After the disaster that was breastfeeding, I was hell-bent and determined to make all of E’s own food. And so far I would say about 99% of what she has consumed the last 5ish months has been something that I created. It has been hard work, and we still have some spare Gerbers in the pantry, but I find making her food a little adventure. It is has been fun watching her try new foods and see what she likes and doesn’t like.
My favorite resources for recipes and meal prepping:
This is a great website and resource for those looking to get into the baby meal prep game.
I might have a slight adoration of Liza. I have her book and the jars that she created, and E has yet to not like anything that I have whipped up. She has her own line of meal prep supplies, and her recipes are easy to create.
Monthly food prep for toddlers aged 12+ months. I have not used their baby recipes, but they are my go to resource for freezer meal prepping. There is a monthly fee if you would like to modify or create your own menu.
What I use to prep:
I got mine from a consignment fair last year, and it is great. It is really easy to clean, which is helpful when doing bulk meal prep. I like how it purees- I used to have to really thin it out at first, but now I just give it a few pulse and it cuts all the food up. Another one I tried went from solid food to liquid really quick, and I wanted to have more options.
Sage Spoonfuls Big Batch Storage Set, 4 Ounce (Pack of 12)
These are my favorites. They are 4 ounces per jar, and they are what we use everyday for defrosting and storing food. I looked at lots of other options, but I wanted one that was 4 ounces for defrosting large amounts of food as well as something that was easy to clean and standing up to constant washing and use. These screw-on tops are solid, and I am no longer shocked at how well they are holding up to drops and spills. We usually drop a jar a week on the way to and from daycare, and we have yet to have a spill or a damaged jar.
Mumi&Bubi Solids Starter Kit, Baby Food Freezer Storage Trays
I use this set of storage trays when making baby food in bulk. They are easy to use, and the frozen food pops out really easily. Each cube is 1 ounce. I usually pull the frozen tray out and let it sit for a few minutes, and then pop them out and store the frozen cubes in ziplock bag (Don’t forget to date your bags and label what it is- peaches and sweet potatoes look similar when frozen)
NUK Mash and Serve Bowl for Making Homemade Baby Food
Great for helping to bridge the gap between pureed food and table food (more solid food) I am using this a lot more now that E is getting older and is able to handle more solid/table food. I love how the bottom has both a flat and raised surfaces.
Whoozems Baby Bottle Labels, Self-laminating - Great for Daycare
Not exactly meal prep, but I just love the ease of this: Munchkin 4 Ounce Easy Squeezy Spoon. This is perfect for when I know I will be out and about with E, and she will be wanting to eat. No messing with a jar and spoon. I will say though that the food needs to be a stage 2 or thinner consistency, so it is not as practical now that her food is getting thicker. My sister was in awe, and a little jealous, when I whipped that out to feed E.
I got my steam basket at Wal-Mart. I wanted an additional way to steam cook food so that I could cook two foods at once. This is great for me to use I can just throw the food in and have it cook while I am making dinner.
Some baby food prepping tips:
I usually make a list of foods that I want for E in addition to what we will be having for the week. She does occasionally eat what we are eating, but the majority of the time I am cooking while the husband feeds her so I make sure she has food already prepped. I tend to overlap food: I will make zoodles or spaghetti squash for us, and then leave a little out before cooking (or after) for E.
I also tend to buy pre-cut vegetables when possible. It can sometimes be more expensive, but it saves me a ton of time. Just dump into the steamer and go!
I will also prep food together- so I make a combination of broccoli and pear so I will steam the both separately at the same time, and then puree together. That way if I get pulled away, I have at least one meal done. If I am doing a big meal prep, I will start with the food that is pre-cut, and then cut up the rest of the food when the other food is steaming.
Start small and work your way up if making your baby food is overwhelming. I always have a few jars of food at home and at daycare in case I am not able to make her food and we run out in the fridge and freezer or we accidently forget the food at home. One way to start would be with breakfast. You can puree fruit (or use a canned jar) and make a batch of oatmeal to go with. I usually make 1 ½ cup of oatmeal, and remember to grind or run the oats through the blender first. I also used store bought baby food for food that are not in season, or food I was not easily able to find.
Include what you are cooking for dinner in your baby food prep. Meat and veggies that you are prepping can easily be pulled aside and made into baby food. I will usually cut up a piece or two of chicken and cook that separately with a little seasoning for E while making dinner for me and my husband.
Food prep can seem like a daunting task, but if you start small you can easily start to incorporate homemade baby food into your everyday cooking. What are your baby’s favorite recipes? E is obsessed with butternut squash- she eats it all up!