes.
- Apples – Even though my son can chew a lot of things now, he has a tendency to gulp down foods too quickly. For this reason, I still like to soften his apples before he eats them. I wash, peel, dice and steam the apples. Then I put them in a container with a little bit of fresh lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. Sometimes I add a little cinnamon and/or brown sugar for a little treat. I have served these both warm and cold.
- Carrots – Wash and peel carrots, then cut into pieces and either steam or cook in the oven with a little olive oil. I prefer cooked carrots when they are warmed back up, but Everett will eat cold cooked carrots as well (especially when he’s teething).
- Broccoli – I wash the broccoli and cut into crowns (I usually discard most of the stem), then I steam and store. After reheating, I add a little bit of butter.
- Other cook ahead item ideas: butternut squash, zucchini, spinach, yellow squash, sweet potatoes, yams and pumpkin. I even like cooking some fruits, especially when he was really little and I was making pureed baby food. You can also prep items like rice, beans, pasta and meat!
Try out meal prepping and make sure to comment or email me your favorite foods to prepare for your baby. I can’t wait to hear your baby food ideas!