Feeding a little one is such a responsibility and every parent wants to do the best they can. However a hectic life and a mobile, becoming ever more independant yet constantly hungry can mean you constantly have to carry snacks around with you. Well it does for me. My change bag has been overtaken with pots, bags and wrappers.
Here are my top tips on healthy snacks for your baby/toddler:
Grapes, blueberries or strawberries in pots.
Cubes of cheese (cheaper and better than cheese strings). Try different types of cheese too.
Raw veggie sticks and breadsticks with a dip our favourites are homemade hummous or try mixing greek yoghurt with mint and cumin.
Cream cheese pinwheels – spread it in a wrap, roll and slice.
Rice cakes, there are so many flavours out there for little ones
Potato wedges – peel, slice and baked in the oven, use sweet potato and normal whites.
Steamed veggies. My little one loves cooked broccoli 🙂
Sliced avocardo, cucumber and tomato
Pancakes either thick or thin
Fruity small plain scones
Pitta bread stuffed with cottage cheese and grated carrot, sliced up.
Pasta twists, cooked.
As you can see these are all easy to prepare foods showing you don’t have to buy lots of specialist baby snacks to keep your little ones happily munching (although those can be useful at times also). Now go enjoy the mess!!
Any other ideas or top tips? Please do share, I’d love to hear.
It’s wheat free, gluten free, vegetarian and vegan and baby friendly too, but is it tasty? OH YES. This is one of those meals that I hadn’t made for ages, I tend to get into a cycle of making certain meals and forget about all the others that are out there. Suddenly seeing the bag of red lentils in my cupboard and the random veggies lying around my brain pinged into recipe action and I remembered this gem…so here it is for you to also try.
We all love this recipe in my house and find it a great substitute for a meat bolognaise. Plus it’s easy to make.
If you have a food processor (I can’t live without mine) chop 1 onion and 3 cloves of garlic in it. Now add in a pile of veggies, most will work. I always use carrots and some form of peppers, this time we had 4 carrots, 1 courgette, 1 green pepper and a handful of mushrooms. I’ve used celery, leek, kale and cabbage in the past too. A great recipe for using up leftover bits and past their best veggies. Chop all the veggies finely in the food processor (or by hand) and heat a tiny drizzle of oil in a pan. Simply add the veggies to the pan along with some lentils, I’d say about 2 cups of lentils for 4 people. It should look a little like this:
Throw in a tin of chopped tomatoes and then half till the can with water and add that too. Now the fun part – customise this as you want to. I add in seasoning, mixed herbs, bay leaves, balsamic vinegar, tomato puree and whatever else I have to hand. Here it is in the pan.
Let it simmer for 30-40 mins gently or until the lentils are cooked and serve with pasta. It was quite literally yummy. Give it a go and please let me know how you get on.
Hummous…. it’s a wonderful thing. In our household it’s truly loved…on toast, on rice cakes, on rye bread, with raw veggies and sometimes with a few crisps (yes I did just say that!). My personal favourite is with raw carrots. Nomalicious.
So as group of hummous loving people, why do so many of us buy it? I know, you’ll all say it’s easier to buy than to make, but seeing as today’s effort took me 5 minutes and popping to the shop would take 10, I actually saved time! Plus my version is much lower in fat than the bought version so I get healthy eating point too 🙂
The only chickpeas in our house were either in the food store that is the garage, far too cold to venture out there, or dried and requiring soaking. However I did have a tin of butterbeans, some garlic, tahini and natural yoghurt – a winning combination.
Here’s the finished result:
1 tin butterbeans/cannelini beans/chickpeas
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp tahini
50-75ml natural yoghurt
lemon juice and pepper to taste
Whizz the beans and garlic in a food processor (or hand held blender), add the tahini and a dollop of yoghurt, mix again. Keep adding the yoghurt until you get the consistency you want. Add lemon juice and pepper to taste. You can also add some chilli if you fancy it!
So next time you fancy some hummous why not try making your own? It’s great for when people drop round for nibbles and is also a winner for little ones. We went through lots in the early days of weaning.
Don’t forget to leave me a comment and tell me your favourite hummous combo, I’d love to hear your ideas.
Flapjacks go down a storm in our house, I’m wheat free so they fill a much needed gap in my mouth. Now it seem little Kezia is a bit of a flapjack lover. In fact, as soon as she spies the tin I keep them in I get a pointy finger and a sign for “Food Now Mummy”. Cheeky monkey she certainly is.
My usual banana flapjacks use only a small amount of marg, sugar and honey, however with a hungry 1 year old and feeling inspired by a certain brand of raw food bars I decided to try something different. The results are not quite your usual flapjack (due to the distinct lack of sugar, syrup and butter!) but they make a great healthy snack for big and little people and are set to become a regular in our house already. In fact the little one even enjoyed helping me make it.
Well when I say she helped, I mean she ate half of the raisins out of the bowl, stuck her fingers in the banana, stirred the oats around and made holes in the mixture once it had been smoothed into the tray. So much fun!
These are wheat free and if you use gluten free oats they will be gluten free too. Here’s the finished product:
Tonight I needed a quick, easy meal that could be thrown together with ease. You know those days when you wake up feeling tired, then spend the day running around, get to the evening and suddenly uh oh, it’s almost dinner time and you’ve not made any, you need something healthy and filling….well that was my day today. Pilates class, washing, cleaning, baking, baby party, and a teething, clingy baby but hungry mouths to feed.
So 5pm came and I raided the fridge. Finding a pack of peppers and some mozzarella I felt inspired. Cue the oven warming up to gas mark 6. Peppers thickly sliced onto a baking tray, chunky onions join them along with some halved large mushrooms, a drizzle of olive oil along with a splash of water and in they go to roast for about 40 minutes. Remember olive oil may be a healthier fat but it is still a fat, so a small drizzle, the water does the rest.
