Weekly Menu: Baby Led Weaning Basics

standard November 6, 2017 2 responses

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.

Prep

  • 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.

Menu

  • 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.

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Purchases from these links may result in a small commission used to support neatandnutritious.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Easy Fall Recipes for Busy Weeknights

standard October 16, 2017 Leave a response

The weather is finally started to cool down and hint at Fall here in Texas. And since by the time it finally feels cool enough for cozy dinners, we’ll already be in the middle of December, I’ve decided to hurry things up with some comforting Autumn classics this week. All of these recipes feature seasonal ingredients, take 30 minutes or less to (actively) make, and are sure to please kids and parents alike. Win-win-win!

Recipes

  1. Fall Forest Salad  from Full of Plants // A hearty grain salad that is sure to fill up everyone’s belly.
  2. Slow Cooker White Quinoa Chili from Simply Quinoa // Creamy, cozy goodness.
  3. Fall Harvest Salad // For those nights when it’s not quite cold yet, but you want something hearty. Roasted vegetables over soft, massaged kale.
  4. Vegan Pumpkin Spice Pancakes from Minimalist Baker// Because breakfast for dinner is always a good idea! Plus, pumpkin means vegetables are consumed. 🙂
  5. Sheet Pan Winter Buddha Bowls from Yummy Mummy Kitchen // As easy as roast, assemble, and go!
  6. Farro, Mushroom, Cranberry, and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash from Running in a Skirt // Quintessential fall dinner perfection.
  7. Pumpkin Alfredo // For the nights you just want a bowl of comforting pasta.
  8. Vegan Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells from Love & Lemons // Fresh and hearty at the same time.

Have a delicious, Autumn-filled week!

 

Weekly Menu: Easy Staples

standard October 9, 2017 Leave a response

Now that my sweet baby is 7 months old (where has the time gone!?), we are venturing into the world of solid foods and all the mess that comes with it. I expected the food mess. I was not ready for the scheduling mess and kitchen disaster and mental load that came with it. Do we now have to have family dinner at 5:30? How do I feasibly DO that when I work until 5 or 6 most days? What can I make that a vegan, a meat lover, and a baby can all eat without making 3 different meals? And how, logistically, do we handle cooking, eating, cleaning up, bath, and bed time all in the span of an hour and a half? Ugh. Mamas who have gone before me, wear your crown. And wear it proudly.

I feel like I JUST got into the easy routine of baby in bed, then 20-30 min prepping dinner with minimal effort or cleanup, relaxing on the couch, and bed by 10. Now dinnertime feels like a stressful scramble, and once baby is in bed, I have all these hours free. What do I do? Work? Clean? Read? Go to bed early? It’s a whole new open world of evening free time that I somehow forgot about.

ANYWAY, back to dinnertime. Most meals we eat, I can easily take part out and prep for baby, and add meat if needed for the husband. My main issue came from the fact that most of our meals I had already premade and frozen, so cooking parts separately were a little difficult. I am slowly on a quest for baby and family friendly meals, similar to what I used to make way back in the old days of the blog when I was still figuring out how to feed just the two of us and actually cooking all the time. And while I will not be going back to cooking from scratch every day, I am figuring out what meals work best in a pinch, are easily modifiable, and can keep everyone happy and full. Here are a few favorites we are enjoying this week.

  1. Back Pocket Stir Fry with Noodles // My go-to pantry staple from Pinch of Yum
  2. Butternut Spice Risotto // A fall favorite.
  3. Roasted Root Vegetable Rice Bowl // Add peas and tofu for extra protein and a little color.
  4. Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce over Sweet Potatoes and Rice // A hearty easy dish from Cookie + Kate
  5. Braised Coconut Spinach & Chickpeas with Lemon // One of my best recipe discoveries from pregnancy. This dish also freezes beautifully.

More family meal adventures ahead! And probably some plant-based Baby Led Weaning recipes as I start getting more adventurous on the baby food front.

Have a delicious week!