“Surviving Dinner” is a series that is not about good wifeing, mothering, or cooking. It’s about surviving. It’s for those nights when you’re tempted to write “fast food” on the menu, but cooking at home will save you a few dollars, a few hundred calories, and loads of mommy-guilt. And now that baby is eating with the rest of you, you need a strategy! Feeding them foods you’re already cooking for everyone else or having some pre-prepared purees in your freezer will help you save money on baby food, ensure the freshest ingredients and best flavor, and let you focus on cooking dinner for the rest of the family.
This week I’m continuing to share my strategies on feeding baby easily and cheaply on busy weeknights.
I have some staples in my kitchen suitable for feeding the babe, but providing a wide variety of flavors is super important at this age to develop a well-rounded palate, particularly with veggies.
One of my favorite things to do is puree soft fruits and either freeze them in ice cube trays for future use or keep them in the fridge for use throughout the week. The reason why I love doing this? It saves money on baby food AND prevents food waste. If we have fruit that has gone too soft (not bad, just soft) I puree the flesh and use if for the little one. Just this week I did it with kiwi, peaches, and cantaloupe.
My favorite veggie mix-in is spinach. I wilt the spinach in a pan with a little bit of water (it takes less than 5 minutes), puree the whole thing, and then freeze it in 1/2-size cubes in an ice cube tray. Then I transfer them to a Ziploc bag to keep until I need one or two. I really love this option because it’s easy to add this to ANYTHING and it keeps baby’s taste buds accustomed to that “green veggie” flavor.
There are lots of cheap and easy things to try in those mash/puree months – be creative! Add water & puree a veggie you’re already steaming for your family. Saute some onion, garlic, or zucchini and add to baby’s food. Microwave and puree any of the veggies you find in the freezer section of your grocery store. Stir in cinnamon or another spice. Rinse and puree some canned cannellini beans to add a creamy texture to a veggie puree (though don’t go overboard on this one since canned beans can have a high sodium content). And, as always, introduce foods one at a time and according to age appropriateness, be mindful of your family’s allergy history, and always talk to your doctor about your food choices for baby. Happy baby-feeding!
Wondering what I’m doing here? Learn more about the idea behind Surviving Dinner.