Cooking for babies and toddlers can be hard – if it isn’t difficult enough trying to dream up new foods for them to try (or remember the ones they actually liked last time!) there are also all the modern day issues to worry about: do I actually have time to cook at all, how do I make a meal out of the remnants of my fridge, and how on earth do I make a baby meal taste good when salt and sugar are pretty much off limits?
As inherited from my mum, I have always got a basic stock of food in my fridge meaning I can attempt to conjure up a meal before hitting the Deliveroo app. Since having a baby our cupboard stocks have become even more important , especially since those lovingly pre-prepared and frozen meals made for the newborn period have long since been eaten.
I believe that cooking should not be a faff and unless something is sitting in an oven undisturbed I am not one for lavishing hours on preparing a meal in the kitchen. I have a baby to entertain for goodness sake!
Here I have documented some of the key items which help create flavour, excitement and bulk to every day meals where time (and salt!) are limited. Assuming you have the basic building blocks of a meal (veggies, pasta, bread, eggs etc) these little extras may help add a little more oomph to your baby’s food without adding time or masses of cost to you.
- UNSALTED BUTTER
Unsalted butter has been a staple of my cooking and adds richness to pretty much anything. We actually only use unsalted butter in the house now (we used to be addicts to salted butter) as we prefer the flavour.
2. OLIVE OIL
Same as above really. I do believe that babies taste more than we realise, and if you like using good olive oil to dress your veggies, why not try a pinprick drop on your baby’s meals too?
3. FLAVOUR ENHANCERS e.g. herbs, lemon, paprika, sundried tomatoes
Yes sundried tomatoes contain salt. But you only need a tiny amount to add serious oomph to salt free tomato sauces, soups and veggie purees. Same goes for lemons. We grow fresh herbs in our garden and our baby likes to grab bunches of it and eat them as they are, and they are always yummy finely chopped and added to meals to add freshness.
4. MAPLE SYRUP
There’s no denying that this is still sugar. But as long as you only use a small amount it can add sweetness to sauces with the bonus that it contains some nutrition in its own right. It’s not the cheapest product but a little goes a long way and I would much rather use a tiny dot of this than spoon in some spooky textured sweetener on my baby’s food.
5. YOGURT AND CREAM CHEESE
These are amazing in their own right, but also brilliant for bulking out meals. I often add a spoonful of Philadephia to sauces, fritters, pancakes and pasta dishes to add calcium and make it more creamy. It is fresher tasting than cream, and has the bonus of a longer shelf life! We also love yogurt for it’s shelf life too, and this is also great frozen in lollipops or added to salads where mayonnaise would usually be used.
Hope this helps! Very soon after this picture was taken my baby grabbed the Philadelphia and started taking great handfuls of it straight out the tub. Bathtime soon followed!