Meanwhile the baby partially ate her dinner and partially painted it in her hair and around her highchair 😉
Towards the end of the roasting the pasta went on (wheat free for me). Once cooked all that needed to be done was mix the pasta with the roasted veggies, mix in some chunks of creamy mozzarella and a teaspoon of pesto. After a busy day, this was simple, quick, easy, healthy, tasty family food.
I was recently asked for some ideas for baby breakfasts, which got me thinking…. my baby is pretty easy with breakfast, we tend to stick with a range of cereals and add fruit to them. At 8am I’m not usually feeling in the mood for cooking. However it can also be good to vary things and most foods can be prepared to some extent the night before. Some here are my baby brekkie ideas, please let me know yours…
Readybrek with milk and fruit (we love banana and blueberries).
Scrambled egg on toast – make sure eggs are well cooked I find this best cooked on the cooker and not in the microwave. Try adding chopped ham/tomatoes/mushrooms whilst cooking the egg.
Bagel with cream cheese and tomato
Fruit salad with yoghurt
French toast/Eggy bread
Pancakes with fruit puree
Crumpet with butter and marmite
Hard boiled egg with toast
English muffins with melted cheese and cooked mushrooms
Porridge fingers – Take a handful of porridge oats, and add just enough milk to cover them in wide-bottomed bowl, microwave for 60s. Allow to cool before slicing into triangles/fingers. Or add mashed bananas and microwave for 90s.
Porridge – add different combinations of fruit to oats, add milk and cook in microwave. We love sultanas with apple and cinnamon at present. Baby loves the juice sultanas 🙂
Griddled peach slices served on an English muffin with cottage cheese.
Homemade Muesli (for baby and mummy!) – 65g oats with 175 ml apple juice, refridgerate overnight. Next morning grate 1 apple and 1 pear, add a little lemon juice and mix in, add any other fruit wanted and serve with full fat natural yoghurt.
I love vegetarian food, though I’m not actually a vegetarian. I love the colours, flavours and creativeness of it. We tend to have meatless meals 3-4 days a week and use lentils, beans and pulses a lot.
Last week I really fancied having a go with Quinoa, its not something we eat that often but being wheat free I can’t eat cous cous and had had an urge for making stuffed peppers, plus the baby hadn’t given Quinoa a go yet.
These came our really well, even if my husband had to take his in a plastic tub back to work to eat as his on-call phone rang! His comments were that it was difficult to eat without a knife but the Quinoa was delicious and nutty. The baby managed to eat hers all without a knife 😉 fingers sufficed and the whole lot went quite quickly, so I’m taking that as a compliment.
Having recently had a baby, nutrition and breastfeeding has been one of those topics I’ve been keeping on top of. I didn’t have much baby weight to lose but wanted to make sure I got back to a healthy weight whilst looking after my baby and providing good quality breast milk. Here’s a round up of my research and top tips.
Make sure you drink throughout the day. It can be easy to forget when you are running round looking after a baby! My top tip is to have a drink of water every time you breastfeed and to keep bottles of water next to the chair/bed where you usually feed. The best way to tell if you are well hydrated is to look at your urine! If it looks dark or too yellow then you need to drink a bit more. Aim for 2 litres or so a day.
How much should I eat?
Although your body needs some extra calories in order to produce milk this isn’t an excuse to eat cake all of the time 😉 I know it’s tempting!
You will probably have laid down some fat stores in pregnancy and the body will use up those if you let it. Eating too many high sugar, high fat snack will not help you shed those pregnancy pounds. The best advice is to eat according to appetite. I had to snack during the nightfeeds in the early days of mummyhood but now I’m back to a normal intake of 3 meals 1-2 small healthy snacks a day with the occasional treat of course! Make sure your diet is well-balanced including:
Plenty of fruit and veggies
Wholegrain carbs such as wholemeal bread, pasta, rice, potatoes
Lean protein including fish, chicken, beef, pork, pulses and beans
Dairy foods a few times a day – milk, yoghurt, cheese.
If you are finding it hard to get the time to cook then sandwiches, beans or egg on toast and jacket potatoes cooked in the microwave are quick and easy choices. Another top tip is to cook and freeze meals. I always cook double when I make up things like a chilli or fish pie then I have an instant home cooked meal for later in the month.
Are there any foods to avoid?
Most foods are absolutely fine. It’s best to limit oily fish to 2 portions a week and fish such as shark, marlin and swordfish to once a week. This is due to the pollutants that can build up in them.
Take care with caffeine as this will pass into your milk to the baby. If possible stick to decaff tea and coffee or limit yourself to 2 cups of caffeine a day. The same can be said with alcohol, it will pass through to the baby. It’s advisable to drink very small amounts perhaps 1-2 units once or twice a week.
Peanuts should also be eaten with caution if there is a history of nut allergies in the family.
Exercise is absolutely fine as long as you have been cleared by your GP at your 6 week check. Take things slowly and build up your strength and fitness over time. Walking with the pram is a great way to do this and I found it wonderful for getting the baby to sleep as well! I built in a 30 minute walk every day around the time I knew my baby got sleepy. As time goes on you can start to think about increasing things and have a look for ways to exercise with other mums and babies. There may be post natal exercise classes around (for example I run a post-natal pilates class, see: www.pilateswithpriya.co.uk). I also found that I could exercise with the baby in a sling doing squats and lunges or I now have the baby playing on the floor or in her door bouncer whilst I workout. She thinks it’s great fun to watch or even join in!
Freelance Dietitian specialising in helping those with Eating Disorders and a Media Spokesperson for the profession.