Once Sofia tried all food individually, she started mixing slowly. And right now at 13months, she eats so many different combinations.
How do I plan her meals?
1. I make sure she is still getting the 5 balanced groups. So when I grocery shop for the week I make sure I get enough variation of veggies, fruit, legumes...
2. I make sure she eats things that are in season & available organic, so when choosing, I plan around that too.
3. I make sure they are meals that are easy to make, either simple recipes (5 ingredient pancakes, muffins, etc) as well as bowls that are easy to throw together.
How do I meal prep and make baby cooking easier?
1. I cook the grains for the week. Whatever grains she'll have that week (I like to have a variety of 2-3 per week) I cook in bulk and have Tupperware of it in the fridge, so I can heat it up easily & quick on the pan. Examples of the 2-3 grains I choose from: quinoa, rice, different types of pasta, corn...
2. I cook the legumes for the week. Again, I like to cook in bulk so they are ready to grab and heat up on a pan. I do 1-2 different ones per week as these count as protein. Examples: lentils, chickpeas, peas, kidney bean, black bean, white bean, soybean, pinto bean...
3. Healthy fats are really easy to add up on any meal because I cook with them and top off the meals with them too. For example, when I heat up the grains & legumes that have been in the fridge, I heat them up with oil (coconut or olive usually) and then, I also top off the meal with a bit of oil (avocado, flax seed or olive oil, so the meal isn't as dry, especially with pasta/rice or fish! Another healthy fat I like to always have in my kitchen is avocado, this one is easy to add to those meals that maybe don't require cooking/heating or topping off.
4. As for proteins, if she has beans, that's protein. And something that requires fresh cooking like fish or eggs, she eats when we eat it, so it does not take more of our time. This usually happens at breakfast (eggs) or, when she has dinner (fish). Then beans for lunch.
5. Puree: Sometimes I have to puree or steam some veggies to do bowls or recipes, or simply add easy to eat veggies or puree on dishes (like mashed potato / sweet potato or pumpkin puree in oats! Just note, if I I prep puree/steam options, I make sure to cook with these during the next 48h! So I usually do those recipes the first two days, or do a quick round of puree/steam every 2 days.
An example of easy meal prep meal combo I put together?
A Mexican bowl: rice, black beans, corn, tomato, avocado. Then she'd have the fruit as a dessert to complete the meal with the 5 nutritional groups! In this case, I would have the rice & black beans pre-cooked as meal prep for the week. And just quickly mix it together adding the corn, tomato and avocado! It takes 1min, versus having to cook for 20min in order to get the rice & beans ready.
Next time I will give you more meal prep combo examples of toddler meals, and I will keep posting simple healthy baking recipes!