When I say I can’t cook, what I mean is that my husband thanks me for an oven-baked frozen meal because it means I went “all-out” for dinner. I’ve always dreamed of being a culinary master, but the truth is, I don’t enjoy cooking enough to spend time learning how to do it well. Or even in a way that’s mediocre. Now that I have three kids eating three meals and a snack everyday, I’ve had to become a little creative to compensate for my deficits in the kitchen. I thought it would be nice to share some of the meals I prepare for my kids as well as some of the products that make my life easier. Here is how I go about feeding one-year-olds when I can’t cook:
Let’s start with breakfast. The most important meal of the day! In the mornings, my kids always get a hot breakfast with fresh fruit while I slurp down coffee and try not to fall asleep while singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” for the seventh time in a row. In the picture above, they’re enjoying pancakes with sliced bananas and blueberries. The fruits are organic, the pancakes are not. Win some, lose some. We’ll also mix it up with waffles, cereal bars, various melons and the occasional quiche (not pictured here because my quiche is not sexy.)
The typical meal set-up at the Manning house (the high chairs are the Phil and Ted’s Lobster Chair). Each kiddo gets a tray, a sippy cup, and a bib. These are my favorite bibs. I buy them from an Etsy shop called Stitched By Hand. I love fabric bibs because I can just toss them in the washing machine when I’m done. The plastic bibs don’t work so well for us because they often have to be hung to dry. I can’t have three bibs hanging in my kitchen after every meal. The clutter would disrupt my fragile state of being.
This is a meal that the kids LOVE. Peas and corn with hot dogs and peaches. I also throw in some Annie’s Bernie-O’s to help fill their little tummies. These particular hotdogs are Oscar-Meyer Selects and they are nitrite/nitrate free (which is good, because I hear those are bad). Pictured above are the Angus Beef version. My kids also love the turkey kind. Is it still processed meat? Yes. But my kids are so happy they hum when they eat them. And they only take 30 seconds in the microwave. As an added reminder, hot dogs should be very thinly sliced or minced prior to serving to small children as they have the potential to pose a choking hazard. It is best to slice long-ways first, which is not shown in this photo. #ftmfail
My kids are also crazy about Annie’s Bernie-O’s. I don’t even heat them up. They eat them straight out of the can. Also pictured here is the Oogaa truck spoon. I absolutely adore this little trinket.
Meatballs! With bread, peas, corn, and mandarin oranges. The peas and corn are Meijer frozen Organics. For mandarin oranges, I like the Del Monte No-Sugar Added variety. They save me time when I don’t want to slice up fresh fruit and there are always coupons available for them.
Grilled cheese with peas, turkey, and watermelon. My kids adore grilled cheese day. And they better. This is the closest to cooking that they get (with the exception of my occasional hideous quiche).
Fish nuggets (these are Earth’s Best), string cheese, carrots, blueberries, and raspberries. Berries are one of the few things that I buy organic. Especially strawberries. I try to pay attention to the Environmental Working Group‘s “Dirty Dozen” and buy those organic whenever possible. I also pay attention to the “Clean Fifteen” because if I don’t have to buy organic, I won’t. Unless it’s comparable in price. I try to be realistic and all-organic produce is pretty expensive at the rate these three eat it.
Chicken nuggets (lightly breaded and hormone free) with carrots, honeydew melon, and blueberries. I also fed homemade mashed potatoes with this meal complements of my amazing sister-in-law.
These are a few of the basic meals that my kids eat during the day. We’ve also recently added a snack that is usually a Plum Organics pouch and a glass of milk. My kids are happy and well-fed. No, the nutrition is not perfect, but I would like to think that it’s reasonable and affordable. I’m never going to be an expert in the kitchen, but I hope that my ineptitude can offer you a little bit of insight for those moments when you don’t have the time or energy to cook. Or, if you’re like me, maybe it can offer a little bit of comfort to know that you don’t have to become Julia Child just because you have a kid.
Hello, there! I’m Krysta. If you’re new to The Thoughtful Mom, welcome! And thank you for stopping by.
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