How to do it all (supermom style) [family food baby food part 3]

super mom

Making the switch to a healthy lifestyle can be overwhelming at first, but here are the 5 things you need to know.  You really can do it all (supermom style), and it’s easier than you think!  It’s also cheaper, tastier, and much, much better for you.  Your whole family will benefit from the shift in perspective.  If you haven’t checked out our 5 basics for healthy eating, or our whole food baby food post take a moment to read them.  It will help if you understand why it’s so critical to make the change, and it will help to reinforce that it’s actually pretty simple, easy and delicious!

1.  Plan and shop:  Take 20 minutes of Facebook/TV time (or use the commercials) and plan out what you will cook and eat for the following week.  The biggest piece of advice we offer to people is to choose a few ingredients to start with, and then make a few dishes from it.  For example, get a large Butternut Squash.  From that you can make our to-die-for version of Mac and Cheese, a thick Butternut Squash Soup, a Curried Squash and Chickpea dish, and steam some to blend for baby food.  Once you start thinking in this way, it’s much easier (and faster) to shop for what you need.  You’ll also be less likely to fall victim to advertising.

2.  Prep:  This part is critical.  When you get home from shopping, take an hour or so and prep everything for how you will cook it during the week.  Using the butternut squash example, peel it, chop it into large chunks for the mac and cheese, smaller chunks for the soup and curry, and then slice some for steaming.  Put these in containers in the fridge, and you’ve just drastically reduced cooking time during the week.  I do this with onions and garlic, the veggies for salads and soups or any other dish that takes time to prepare(and I always chop some to have on hand for snacking).  It takes about an hour and it is completely worth the effort.

3. Cook big batches:  Secret number 3.  On Sundays I often make at least on very large pot of soup that we can eat for a couple of days, plus extra that we put in jars and freeze (this is very handy if you seriously don’t have time to cook).  I make big pots of quinoa that become breakfast when mixed with oatmeal, salad when mixed with veggies, and the base for quick stir-frys (remember, all the veggies are cut up already – literally just toss them all together in a pan and you’ve got dinner).  Anything to save time and make life easier and healthier.

4.  Set aside veggies to steam for baby:  For nutrient packed baby food the easiest (and fastest) way to cook is with steam (baked is also good, but takes longer).  Just chop, place over boiling water, remove when tender and then blend/grind/mash.  You can add different spices like cinnamon and cumin, blend it together with other foods like meat or grains, or offer them as is.

 5. Freeze:  Going hand in hand with #4, we usually blended up extra baby food and froze it.  Use ice cube trays, cover and freeze and then transfer to freezer bags or containers.  Mateo started eating solids around Christmas, and knowing that fresh, organic, delicious foods would not be in season, I took an afternoon and made huge batches of baby food from produce picked up at the Farmers Market.  It was cheap, organic, local, ethical, and definitely worth it.  Every day during the winter we had nutritious, wholesome cubes to defrost and mix with whatever we were serving.

6. Eat leftovers:  It’s easy to find delicious meal plans that tell you to eat something new and interesting for every single meal.  As a busy person this is very, very unrealistic.  We keep it simple.  We go for variety at every meal (this is where the 20 minutes of planning before shopping comes in), and we eat leftovers for lunch.  Other things we encourage in order to keep it simple, yet wholesome: eat salad every single day (the benefits of raw vegetables will astound you).  Eat oatmeal for breakfast (sometimes with quinoa and sometimes with yogurt); yogurt, eggs + veggies are also good choices.  When all else fails, whip up some kale hummus to eat with the chopped up raw veggies you prepped.