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Being a mom of three definitely keeps me on my toes. I find myself constantly looking for new ways to get the most out of my time. Food and snack prep is a great way to do so. When you prepare snacks and food in advance, it can be a lot of work initially, but it ends up saving you time in the long run. I have created a list of some things we should be prepping in an effort to make our days easier, while encouraging a healthy lifestyle.
When I was growing up, the term ‘baby food’ referred to a factory made product that was sold in a jar, and marketed to parents for their weaning children. In this century, it seems as though many parents are going for healthier alternatives. The truth is that all baby food prepared at home can easily be a healthier version of what is sold in stores. We know exactly what the ingredients are, and they do not have a shelf life of a few months, which should already be raising flags for parents. For preparing baby food in advance, one can quickly steam (or keep raw depending), blend and store.
If you plan on freezing them, I suggest going for the Jumbo EZ Pop, as it holds 3oz. That amount is perfect for early weaning stage babies. To defrost, you can place the cubes in a pot on the stove and stir occasionally, or leave your desired amount in the fridge overnight to defrost gradually. If you are serving within the next day or so, pour the purée into your preferred Ez Pop storage container to refrigerate until needed.
Finger Food (Baby Led Weaning)
If your baby is munching on fruits and veggies on his/her own, the EZ Lock containers are ideal. Whether you are off to the park, on a grocery run, or expecting a long wait at the doctor’s office, you can easily toss some green peas, cucumber, slices or grapes in one of Innobaby’s EZ Lock containers to take with you. The small sizes are perfect, as our six month old only eats so much as a time. The Packin’ Smart Three Tier Twistable works great for this as well.
We stopped purchasing store bought juices completely in our home. At first I was diluting drinks with water, but diluting sugary, artificially flavoured beverages doesn’t necessarily make them any better. We love our smoothies and teas, but for most of our hydration needs, we drink water. Sometimes it gets a little boring for us, and we have fun switching things up with naturally flavoured water.
Simply fill freezer trays with your choice of cleaned and chopped fruits of veggies. Fill up with water, cover and freeze. When it’s time for a refreshing glass of water, select your cubes to add to your glass and let the flavour mix in gradually as it melts. If you want to get more flavour out, add the ingredients to a pot of boiling water, and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Strain it, and fill up your trays. My favourite combo for this usually includes ginger, cinnamon and sometimes lemon. It’s a great idea for cucumber as well, or assorted berries. The sky’s the limit when it comes to the combination of ingredients, and it is definitely healthier than anything you can purchase at the store, and cheaper as well! Our toddlers love selecting their own combination of assorted cubes for their water.
Herbs for cooking only stay fresh for a certain length of time in the home. If you chose to prepare them in advance, chop them up, and fill up your freezer trays, along with some water, oil or homemade broth. Once they are frozen, you can bag them and freeze for when you need to cook. This is good for soups, homemade gravies, baby food, stews and more.
Speaking of broths, these are great to prep as well! Add your vegetables and spices to a pot of boiling water, and let simmer for an hour. These are also great for soups, thinning baby purées and more.
Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, there are many benefits to pumping your breast milk. I use mine for milk baths, ear infections, mosquito bites and more. Why purchase loads of storage bags when you can freeze them in freezer trays? Select a 3oz or 1/2oz cubes to fill up and store as needed.
Homemade Treat Prep
Homemade healthy treats can be prepared in advance in your containers for a later date. One of our favourite is chia pudding. I pour some coconut milk or almond milk, along with some chia seeds and chopped fruit to seal and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, I sometimes top it with granola or honey to change things up. Overnight oats is another prep that works well with the EZ Lock containers.
-blog post and pictures contributed by KidFoodIdeas