Saturday, January 29, 2011

What's On Your Plate?

Another one of our New Year's Resolutions was to be better organized with food. Both for ourselves and the babies. When we were pureeing everything, I could just pull out a jar from the freezer stash or mash up some fresh fruit. Well, those days are over!
Now, in order to make sure the boys are getting what they need in the amounts they need, it's taking more work. In some ways it's LESS work, because we can feed them most of the stuff we eat. But now that I'm responsible for their lives, their palates and their nutrition, I felt like I needed to be more organized with what they are eating rather than just pulling stuff out of the fridge all the time and hoping for the best.

To be honest, this 'stage' came up fast and without warning. While Grunter was happy with some finger foods for some of October and all of November/December, Whoop Whoop absolutely, positively would.not.feed. himself. Uh, he's my super stubborn one, remember the standing up in the crib episode??
Then, suddenly December 13th, 2010, he decided that he would feed himself one day and that was it! After that, he wouldn't let us feed him anymore and we were scrambling around for more finger foods.

Here Whoop Whoop is, feeding himself for the first time! It cracks me up the amount of concentration it takes to get those pieces of food in the mouth. He really takes his time to get the pincher grasp just right where Grunter is a grab it and palm it in!

Since that time, we've done a ton of research (imagine that, a bit OCD we are) on health, nutrition and meal planning. After a couple of trial weeks, we made three weekly menus--breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner.
It's working out really well and is so much easier to shop and cook now.

The other resolution I made was to use my slow cooker again. I bought it years ago and have not made use of it whatsoever. Since the beginning of the year, I've made a meal in it every week and it's great! I am really loving it. So far I've made a chicken and sweet potatoes dish, BBQ beef brisket and black bean chili. The boys have been able to eat everything and I freeze half of it for quick meals. Any recipes for a slow cooker you want to pass on?

The other thing I'm really strict about is having ALL meals, including snacks, in the high chair. I want them to be good eaters and have good table manners so I think letting them know early on that meals are at the "table" is the best way to start. Of course, there are going to be times we are out and about that they will eat on the run or in their stroller, but for the most part--we only eat in the high chair. No food in the living area or play area and we do not bring toys to the high chair. Anyone else this strict??

Curious--do any of you have meal/menu planners? Care to share? I would love to post mine, but it's in a PP and I can't figure out how to do that. If anyone wants it, email me.


Kathryn said...

We've just found great meat from FreshDirect that cooks really well in the slow cooker. They have a great turkey breast and an absolutely awesome bourbon beef thing that both come pre-seasoned and you just pop them in, cook for a few hours, and you're good to go!
I think meal plans are in our future.. but I haven't put the effort into making one yet! Good for you!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Of course I do a menu plan :)

I've just posted on it actually.

I plan our meals M-F and the babies for the whole week because as you already know, the scrambling is not good when they are hungry. And my C is typical boy, he wants his food NOW! He even says NOW like that :)

Generally what we eat one night, they eat the next day for their supper except when we have curries as they are not a fan .... yet :) On those days I'll give them something they do eat that I've frozen.

For lunches, the babies generally have toast with something (peanut butter, cottage cheese, real cheese, soup when it's cold) and a fruit or veg.

And yesssssssssss, I am also VERY strict about eating in the high chair - I allow a toy in the one hand if he'll let me feed him. If he wants to feed himself, then the rule is no toys. We had a screaming episode earlier about this actually LOL

K J and the kids said...

My goal and plan is to hope that some if any of the food ends up in their tummy's instead of refused and thrown to the floor or left on plates to be thrown away.
Also...I like a little bit less screaming and crying and fighting and well....meal times just aren't all catered and strict and good. We struggle and hope that one day when we can reason with them that some positive changes will happen. :)

Nicole said...

Definitely a fan of the slow cooker! We haven't used ours yet this winter but I think you're inspiring me.

Jen said...

Chunk eats all of his meals at home in the high chair, although we do allow cheerios and milk to be out and about for random snacking because this kid is constantly eating. I tend not to be a traditional meal planner but I know everything we have and can plan and cook on the spot-guess that is one of my OCD talents. I use my crockpot all the time- stew is great in the winter, roast and veggies and chili are easy and favorites. Also allows me to go to work and come home to a cooked meal! If he finishes dinner before we do, he gets to have a book or two in the highchair but no toys.

Dre said...

Yup, we are that strict. Food at the table only. Actually, we only allow drinks at the table too (except for water in sippy cups and bottles at bedtime). I am completely unorganized with food, and really need to get better with that. I would love your recipes and your meal plan! I will try to email.

Naomi said...

I use these websites...they are amazing!!

I also try to make 85% of my son's food even down to making my own yogurt in a crockpot (EASY!). I also utilize this website:

The above sites are AWESOME, plus if I can get recipes that we will all eat that's easier on me. I've tried several recipes from both sites and get great food out of them!

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

We're pretty strict on the food at the table thing, cracking only when, through our own disorganisation, we've ended up with an over-hungry, over-tired kid who no longer has the capacity to sit at the table without having a meltdown, but still needs to eat something before crashing. Chasing round with carefully deposited mouthfuls then ensues - no free rein.

I'd be interested in seeing your menu planned, even though I'm pretty sure I'll never get my act together to follow one!

MeAndBaby said...

I've been pretty strict with the high-chair rule since we started solids about 3 weeks ago (and love that they fit in the highchairs at 4 1/2 months!) but if the babies are fussy while cereal is being made, they get to hold onto a toy or a burp cloth until the food is ready.

Regarding a menu/meal plan, I would love to see yours as I think I'm going to need one to survive in the months to come since I am back to work full-time. My email is Thanks!