We’ve been doing Baby Led Weaning in our house for a month now. And even though a big benefit of this method is not having to cook separate baby food for your child, I find myself planning, prepping, stressing, and making all sorts of things for my daughter that are completely separate from what we are eating. Part of it is she really can’t eat some foods yet that I love (like salad or smoothies). But part of it is my weird need to introduce her to all kinds of new and various foods and flavors and textures even though we are creatures of habit and eat a lot of the same foods over and over within a given week. I’m blaming the dietitian in me 🙂
This week I finally said enough. I may pick our meals based on what I want to feed her this week, but we are going to all eat the same things. Or at least close to it.
I am also working on a more intuitive approach to meal planning. Which means I gave up using My Fitness Pal to plan my meals. But that’s a whole separate post for another day.
Making the Plan
- I pick 3 fruits and 3 vegetables for the week. I try to base these off of what is in season, incorporating at least one new fruit and vegetable, and one that she is already familiar with. This week is red bell pepper, cucumber, parsnips, apples, pears, and strawberries.
- Each week, I try to make 2-3 combination foods or “recipes” that incorporate legumes, grains, and healthy fats with the fruits and vegetables. Bonus points if it is something I can freeze extra of for later weeks. This week I made hummus, roasted red pepper tomato sauce, and strawberry chia jam. These will be toppers for veggies and items from the freezer.
- We are slowly incorporating allergen foods, so I look to see if there is an easy way to add something from the top 8 allergens to our meals for the week. We started with peanut butter, and are trying wheat this week, so I bought some low sodium whole wheat bread that we can spread with mashed avocado or hummus.
- For adult meals, this means using the same veggies to throw together quick salads. I’m also making lettuce cups and a peanut noodle dish this week that includes bell peppers and cucumber. Strawberry chia jam gets stirred into oatmeal in the morning. Hummus and crackers are a staple snack.
- Right now I plan out my foods and grocery list on Friday, order groceries on Saturday, and prep items on Sunday. I’m working on condensing this into a better system that works for my schedule, but right now breaking it up is working best for me. (Side note: Instacart is life changing! Use this link to get $10 off your first order)
- A great resource for getting ideas for fruits and veggies for kids to try is Produce for Kids. They have a list of seasonal produce by month along with a ton of recipes.
- I get a lot of recipe and meal ideas from the Born to Eat and Baby Nosh books.
- Breakfasts: banana pancakes (previously frozen) or oatmeal with strawberry chia jam; blueberry muffins
- Lunches: lettuce cups, salad
- Dinners: Hello Fresh meals, peanut noodles, pasta with roasted red pepper tomato sauce
- Snacks: apples with peanut butter; hummus and veggies
I am slowly trying to incorporate 1-2 new recipes into each week instead of relying just on Hello Fresh, freezer meals, and takeout. I’ve got about 30 minutes max to make dinner at night between work and baby’s internal schedule that insists on dinner at exactly 5:45 each night (seriously, where do they learn these things?), so I’ve had to learn to be even more quick and simplified in my cooking approach. No trying new complicated dishes that take forever to prep or cook. And honestly, my desire and inspiration to make these type of meals has mostly disappeared. I love cooking, but I love sitting down and spending time with my family more than hanging out in the kitchen by myself.
Have you ever found yourself struggling in a new season with meal prep and planning?
Do you prefer structured meal plans or a more intuitive and loose approach to meals?
- Less structure is definitely challenging for me, but also more freeing.
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