When my little man was almost 15 months, I learned a LOT about making toddler food. I have this awesome friend who has always made her son’s baby food, generally from organic ingredients found at Whole Foods, unlike me who was addicted to the Earth’s Balance squeeze packets. She is awesome; and I somehow convinced her to come over and teach me her super-mom ways by preparing some toddler food (in advance of hunger) that I could freeze and serve up when I was pressed for time.
After our first round of toddler creations, I was hooked! I loved knowing that Aidan was eating healthy food, without added sugars/chemicals/MSG/weirdness, and I could also more easily monitor his fruit and veggie intake. Plus, I started having lots of fun creating little bento box-type lunches with everything toddler sized.
Now, let me give you the scoop on how to do advance prep on toddler food.
- First, set out a plan of attack, figuring out what you want to make. I will be posting toddler-friendly recipes when I find them so be watching for those!
- Second, buy the stuff but buy extra! The more you make now, the fewer times you have to do this (which is totally my style!)
- Third, set aside a day to cook. You can chop veggies, shred cheese, fire up the crock-pot for the necessary ingredients for many recipes all at once. For example, I had lots of carrots and zucchinis that we shredded and put into three different dishes. It really minimizes the time because you can “get into a groove” where you are busting things out faster than you would if you split up the work. Make sense?
- The final thing that she taught me was how to freeze them. Simply spray some oil into your muffin tin, fill it up with your lovely creation, and then pop it into the freezer. Once they are frozen, run some hot water on the bottom of the pan and pop them out, placing them in a zip-lock bag for freezer storage. Brilliant! I’m telling you, she is super mom!
Now that you are armed with the details of freezing, let me share a recipe that I did this with. I stumbled onto this recipe on Pinterest, and it’s amazing that I ever got to it since I have now posted nearly 4,000 things; BUT I DID GET TO IT and it is awesome. Aidan loves these and sometimes if he catches a glimpse of them in the freezer, he points and insists on eating them. My goodness, they are vegetables for crying out loud! How can you say “No” to a toddler wanting vegetables? You CAN’T.
- 2 grated zucchini
- 2 grated carrots
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup diced yellow onion
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- Place grated zucchini in a towel and squeeze out the excess water. Then, place it in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix. Spoon into a mini muffin pan and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes. Serve warm, or freeze for later! YUM.