Written for SR Nutrition by Kat Thomas, Nutrition and Dietetics Student at London Metropolitan University with support of Charlotte Stirling-Reed.
I wanted to write this post to highlight some of my favourite go-to, quick and nutritious food options for your weaning journey – most of which you can buy in bulk and have on hand in your store cupboard or freezer, ready to make super quick and easy nutritious meal options for a baby or toddler.
All of these foods are: nutritious, practical, fairly inexpensive and easy to create meals out of! This blog focuses on these as weaning foods, but of course they are perfect for meals for toddlers, children and adults too! I’m all about combining ingredients to make up meals for the whole family!
Taking the stress out of weaning
Weaning can be hard enough without worrying about what you have to offer and creating new, fresh meals every day. Sometimes we just need a few last minute options and ideas to whack out and into a dish for baby or the whole family. That’s when my store cupboard staples come into play and these are some of my favourites to always have knocking about the house. I’ve created a long list of foods that are a good idea to stock up on prior to weaning so they are ready to go and in the cupboard for when you need them.
At the end of the week, I’ll also post a focus on some of these foods and WHY I think they are SO great as everyday store cupboard staples for weaning.
So starting with your very own store cupboard shopping list:
- Tinned fish
- Frozen fish
- Tinned beans and lentils in water
- Dried or tinned chickpeas
- Dried beans and lentils (great for soups/stews and purees)
- Free Range Eggs
- Packets of ready to go Puy lentils etc
- Milled seeds
- Nut butters
- Ground nuts such as almonds
- Potatoes & sweet potatoes
- Pasta & lasagne sheets
- Quinoa and couscous (ready to eat bags good too, just check for added salt/sugar – ideally you want the ingredients and a little oil, only)
- English Muffins (freezer)
- Pitta bread (freezer)
- Dried crispbreads/breadsticks/rice cakes/crackers (do check salt contents)
- Long life milk, if needed
- Cheese (you can freeze this also)
- Frozen spinach
- Frozen mixed veg
- Frozen forest fruits
- Dried apricots/figs/sultanas (largely for older babies/toddlers and for baking)
- Tins of beans/lentils in water
- Tins of chopped tomatoes
- Mixed herbs/ spices but also basil, cumin, cinnamon and paprika are some of my favs
What can you make out of that little lot?
Porridge with oats, frozen fruits, nut butter and ground seeds – making the most of mealtimes!
Lunch – omelette with spinach & chopped potatoes or English muffin/pitta pizzas
Breadsticks and hummus as a snack (mashed chickpeas with olive oil)
Pasta with tuna and tomato sauce with some pre-frozen veggies on the side or a mac and cheese with some frozen veggies tossed in or Mexican stuffed potatoes.
These can cover any “Emergency Meals” that you need for a good few days! These ingredients also usually last a while in your cupboard and they are pretty nutrient dense too!
Just to add, fresh foods are fine to include too, these are just some cheap/quick options that you can have hanging around in your cupboard. Adding some fresh bits on top will only add to the delicious meals you can create.
I’m really passionate about helping to make weaning as straightforward and stress free as possible and so I hope this post will give some ideas of some ways to ease the pressure and make sure you’ve got nutritious and practical foods to offer at all times. Having these foods on hand will also help you to include all of the main food groups (vegetables, fruit, starchy foods, protein foods & dairy) and ensure you’re working towards offering your child a varied, balanced diet, which is key to aim for day to day!
Buying in bulk!
Another positive with some of these options is that they can be bought in bulk as they often last quite a long time. Packets of oats, peanut butter, multipacks of pulses / tinned fish and frozen spinach often work out cheaper & last a long time – so take advantage and stock up and you’ll have plenty to keep whipping up easy, nutrient-rich meals!
Don’t forget to check back on Friday when I will go into detail about my FAVOURITE first weaning foods and why you need to stock up on them!