Let’s get one thing straight. I was the Mama who, on my first go round, made homemade baby food from organic fruits and vegetables, used grass-fed beef stock to flavor food, and didn’t introduce sweets until Jules’ first birthday. On my second go round, Brooks was eating real table food by 9 months, has had sweets, and tons of processed food. I’m not even going to say Oops. I’m going to admit that I’m totally seeing things at face value. I used to wonder “Why would I do things differently the second time around?” But now I understand.
I am a self-admitted different Mama this time around. And I’m ok with it. I love my kids equally even though I have done things differently. Because I’m cooking for two little ones and essentially, our family, I’m trying to minimize options and keep it simple at mealtime! I want to share my favorite [processed] foods that my kids approve 😃
1. Carrot Veggie Fries (several flavors!)
3. Kodiak Cakes Waffles *disclaimer… these technically have to be “made” but it’s something fun Julia and I do together. So I count this as processed, easy, and a win! This mix can also be used to make muffins. We have done apple flavored muffins that were to die for!
10. Simply Smart Organic Chicken Breast Strips (my kids’ fav!)
I’m also a fan of having a variety of things in the freezer to grab and serve on the fly. Here are some of my kids’ favorites in the name of saving time when it comes to meals!
Frozen French Toast
1. Make a big batch of French Toast and keep it in a Reusable Freezer bag in the freezer. I make a whole loaf at a time, and it’s the perfect go-to on the weekends.
You will need:
- A loaf of healthy wheat bread (I use Arnold 12-Grain)
- 12 eggs
- Milk (1/2 cup maybe, I eye it)
- Splash of vanilla
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- I get out my large electric skillet and brown them up. Let them cool, throw them in a gallon freezer bag, and voila! Breakfast is ready. I throw them in the toaster when I pull them out. Delicious and toddler approved 👍🏽 serve with apple sauce, almond butter, or peanut butter for the babes and a bit of almond butter or syrup for the older kids!
2. I make shredded chicken every few months and then put it in separate freezer bags. I use it for various things– quesadillas, pasta, and tacos!
You will need:
- Buy a family pack of boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
- Get your crockpot out!
- Spray the pot and put your thighs in there. I salt and pepper each side.
- Add a little chicken broth or water to the pot.
- Turn on low for 8 hours.
- Shred with a fork when you get home, drain the liquid, and put the meat in freezer bags!
3. I do like to make some frozen grab and go food pouches with random fresh fruits and veggies in them. Before Julia was born I purchased these reusable pouches (linked below) that are BPA free and freezer safe. They were a great investment and saved me a ton of time! And money 😉
You will need:
- Reusable food pouches or freezer safe food containers.
- A variety of fresh fruits. My go-to selections are Fuji Apples, Blueberries, and Bananas.
- A variety of fresh veggies. My go-to selections are Sweet Potatoes (I boil them first and then let them cool), Spinach, & Carrots.
- I do different varieties of the above fruits and veggies, add some fresh, unflavored Greek Yogurt to add some thickening consistency. I sprinkle a little cinnamon, a spoonful of Almond Butter, and blend together!
- I fill the pouches, label and date them, and throw them in the freezer. If we’re using them during the week I will take them out and let them thaw in the fridge and then use them within a few days. They are perfect for a grab and go in the summer because they are a healthy, cool treat!
Do you have any helpful tips for managing baby and toddler food and snacks? Please feel free to comment below! Be sure to join us in the Band of Mamas Facebook group and Instagram feed for other notifications for stories, ideas, and tips!
Cheers to happy babes & toddlers with lots of good food to eat!
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