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, children are fussy and moms are super worried. So, 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 spoilt, what kind of boxes should I use to send the food, how many boxes should I pack and many more. Well…to all those mothers who are anxious—you are not alone. All your questions are valid and your worries justified. To put to rest some of these, let’s quickly look at some food ideas for your little one.
- 15 Healthy Baby Food Ideas When Leaving Your Baby In Daycare
- Tips For Packing Food For Your Baby In Daycare
15 Healthy Baby Food Ideas When Leaving Your Baby In Daycare
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.
- Purees: 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. For some ideas read : 5 Lip Smacking Peach Puree Recipes For Babies, Baby’s First Food- Green Peas Puree (4-6 Months), Baby’s First Food Carrot Puree (6-8 Months), 5 Healthy Green Peas Recipes For Your Babies
- Fruits: Also easy to send because it just requires chopping and removing seeds, if any. Sometimes you can send the fruits as is because some like bananas cannot be chopped and kept for long. If you want, you can send steamed apples too. If you are cutting and sending them, make sure to cut them into small cubes or mash it so that it is easier to feed without choking the baby
- Cutlets/Patties: These are a good option when you start introducing different tastes and textures. The most common vegetable used for patties is potato. You can also use paneer. You could freeze it the night before and fry it in the morning. For cutlets, you can use beetroot, carrots and spinach to name a few
- Cooked vegetables (Finger foods): 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)
- Muffins: The easiest to bake, you can get these done over the weekend. You can look up the internet to introduce variety by adding nuts and fruits. Make small ones so that the little hands can hold them. No child has ever refused a muffin!
- Porridge: Many moms are worried about sending porridge because it may spill, but that should not be an excuse to deter you. 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 required quantity of milk and mix to remove lumps. If you want to be safer, you may send the powder alone and the required quantity of milk in a flask and ask the caretakers to do the mixing
- Fruit Juices: 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, 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
- Biscuits: Some moms are enthusiastic bakers. If you are one among them, you can bake biscuits for your little ones and can send a couple of them as a snack alternative if the child gets a little moody and doesn’t want to eat the food that has been sent. If you are getting them from the market, choose healthy ones made of whole grains and millets to ensure that health is not compromised
- Pasta: Children love pasta and so you can try sending pasta and sauce as a special meal. Make sure to keep the sauces separate so that it doesn’t get soggy. Toss in vegetables according to your little one’s choice. You can get a little experimental if you have a fussy eater at home who hates veggies in his pasta. Puree some vegetables and add it to sauce so this way you are able to add vegetables to your child’s diet without him knowing it
- Pancakes: Pancakes work well for breakfast. You can add bananas/oatmeal to bring in some variety. Make them small and into the desired shapes for the little one to hold and munch. Make sure not to include baking soda or baking powder
- Omelet: Omelets are not just healthy but are easy to make. Make sure to add a little onion and tomatoes to the eggs to add some taste. You can also add cheese if your kid likes the taste
- Noodles: If your child is over a year old, you can even try noodles cooked with tomato puree and vegetables (cut into very small pieces)
- Upma: You can try semolina( सूजी) Upma for a change. Make sure you add in more water than the required proportion to keep it soft longer. If needed you can add vegetables, cut into very small pieces (carrots, beans, onions, peas) to make it palatable
- Sandwich: Sandwich need not always have vegetables in it. Sometimes you can spread jam (any fruit jam) between two slices of bread. These are easy to make and require no heating or preparation and come handy on days when you have run out of time and ideas
- Yogurt(दही): These can also be given as add-ons, just like fruit juices. You can opt for flavored yogurts available. Make sure to send them in summers to keep your baby cool. These can be given at the end of a meal. Kids simply love the fruit flavor in the yogurt. Also Read: When Can Your Baby Start Eating Dairy Products?
Tips For Packing Food For Your Baby In Daycare
Ideas are endless and based on your kid’s preferences you can experiment. But keep in mind a few things while sending food for your little ones in a daycare.
- Wash and clean the containers and utensils well
- Make simple foods that are not messy or don’t spill. In case you opt to send something liquid, choose a suitable container/bottle
- In case you have any specific instructions regarding feeding your child, make sure you inform the caretaker clearly and well in advance
- It’s always better to send foods that don’t require re-heating
- Make sure to surprise your little one with variety every day. It should be healthy, tasty, easy to chew and easily digestible
The first few days may make you a little anxious, but as days go by and you and your baby fall into the routine, everything gets easy. So, don’t worry too much. It’s not too bad after all!
What do you pack for your baby in daycare? Do add to these ideas in the comments section below.