I want to begin this post by saying that I am not an expert in this area, but am excited to share some of the meal prep tips that have helped me with feeding our baby!
Everyone has their own way of food prep, some may even opt out of not doing it for their baby, everyone is different! But for me, this is how I survive mealtime with a baby. We are all busy in our own ways. Monday through Friday is always filled back-to-back for us… work, taking care of baby, attempting to take care of ourselves, and the inevitable… things always come up when you’re living life on the go like we are! The last thing I want is for lunch or dinnertime to roll around and not have a nutritious meal prepared for our son, or options to choose from.
I started meal prepping when our son was six months old, the same time he started eating solids. This was such an easy time! He only ate purees and I prepped the food, froze it in ice cube trays and just warmed it up for mealtime in an instant. But, just like any stage of parenthood, when you finally adapt to a new routine, it’s time to adapt to a new one. In this case, baby grows up and requires food in a different form for development – this is because they need to be introduced to new foods and new textures.
At around 7-8 months, I started making thick soups that were prepped and frozen for easy meal options. When mealtime approached, I would pop the frozen portion out of the freezer and blend the food until it was a chunkier puree – appropriate for baby and his oral development. I would continue to cook and freeze these soups for him, and the trick was to not blend all of it before freezing it, because the older he got, the chunkier of foods he ate.
Fast forward to 12 months old, the kid doesn’t require the soup or food to be blended, he eats it in chunks. Of course I monitor the pieces of protein, in this case, the chicken. I am still careful, eyeballing the size of food he consumes so he doesn’t choke or have an issue eating it.
For example, here is how he would eat at an earlier age. The food is of the consistency of a chunky, blended puree:
And, an example of what he eats now. Straight out of the freezer, warmed up and not blended. Chunky and suitable for him and what he needs to eat at this stage.
To meal prep, I cook the soup and allow it to cool off enough to bag it up for the freezer. Sometimes, I make the soup one day, put it in a container, place t in the fridge, and then portion it out the next day to be stored in the freezer.
I like to use snack-sized plastic bags to portion out the soup. Before I fill the bags with food, I take a marker and write the meal and the date. I like to keep track of when I make the meals – for optimal freshness, don’t serve the food after it’s been in the freezer for longer than four months. However, we go through the food within one month of preparation. Now that the bags are appropriately labeled, fill with the food. Take all the bags you have filled and place them in a large plastic bag, seal it up, and store it in the freezer. He typically now eats one bag of food per meal, whereas when he was younger, one bag was two portions for him.
NOTE: every meal we feed our son does not come from the freezer. He eats a ton of the freshly prepared foods we eat… Salmon, roasted chicken, you name it!