Cooking tips and tricks with a baby in tow…

Posted: August 16, 2015 in Food, Motherhood
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I know the feeling – after a day that’s dictated by your baby’s naps and feeding times, a day where you may have been covered in Vegemite-smeared hands, been accidentally head butted in the face several times and also not managed to get a single item of washing dry because of the incessant rain, or changed out of your pyjamas, the last thing you feel like doing is cooking.

Stressed in the kitchen much?

But it’s impossible to exist on eggs and toast seven days a week, take away food is expensive and let’s face it, cooking is actually quite fun sometimes (usually when you’ve prepared something and your partner raves about it).

Here are some useful tips for cooking and preparing food while you’re at home with baby. Caveat: after your baby turns into a toddler, the game changes. He/she can now run of with the rolling pin/cut up vegetables/salt shaker. All bets are off.

  • Use nap times for food prep

 When you’re a new mum, people often say “sleep when the baby sleeps”. To these people I say – are you kidding?! I was blessed (hmm…) with a baby who, after the first few weeks of life, rarely napped during the day for longer than 20 minutes at a time and I’m telling you right now – there is NOTHING more frustrating than to be woken literally two minutes after you’ve fallen asleep. It keeps you constantly on edge. So instead, I would throw on a load of washing, chop some vegies for a stir fry or curry and bang them in the fridge for later, then down a cup of tea and we’re off again on Mama duty. If your baby sleeps for several hours at a time, you’ve got time to do some food prep AND have a nap. Lucky you.

  • Use your baby’s awake times to made food prep an activity

If you do actually nap when your baby naps, well…try not to brag about it at mother’s group. It won’t get you any friends. When you and bub wake up, put them in a bouncer or a high chair, give them a toy or something to stare at and you’re free to do what you will in the kitchen. Describe what you’re doing in the style of Jamie Oliver and you can even say you’re helping your baby learn language at the same time as being a super-mum. Win-win.

  • Chop the vegies in the morning

I am an avid fan of this strategy, as I now have a toddler and food prep any other time is impossible. My husband plays with bub while I make my breakfast, lunch and dinner prep all at the same time. Hey, it means I can do some writing work when he naps during the day, so if that means getting up 10 minutes earlier, I’m in! I’ve got a good system going now, and it feels pretty normal to chop carrots, zucchinis and onion at 7.00am. Never thought I’d ever say those words.

  • Use a slow cooker

The slow cooker has been a revelation to me. Mine sat in the back of the cupboard for aaages, so I blew off the dust and tried making a chilli con carne. Success! Then I tried a beef and red wine casserole. Success! In fact nothing I’ve done in the slow cooker has ever been a failure. This was my first post about it. The concept is perfect for busy mums – throw the ingredients in in the morning, 8-10hrs later come home to a house smelling of amazingness and you have a delicious home-cooked meal. There are some awesome websites entirely devoted to slow cooker recipes, so find your faves and embrace it.

  • Find extremely generous family & friends who invite you over for dinner

Everyone’s super-helpful when you first give birth, bringing food with them when they visit (well, the good visitors do anyway), but weeks and months afterwards, the freezer supplies start drying up and you’re faced with having to learn how to multi-task, babe in arms. Why not forego this entirely and cosy up to your parents every Sunday for a roast, or start raving about how you LOVE your best friend’s homemade quiche. It may work for a while.

And if in doubt, there’s always eggs on toast.

What are your go-to easy prep meals on those tough days?

Why do they want dinner every single night?

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x

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