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Tiny Tummies: A Beginner's Guide to Baby Meal Prep

Updated: May 3

Editor's note: This is a sponsored content, this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.

The transition from baby milk to solids can be a daunting, worrying time. Whether you are a working parent or at home most of the time, you face the same challenges in baby meal prep- how to ensure your little one gets the right nutrition without losing your mind! 

Don't let baby meal prep ideas on social media overwhelm you

Those perfect settings, beautiful colours and the perfectly plated meals for babies you see on the videos are a recipe for disaster! The phrase “Comparison is the thief of joy” is especially true when your aim is to ensure your child is fed, and gets their daily requirements. 

  • Rule of thumb: one protein, one carb, one vegetable. 

  • It is a good idea to start learning to read food labels (sodium, flavourings, additives, empty calories) 

  • Also a good idea to pay more attention to what goes in it than how to decorate it

Believe me, your child will not fuss if it is a simple spoonful of rice or insist on a Hello Kitty shaped serving with carefully stamped out seaweed eyes. Especially not if they are under one year, anyway. My daughter is 3 and she is happy to have rice in any shape. 

I am happy when she has her rice in any shape!

Proof that things get better as kids grow- image from IBU chocolate making workshop

Use baby meal prep time to expose them to texture, taste, smell, and sight

Now that you have overcome your own expectations of pretty plating, think about your own experiences with different food and tastes. When the baby is young, each experience is new, eating is a sensory smorgasbord. The crunch of toast, the feathery sensation of broccoli heads, the explosion of orange sacs, the slippery feel of noodles (why can't I ever grasp them?!), and the umami taste of meat. 

Whether you are trying baby-led weaning or spoon feeding, it will still be a whole new experience for the baby. So remember, there is no rush- for them or for you. It will only make eating a stressful experience, and that might set the tone for a really long time to come. 

As parents, just ensure to avoid choking hazards such as untoasted bread and tiny sized food like peas, supervise their eating. And enjoy the process together. 

IBU Pizza making workshop- fun and educating kids at the same time

Equip yourself with the right kitchen tools

Identify your arsenal, your kitchen appliances. Many busy parents swear by air fryers, porridge makers, and slow cookers. There are also convection steam ovens in the market that allow you to steam different things at once. 

Find the aid and appliances that suit your budget and that suits the kind of food you eat as a family- so you can use it even after the baby grows. I had no use for a single serve hand blender till Baby came along, but cannot do without it now!

IBU cupcake making workshop- exposing kids to different ways, new foods and tastes

Stock up on those genius kitchen hacks you see 

Let's face it. There will be days when you can't prep fresh every meal. Or times when you get home and all you want to do is fill all tummies and hit the bed. 

Use all the hacks you can. 

  • Low sodium broths make superb bases for soup or porridge, and can be made in advance

  • You can freeze broth in ice cube trays and pop them to cook when you need them

  • Invest in small containers or freezer bags to portion out other ingredients too. A tray of minced meat can be portioned into 4-5 servings. Hard veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots can be pre cut and frozen. Frozen chopped spinach is an excellent source of iron that kiddos need at this age.  

Imagine, come mealtime and all you need to do is take out a cube of broth and a serving of minced meat, a portion of veggies and throw it all together. 

I even like using the dehydrated food powders that you get in the baby section of most supermarkets or baby stores. Those contain actual food and aren't flavoured or preserved with chemical additives, and provide different tastes like scallop, chicken, anchovies, and kombu.

Make mealtimes fun. Like a picnic with a friend

This one is my favourite. 

Stuck in a jam, no time to do chores, can't handle a baby and groceries at the same time? I order for my groceries to be delivered! (add link to the app). Just remember, if you are driving, do it before you leave the office for the groceries to be waiting for you when you get home. 

At first, I was skeptical about whether the shopper would pick the best and freshest items but I've never been disappointed. They even have deals and promotions on the app, so no FOMO. 

Furthermore, if you do end up in a Jaya Grocer store in person, you can scan your Grab app at the checkout counter. Your past purchases are recorded on the app, so you can easily add them to your basket the next time.

The best part? I only use my fingers on my phone instead of all that heavy lifting (fresh milk, rice, washing detergent, I'm looking at you!)

Don't forget to get that pint of ice cream for your me time 😉

IBU Volunteer Jean and her daughter go to Jaya Grocer

Let the baby eat what you eat - minus the spice or sodium

Cook what you will normally prepare for yourself but portion out some for Baby before you season the food. Soften it with a little extra steaming, dont overcook. 

This allows your child to adjust to what your family is eating- food to your taste, your culture and your family preferences. Babies are more inclined to eat what everyone else on the table is eating.

IBU Volunteer Mynn and her daughter go to Jaya Grocer

Let go of your (or your family's) expectations

This would be the most important tip of all. 

While a child is still under one year old, the bulk of their nutrition comes from milk. Solid food is a sensory and socialising experience, so don't stress too much over solid servings.

You are still the best thing for your child, you are feeding your child well. Even if all you do is simple food like steamed egg or that family ABC soup recipe, the only soup you know how to cook. 

IBU Volunteer Lin. Proof it really works!

Dont stress. Not when the days are dark, not if you forgot the groceries, not when the traffic was just that terrible, or when you are too tired. Mommy guilt over a peanut butter toast or scrambled eggs for dinner may trip YOU up, but our children are too innocent to care about what is appropriate for dinner or what is breakfast food (even at 3 years old, but that's a story for another day.)

For fun! Kids from the IBU network

Writer- IBU Volunteer Jean Ng


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