Planning your Baby’s Meals Ahead

I have been brought up eating homecooked food by my late grandmother throughout my growing years and even as a busy working part time mother and stay at home mom, I am committed to bring up Matilda the same way. I believe good nutrition starts from home and the heart. I have been cooking for her since she started weaning and I am always constantly ensuring she is eating well, trying with new ingredients. Fresh ones.

I came across this term ” Baby Weekly Meal Planner’ in my baby weaning reference book by Annabel Karmel. Basically, it is to draft out what your baby is going to have for breakfast, lunch, teatime and dinner for the week. It is simple, just draw out a table with 7 columns for 7 days of the week and 4 rows across the columns to indicate ” Breakfast/ Lunch/ Teatime/ Dinner”. Fill in with the recipe name within the boxes.

I dont usually plan one but when I predict that the coming week may be hectic and more unpredictable, I will plan one to ensure that my baby has enough food and that I am not over exhausted out from rushing to shop for groceries and to cook. It is also a bit more challenging to find time and energy to cook for 8months old Matilda as her gourmet repertoire expands and also for ourselves.

So, here’s my personal insights on why you would want to have a weekly meal planner.

1.) Saves time and costs on groceries

Have you ever been caught in situations where cooking is aborted because you forget to buy certain ingredients or simply run out of it? Meal planning helps you to see the overview for that week and you can get all the ingredients you need in one or two groceries shopping trips. And the best part is there might be some discounts when you buy more.

2.) Reduce throwing out expired ingredients

For that week, have recipes that contain a few common ingredients so that you are not just getting a particular vegetable just for that dish only. Because usually, some extras usually ended up turning bad or we used that ingredient just once and probably chuck it aside until we forgot about it. For example, I will make Braised Beef and Chicken Stew, so I know I will have carrots and sweet potatoes as the common ingredients. I will probably not make Spinach with Fish and Braised Beef together as that means I will have to get more different ingredients altogether.

3.) Makes meals storage manageable

Unless you really have more time on hand and cooks fresh daily, or have a big fridge and plenty of storage cups, you need to work out if there are enough storage cups or fridge space to go around. I ever got over ambitious and made 2 dishes in one session and forgotten that I had some meals in the storage cups in the freezer. I ended up using other food containers of all sorts and squeezed them into the freezer. You can also calculate the number of portions you will get from the recipes or something else you have worked out based on your child’s consumption.

4.) Extras for the dinner table

Dont be surprised that actually there are many baby food recipes that taste so good even without seasoning. Planning for meals for your baby may also mean you can cook extra and serve them on the dinner table for the entire family. For me, I cook extras for my dog and stopped buying dog canned food and save a huge chunk. My dog loves baby food too!

It takes some practice, patience and lots of love to do it for your child. The results is often fulfilling and remarkable. I like to share what I cooked on my Instagram. Follow me on Instagram @mamaandmatilda.

Salmon with Carrots and Tomatoes

Salmon with Carrots and Tomatoes

Salmon with Carrots and Tomatoes

This is a recipe from Annabel Karmel’s ” The Healthy Baby Meal Planner”. This dish tastes naturally sweet, thanks to the carrots and tomatoes used. It also has a strong savoury taste from the cheddar cheese that goes very well with the salmon fish. As usual, I have also added baby pasta to go along with it. Ideal for introducing texture into baby’s food

Salmon with Carrots and Tomatoes

Salmon with Carrots and Tomatoes

Can babies have onions?

So, as I have been taking 7mth old Matty old on a gastronomic weaning adventure with great tasting recipes from Annabel Karmel ‘s baby recipebook. Then, my husband asked if it was really OK for her to have onions at this stage. Some of the recipes I tried contain them and thus far,  Matty takes them well. She particularly loves potato puree with leek. Like onions, leek, chives,.garlic and shallots belong to the same family called allium.

The general rule is that we can start offering them onions added into a dish at about 8-10months, not as an pure onion puree itself (yucks ). When offering your baby onions, do ensure that they are fully cooked till soft.

Onions do not pose high allergy risk but may upset sensitive tummies as they tend to build up gas within, causing flatulence. In some cases, there might be reflux. Start by offering your babies in small quantity at the beginning, or if  in doubt, consult your paediatrician.

Some benefits of onions:
–  excellent source of antioxidants
– anti-inflammatory properties, so they can be helpful in reducing the symptoms of children with asthma.
– Packed with vitamin C
– boost the immune system
– enhance your baby’s iron absorption from other foods

These rules apply to leek, chive garlic and shallots as well. Like onions, they belong to the allium family.

Tempting to introduce onions or leek ? Try Chicken in tomato sauce and Braised beef with sweet potatoes