Written by Pradeep
Most working mothers dread the idea of leaving their babies and toddlers in daycare for one simple reason—FOOD! Yes! When it comes to food, the kids are fussy and moms are super worried. Reading on you will come to know 15 tasty and healthy baby food ideas when leaving your baby in daycare. That too is easy to make and easy for the baby to eat.
When you imagine that a stranger is going to feed your baby, a thousand questions cross your mind—What should I send, will my baby eat what I send (because someone else is feeding him/her), what if the food gets spoiled, what kind of boxes should I use to send the food, how many boxes should I pack and many more. Well, for all those mothers who are anxious—you are not alone. All your questions are valid and your worries are justified. To put to rest some of these, let’s quickly look at some food ideas for your little one.
If your baby is 6 months and under, the only food that they may be able to have is breast milk; so make sure you pump and send as many bottles as possible. Gradually, as they start solid food, you can get creative. Find out tasty and healthy baby food ideas when leaving your baby in daycare.
These are the easiest to make at home. You can use any available fruits and vegetables. You can quickly whip one up each morning or if you don’t have the time, make those extra bottles over the weekends. Keep it thick and thin it just before you pack. You can ask the caretaker at the daycare to add a little breast/formula milk (that you have provided) just before feeding.
Fruits are easy to pack and send extremely healthy snack options for your baby too. Preparation is easy too. Just peel, deseed and chop if needed, and your baby has a healthy quick snack. You can take the help of cookie cutters to give unique shapes to the cut fruit and make them appealing to your baby.
Sometimes you can send the fruits as-is because some like bananas cannot be chopped and kept for long. Steamed apples are excellent options too. Always ensure that you cut the fruit in a size that is convenient for your baby to hold and chew on while avoiding choking. Sending mashed fruit is an ideal option if your child isn’t ready to chew yet.
These are a good option when you start introducing different tastes and textures. The most common vegetable used for patties is potato. Paneer cutlets and patties are an excellent alternative too. You could freeze them the night before and fry them to prepare them in the morning. Alternative vegetable options for cutlets include beet-root, carrots, and spinach.
You can steam and roast vegetables (potato, cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, beans) making them softer and easier to chew. If your baby likes it you can sprinkle a little salt and organic spice (just for taste).
The easiest to bake, you can get these done over the weekend. You can look up the internet for different healthy muffin recipes which also help you introduce new foods to your babies. You can do savory muffins too! The best part about muffins is that you can make them in a big batch and they have a good shelf life when stored right. Make small ones so that the little hands can hold them. No child has ever refused a muffin!
Depending on the season and particularly in summer, you can send fruit juices as an add-on to the food that you are sending. Oranges, lemons, watermelons, and apples are the most common ones that moms prefer. In summer, you can even add tender coconut to the list to keep your little one cool. Packed juices are always a no-no. Freshly squeezed juices with no sugar added are the best for your baby’s health.
Some moms are enthusiastic bakers. If you are one of them, you can bake biscuits for your little ones, and you can send a couple of them as a snack alternative. This especially works if your baby is in one of those moods and refuses everything else you send.
If you are getting them from the market, choose healthy ones made of whole grains and millets to ensure that health is not compromised. You can also enlist the help of home bakers who use healthy ingredients to bake biscuits and other baked goodies.
Children love pasta and so you can try sending pasta and sauce as a special meal. Home-made pasta is not difficult to make if you have the right equipment. Whole wheat pasta with homemade sauces is an excellent way of introducing new foods to your baby. Most babies find the texture of pasta interesting as it allows them to play around.
When packing pasta for daycare, ensure to pack the pasta and sauce separately so that it doesn’t get soggy. Toss in vegetables according to your little one’s choice. You can get a little experimental with vegetables if your baby is fussy about vegetables. Add pureed vegetables to the pasta sauce and you have successfully sneaked in healthy goodness into your little one’s snack box!
Most babies find pancakes easy to grab and eat. The batter for pancakes is quite easy to make at home and a good alternative when your baby is bored of regular snacks. You can add mashed bananas or oatmeal to the batter for variety and added health. You can also top.
Make them small for your little one to hold and munch on. You can also add variety in terms of shape. For example, you can make star-shaped pancakes with the help of molds. Always avoid baking soda or baking powder when making pancakes for your little one.
Omelets are not just healthy, but are easy to make. They are extremely versatile too. You can add finely chopped onion, tomato, capsicum, etc to add to the health and taste quotients. You can also sprinkle cheese on top for an added protein factor.
Many moms are worried about sending porridge to daycare because it may spill, but that need not deter you from sending this healthy meal for your baby. Look for spill-proof containers and try to send porridge at least once a week or if possible twice.
You can prepare porridge powders at home (with fruits, nuts, and millets) or instant ones are readily available too. Add the required quantity of milk and mix to remove lumps. For an easier packing option, you can send the porridge powder and milk separately and ask the caretaker to mix them both before feeding your baby.
If your child is over a year old, you can even try noodles cooked with tomato purée and vegetables (cut into very small pieces).
You can try semolina(सूजी) upma for a change. You can add more water than what you would add regularly during cooking. This will keep the upma softer for longer and your baby will be able to eat it without much of a problem. You can also spruce up the upma by adding finely chopped vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, beans, onions, and peas.
Sandwiches are quite versatile with many filling options. Bread-jam, cheese sandwich, vegetable sandwich, are the different options you can choose from. You can even add mashed curry as a filling in between the bread slices to break the monotony and add variety.
Sandwiches are easy to prepare and an excellent fallback when you are short on time. You can buy loaves of bread from the home bakers and choose whole wheat or multigrain options to make the sandwiches healthy for your little one.
Yogurt is rich in probiotics and calcium. It forms an excellent snack option for your child and ensures that their guts stay healthy for easier digestion. You can send yogurt as an add-on to the regular snacks.
When choosing packed yogurts, always choose sugar-free varieties of known brands. Probiotic yogurts are also good for your child and can be given one in a way.
The ideas are endless and based on your kids’ preferences you can experiment. But keep in mind a few things while sending food for your little ones in a daycare.
The first few days may make you a little anxious, but as you and your baby fall into the routine, everything gets easier. So, don’t worry too much. It’s not too bad after all! Your baby’s taste buds are constantly evolving and this is the right time to introduce new foods to your baby. Hope you find these tasty and healthy baby food ideas when leaving your baby in daycare helpful.
What do you pack for your baby in daycare? Do add to these ideas in the comments section below.
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