How to feed your toddler with minimal planning

How to feed your toddler with minimal planning

Recently I posted about changing my weekly meal planning routine to make it more time efficient.

Prior to making these changes, I was doing a separate meal plan for Ryan. This meant that I was planning 56 meals a week covering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Talk about ridiculous, time consuming, and exhausting.

So, pumped up on how well the new way of planning Nick’s and my weekly meals was going, I decided to change the way Ryan’s meals were planned as well.

Ryan has been baby led weaned from 6 months. This means he ate solids from the start. It also means that he can eat the same meals as Nick and I.

Ultimately this means that Ryan doesn’t need his own meal plan, he can join in on Nick’s and mine. Hence minimal planning is needed to feed him, as he can fit into an already existing plan.

After much thought, this is how Ryan’s meals now look like on a weekly basis, all with the aim of feeding him with as minimal amount of planning as possible:

Breakfast
Breakfasts take the least amount of planning.

I have a tub in the fridge labelled Ryan. It holds the following:

  • Crumpets
  • Wholemeal muffins
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Croissants
  • Brioche loaves

Each of these along with muesli are on rotation, so Ryan has something different for breakfast each morning.

Spreads include butter with vegemite (he is an Aussie after all), peanut butter, or jam. Sometimes he has cheese and ham in his croissant.

Together with whatever is chosen for that morning, Ryan also has a Babybel cheese or yoghurt and fruit.

Lunch
In order to make lunches easy I capitalise on the batch cooking I do for Nick’s and my dinners.

Whenever I make a dinner I fill up two containers with Ryan size portions of the dinner and freeze it. Before I freeze it I stick masking tape onto the container and write what the contents are and when it was cooked.

This means I have a freezer drawer full of meals that can be heated up for Ryan’s lunch in an instant.

If my stock is running low I resort to premade meals like:

  • Mini quiches
  • Pasta
  • Pasta bakes
  • Mini sandwiches
  • Fish fingers
  • Salads

Here comes the planner addict in me. On the Google Sheet I have Nick’s and my weekly meal plan on, there’s a tab titled Ryan. On this tab I have a box with two columns titled lunch stock and snack stock.

Any time I freeze a meal for Ryan’s future lunches, or snacks, I type the meal into the sheet. This way I know exactly what I have on hand for his meals.

Right now the sheet looks like this:

Lunch stock Snack stock
2 x Greek pasta melts 8 x Strawberry nutty bites
1 x Home made pizza 2 x Pitas
1 x Mexican mince 4 x Macaroni and cheese muffins
2 x Tortellini packets 5 x Ham and cheese rollups
15 x Nuggets

Dinners
Ryan eats the same dinners as Nick and I.

As I batch cook my dinners they’re ready a couple of days before they’re needed.

So each night I dish up a portion of what Nick and I are due to have that night for Ryan, heat it up, and let him eat. He eats earlier than Nick and I. This way I don’t have to think of a separate meal for Ryan. It’s pre planned.

Snacks
I have a drawer in the kitchen that holds Ryan’s store bought snacks like:

  • Sultanas
  • Rice cakes
  • Wafers
  • Fruit bars
  • Muesli bars

Now that I’ve finally settled into the new place, my aim is to get back into making home made snacks so Ryan will have store bought and home made snacks daily.

I still have a few home made snacks in the freezer, which are shown in the above table.

Just like lunches, any future home made snacks will be frozen and added to the snack column to make snack time easy.

If I ever need meal inspiration I refer to my Baby and Toddler Food Ideas (BLW) Pinterest Board, which has helped me heaps of times.

So that’s it, that’s how I feed my toddler with minimal planning.

If you have any other tips or food ideas I’d love to hear them, I’m always up for varying Ryan’s meals and making his meal times super quick and easy.

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How to make weekly meal planning easy

How to make weekly meal planning easy

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I spend way too much time planning my weekly meals. It currently takes me two days to plan and buy groceries.

This is before adding the time it takes to cook meals. As I cook from recipes, I often find that a recipe I’ve chosen takes longer to cook than planned, and has way too many ingredients.

I need to become more time efficient with this task. I love cooking, but the time it takes to plan meals, and then cook them is taking way too long, and turning my love into a dreaded chore.

So in order to streamline this entire process, this is how I will be making my weekly meal planning and cooking less time consuming.

Planning
To make my recipe search quicker, each day of the week will be dedicated to the following meal types:

Monday – Leftovers
Tuesday – Meat
Wednesday – Fish
Thursday – Chicken
Friday – Takeaway
Saturday – Pasta
Sunday – Stir fry

Planning will take place on a Tuesday night, and will consist of finding a recipe on my dinner Pinterest board and adding its link to a Google Sheet. This sheet lists every day of the week, and the food type that needs to be cooked that night.

So for example, on a Sunday I will add a link to a beef, mushroom, and greens stir fry as it’s a stir fry recipe, and only stirfries will be cooked on a Sunday.

I’m also going to make sure that the majority of recipes I add to Pinterest take less than 30 minutes to cook, and don’t have many ingredients so I’m not spending forever cooking.

Purchasing
Immediately after I finish planning I will order the ingredients for each meal online. All I’ll have to do is click on the link in my Google Sheet and I’ll be taken straight to the recipe.

Cooking
To carry on with my effort to become more time efficient, I’m going to start batch cooking!

On Tuesdays I will cook Tuesday night’s meal as well as chop and pre cook what I can for Wednesday’s meal.

On Thursdays I will cook Thursday night’s meal and also chop and pre cook what I can for the weekend’s meals.

Future planning
Each Sunday night I will stocktake all the ingredients I have in my freezer, fridge, and cupboard, and will ensure the recipes I choose for the next week use as many of these ingredients as possible.

Here’s what my meal planning week will now look like:

Monday
Groceries delivered

Tuesday
Cook night’s meal
Prep Wednesday night’s meal
Plan and order groceries for next week

Wednesday
Rest night

Thursday
Cook night’s meal
Prep weekends meals

Friday
Takeaway night

Saturday
Rest night

Sunday
Rest night

I really hope that these activities make my weekly meal planning tasks easier and more time efficient.

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