Weeks of meals done in under an hour
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could use just 45 mins to make a few weeks of meals for your 6-month-old when starting solids? Introducing solid food is stressful enough and thinking you need to use a lot of your (already limited) time to prepare new meals every day sounds like adding a whole lot to an already full plate.
We were in the same boat as you and really wanted to see if there was a way to prepare nutritious and delicious meals in advance and just grab them from the freezer before serving.
The idea was to use as few ingredients as possible to prepare as many meals in a short amount of time. Oats, apple, sweet potato, and chicken were our top picks due to their high nutrient content, ease of availability and preparation.
We also wanted a variety of foods (from different foods groups) and ones that can easily be mixed and matched. So 4 foods prepared both on their own and combined provide 9 different meals with 5 servings of each:
- Sweet potato
- Apple + oatmeal
- Apple + sweet potato
- Apple + sweet potato + oatmeal
- Sweet potato + oatmeal
- Sweet potato + chicken
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Oats are one of the best grains you can choose due to their high nutritional content. In particular, the high amount of fiber is helpful as your baby’s body is getting accustomed to new things and the digestive system adapts to solid foods. Fiber-dense foods will help with any early constipation or tummy aches. Oats also go really well with the apples and sweet potato.
Apples are also a great fiber source, as well as high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is a known antioxidant and helps boost the body’s immune system. Apart from being prepared on their own, their sweet taste combines really well with our other ingredients.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A and beta-carotene. They also contain significant amounts of anti-inflammatory nutrients as well as antioxidants and have a high mineral content (especially manganese and potassium). They go great with all 3 of the other ingredients on the list and are sweet and tasty on their own too.
We chose chicken as our meat as is a great source of iron (especially the dark meat) which is crucial for weaning babies. Iron stores in baby’s bodies start to deplete around 6 months of age so it is really important to include high iron foods in their diets.
Preparation – what you need
- 2 cutting knives – 1 for meat, 1 for fruit and vegetables
- 2 cutting boards – 1 for meat, 1 for everything else
- Fruit and vegetable peeler – if you have one, if not use a small knife
- 2 deep pots
- 1 baking tray
- Silicone tray(s) to freeze the purees – 2-2.5 ounce meals
- 4 large mixing bowls and 2 small mixing bowls
- Blender – you can use a handheld one or an awesome food processor
Since we plan to mix ingredients together and freeze everything, this is best prepared as purees, so not ideal for baby-led weaning.
Silicone trays are perfect for baby food and purees, with just the right portion sizes. You can freeze them overnight and then transfer them to ziplock bags if you want to re-use the trays. Just remember to make a note of what’s in each bag and the date of preparation. They can be stored for at least 3 months but you’ll probably have finished them long before that!
These have really been a lifesaver for me numerous times when I realized that I needed to prepare a meal for my son in a hurry. Ideally, you’d thaw the purees overnight in the fridge but if you forget (as we have many times) you can also do it quickly on the stove or in a bowl of warm water.
Once thawed you can even add water/breastmilk/formula if you want a runnier consistency.
45 purees in 45 minutes
- 4 cups oats
- 8 cups water
- 16 oz chicken
- 3.5 lb apple
- 3.5 lb sweet potato
- Preheat the oven to 360°F (180°C)
- Slice up the chicken
- Peel and slice the apples
- Peel and slice the sweet potato
- Put the oats and water into a pot and bring to boil, then simmer until the water has been absorbed
- Put the apples in another pot, cover with water and bring to boil, then simmer for ~15 mins
- Add the chicken and sweet potato to a baking tray and bake for 30 mins
- Once finished, place each ingredient in a separate mixing bowl to cool
- Blend each ingredient into a puree (add water if needed for desired consistency)
- Fill 5 sections of a silicone tray with 2 tablespoons each of puree (20 in total)
- Mix ¼ of the remaining sweet potato with all the remaining chicken and fill 5 sections of a silicone tray with 2 tablespoons each (25 in total)
- Mix ⅓ of the remaining sweet potato with ⅓ of the remaining oatmeal and ⅓ of the remaining apple and fill 5 sections of a silicone tray with 2 tablespoons each (30 in total)
- Mix ½ of the remaining sweet potato with ½ the remaining apple and fill 5 sections of a silicone tray with 2 tablespoons each (35 in total)
- Mix all the remaining sweet potato with ½ the remaining oatmeal and fill 5 sections of a silicone tray with 2 tablespoons each (40 in total)
- Mix all the remaining apple with all the remaining oatmeal and fill 5 sections of a silicone tray with 2 tablespoons each (that's 45!)
- Freeze everything and pop out each puree the night before serving