A few days ago, I received a frantic text from my girlfriend very concerned about the eating habits of her almost 1 year old daughter.  This is her first child and she is doing everything in her power to be a RockStar Mommy, and she is, of course!  She is still nursing, which I find to be quite an accomplishment, but apparently, she is having some difficulty getting her to eat new foods, or any food for that matter, when they eat at home. Additionally, she is struggling with the balance of being able to cook healthy meals for her, her husband and the baby in a timely manner, without the thought being overwhelming in itself, and avoiding the dreaded, but convenient, take-out menus.

Being a mommy of four, and now 8 month old twin babies who also want to eat what we eat when we are eating, I, too, am faced with the struggle of the balancing act.  Even with lots of help, you still have to be organized in order to accomplish anything that makes you feel good.  After some thought, here is what I told her.   Since she is still nursing, the baby doesn’t need any additional food supply, so there really is no need for concern that she isn’t eating at home.  However, as a mom, I totally get how difficult it is to introduce new foods to your kids, especially the healthy, veggie kind.  But if she wants to start creating habits at home now introducing routine so when the baby is older it’s not as difficult to get a home cooked meal on the table, here are my thoughts:

1. Plan your meals for the week.  Know what activities you have planned during the evenings (sports, dance class, cub scouts, piano, etc.), how many dinners will you need to cook that week?  Plan a menu, and stick to it.

2.  Grocery shop for everything on a Monday.  I prefer Monday because it is less busy and I can navigate through the store quickly, plus it’s my husband’s day off so I don’t have to cart the kids with me.  I have a list, I am focused, I get what I need (not what they want) and go home.

Beaba Baby Food Maker

3.  Buy healthy, but buy conveniently. Trader Joe’s is one of my most favorite stores for this exact reason.  I make my babies food using the Beaba Baby Food Maker. Trader Joe’s has an abundance of veggies in steam ready bags-cut and clean-that I just throw in the Beaba, steam and puree.  So easy!  But the beauty is that, you can eat them, too!

4.  Start your cooking in advance. Think back to the days where our grandmothers all stayed at home and started cooking dinner at like 3 or 4 in the afternoon.  There was a reason for this.  Not only did our grandfathers literally have a 9-5 job, but it’s also so much better for you to eat before 7pm.  Not to mention, I’ve been up-ing my kids bed time from 8:30, to 8, and guess what, starting in the fall, they are hitting the hay at 7:30pm.  If you know what you are already cooking for that day, you can start prepping in the morning during a baby’s nap or while the kids are school, do a little more in the afternoon when you have some downtime, and finish it up before you set it on the table hot.  My other favorite thing is the Slow Cooker…dump it all in when you wake up, turn it on, eat when you are ready!

Ingredients in a jar of Rao's sauce: Imported Italian Tomatoes, Imported Olive Oil, Fresh Onions, Salt, Fresh Garlic, Fresh Basil, Black Pepper, Oregano

5. Puree.  It’s not just for babies. I made a wonderful discovery the other day after making food for the twins…puree!  I don’t know how many times I have read blogs, websites, books, etc., telling me to a “hide” vegetables in my kids’ food.  I never had to do this before.  Crazy enough, they always ate the random and strange vegetables I would put on their plate. Now that they are older, they are not so willing.  One night I made the twins beets and kale.  I knew I had planned on making spaghetti for our dinner that night.  Instead of saving all the beets and kale for the babies, I dumped it into my RAO’s Marinara sauce, and served it up.  They thought it was absolutely delicious!  And guess what, I did it again tonight with the mini-pizzas I made for them.  And you know what, the recipes may be simple, but they are getting their needed nutrients, and I really do feel like a better mama for it.

What are your suggestions?  Do you have something to share that would be life changing and time saving for busy moms?  That’s such an oxymoron…all moms are busy!  But, you know what I mean!

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