Recently I have noticed in some of the baby led weaning social media groups I belong to the same old questions keeps popping up – “does the baby have to eat what I am eating all the time?” “we are going to a restaurant, do we take food with us or should we order something of the menu for baby?”. As always the purists often jump on the comments first “yes baby should eat wat you are eating”. Now in some kind of perfect world this might be possible but in reality most adults like way too much salt in their food – reflected in restaurant meals that are often loaded with salt before they even arrive at the table. Second what about mould ripened cheese, cured meats, chocolate, anything in brine (olives, gherkins etc), mayonnaise, and I could continue. Of course some of these are not completely off the menu for little one, according to the baby led weaning purists, but lets face it who is really going to risk giving their kid raw egg mayo or mouldy cheese (asides from the purists – who I actually think spout on about the dos and don’ts and probably secretly spoon feed their kids!).
I have read Gills’ book and she mentions that it’s no to honey under 1, she discusses salt intake, and also states that baby should be offered family foods from day 1, eating together as a family, so that baby can learn by example – so if you take the advice literally, the purists are right, but if you fluff the lines, then mould cheese probably is not considered a family food….and if baby is eating something else but at the same time as the family then what’s the problem? Of course, I don’t advocate giving baby a special meal every day – that wouldn’t be baby led weaning to me, my meals are all geared so that everyone eats the same, however if you want that bre and salami sandwich just give baby something else.
I never buy restaurant food for Zahara, for starters its expensive, especially if she is not in the mood for eating that day, second I know in today’s world food poisoning is rare in the developed world, but I just don’t want to risk it, and finally even the kids’ meals tend to have a load of salt – look up the main family restaurants, waggamamas, Jamie Olivers Italian, nandos, and the nutrition content is often at least 1g salt per kids meal – that’s a lot of salt, especially for an under 1 year old, even if they don’t eat the whole meal. Also, I am not going to name names but at one restaurant I asked if the cheese was made from pasteurised milk, well anyhow to cut a long story short something else you would never have guessed was made from unpasteurised milk – and that was off the kids menu!
So here are my short cuts of quick and easy foods that are transportable, some, like peanut butter pasta probably wouldn’t be an adults meal – so this is really a very baby specific food list!
Peanut butter pasta – basically cooked pasta mixed with smooth peanut butter, a bit of olive oil and optional fresh basil (see picture)
Savoury Muffins – batched cook and just grab one out of the freezer in the night before
Scrambled egg/omelette – so quick and easy to do, and will taste just as good cold – if you have some tiny tortillas in the freezer even better (just take them out in time) – see my lunch section for the recipe.
Left over veg and cheesy spread – any left over veg from dinner the night before, mashed up with cheese spread makes a perfect wrap/sandwich filler
Fruit salads – chop a few different fruits, give them some different colours and shapes to play with, if it’s an older baby cut pieces smallish so that can play around practicing their pincer
Oven chips/fries – these are just as tasty cold as they are straight out of the oven (and nowadays you can buy sweet potato oven fries if you want to give them a few more nutrients)
Something they have never had before – is a classic approach I take if I want a nice relaxed meal out at a restaurant, it often means they are fully immersed for at least 10 mins working out what it is and if they like it!
Something they love – again keep them busy when you are out dining
Shop bought fish fingers/chicken nuggets – these are fine every so often (someone call the over health conscious parent police!), plus they are good cold as well as warm, so are fine for a pack lunch
Cucumber/Pepper and hummus dip – shop bought hummus (or homemade if you have some to hand) and some cucumber/pepper dipping sticks
Cheese spread triangles – easy win
Pancakes and yogurt – it’s a little less messy spreading yogurt on pancakes, than giving them a spoon and yogurt – look at my breakfast page for some pancake recipes that can be frozen (so really easy to pull one out of the freezer)
Cheezey quesadilla – pretty easy, tortilla, in pan over heat, throw in some grated cheese and a few finely chopped bits of tomatoes, top with another tortilla, wait a minute, turn the tortillas over, cook for a minute or so more. Cut it into strips. Don’t use too much cheese otherwise it will be difficult for little one to eat.