How To Batch Cook Meals For Baby And Why?
Fresh meals are irreplaceable. However, the notion that a mother must serve warm food with warmth and love can usher you into feeling guilty if you plan to batch cook meals for your baby or toddler.
The idea of fresh-made meals is not wrong. It is genuinely led by the set-up that existed before this decade. There weren't appropriate storage options, and mothers lacked knowledge of how to safely prepare, store and use batch-cooked meals.
Times have changed so has the preference for batch cooking meals for babies and toddlers.
Batch cooking is quite helpful in minimizing what-to-cook stress and actually using your preserved energy to enjoy feeding your little ones.
What is Batch Cooking?
Batch cooking is a method of cooking a larger quantity of food items that can be stored and used at a later time/day/week. Almost all food can be frozen and used based on specific shelf life. You can either make special batches for storage or cook a regular meal in extra quantity and store the leftover to be used afterwards.
Why should you batch cook Baby's meals?
The satisfaction of seeing your little one's journey from breastfeeding to purees to solids is beyond comprehensible. How your child perceives food and how smoothly they accept new tastes and food textures depends much on how you introduce a new form of food, with love and compassion.
Whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, the never-ending bunch of responsibilities don't lessen based on your work role. You are often tempted to use ready-to-eat options or not follow proper meal plans (and continue feeling guilty about not managing nutrition). Batch cooking helps ensure you stick to meal plan, save time, and most important of all - Give Homecooked meals to kids.
Things to know about Batch Cooking Your Baby Meals
- Depending on shelf life, the food can be frozen in a cooked or semi-cooked state.
- Purees, vegetable broth, gravies, stews and poached fruits can all be stored for about a week to 10 days when frozen correctly.
- Prepare soup or stews in large quantities. Cool them within 1 hour, by keeping them under a fan or a broad pan. Immediately store in an air-tight container and freeze.
- Do not reheat the whole quantity. Heat/cook only the required quantity. The remaining portion should be frozen back immediately. PRO TIP - To save thawing large quantities, store in small storage containers that store amounts usable for a couple of servings.
- Indian millet flours like ragi, jowar or semolina can be pre-roasted in ghee and kept in a refrigerator for about a week. As roasting on slow flame takes the maximum time. Homemade pre-mixes prepared beforehand can be cooked into a halwa or puree or batter in minutes.
- Packaged pre-mix cereals are still packaged food, and expensive. Instead, discuss with your paediatrician, and make a cereal powder at home. These mixes can be stored in air-tight containers in the fridge for about 10 days.
How to Store Batch Cooked Meals?
- Make sure all containers are washed and cleaned thoroughly.
- Always let it defrost naturally (THE BEST WAY IS TO LET IT DEFROST IN FRIDGE)
- Do not put steaming hot or cooked food directly from the stove in the fridge to cool down for storage because a sudden drop leads to suitable conditions for bacteria growth.
- Buy and collect storage containers based on the requirement. Like purees can be stored in ice trays to manage portions. Silicon or glass containers are suitable, but even baby-approved food-grade plastic containers can be used.
Bonus - Batch Cooking Tips for Toddlers
Although the number of meals required is lesser for toddlers, they need more variety and larger meals. Nutrition is apparent. Batch cooking and freezing tomato gravy, uncooked vegetable nuggets (corn, cauliflower, potato etc), and bhaji (of pav bhaji), can help whip up something on days when you are running out of time or have no meal plan. These super loved items can be stored for upto a month in frozen form. It also prevents force ordering takeaways or cooking something easy-to-cook less healthy options.
Preparing large batches of batter for South Indian recipes is also a fool-proof idea!
We genuinely believe it is tricky to manage elaborate meal plans
that incorporate a variety of food so that the child can develop taste and also include holistic nutrition, that too for all three meals, and be served on time! Phew!
And that's why you should try batch cooking!
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