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Easy meals for grandparents to give to toddlers?(31 Posts)
Hello - help needed please!
I work full time and my 18month old is at nursery during the week with one day off which she spends with my mother and father in law. Up until now i have been sending her with her lunch, dinner and snacks for the day as MIL is not very confident childcare wise (despite having raised 2 of her own...) I batch cook shepherds pies etc at the weekends which i can defrost and send over. Last sunday i spent a good part of my day making an 9 mini portions of an annable karmel veggi shepherds pie recipes as i am out of frozen meals (i'm 12 weeks pregnant so this felt very arduous!). Apparently my DD took one mouthful of said meal this week at grandmas -spat it out and refused another morsel of it.
She eats everything that is put in front of her at nursery and i doubt the cooking can be that much better than mine but still - there you have it.
My question is has anyone any ideas for simple meals that MIL can give to DD that i don't need to make in advance? I was thinking fishfingers and waffles but is the salt content too high? This is only one day a week so things don't have to be perfect nutritionally but the guilt kicks in so very easily if I consider anything less than the organic homemade numbers i've been slaving over so far!
My Ds:s grandparents save him a portion of whatever they had the night before which works well. Would they do that?
How about jacket potatoes with tuna or cheese or boiled eggs with toast? Both really easy. Or what we call a picky plate in our house, basically cut up veggies, things like grapes or apple slices, some fingers of bread and butter and a bit or cheese or cold cooked chicken.
My 17 month old eats basically what we're having, but other meals I make specifically for her include:
Chicken mince patties/meatballs with potato or sweet potato wedges
Gnocchi or pasta with pesto or Annabel Karmel carrot and lentil sauce (bought in sainsburys)
Boots also a tomato sauce in their baby food section. I just add chicken/fish and veg
Fish fingers with potato/sweet potato wedges
Beans on toast
Poached egg on toast
Cheese on toast? Scrambled egg on toast? Beans on toast? My DD likes avacado mashed on toast.
We don't just eat toast in my house btw, but those things are all easy!
DS is currently tucking into pancakes with cream cheese inside and sliced cucumber and tomato on the side.
Couldn't be quicker or easier!
My parents will give my 2 year old scrambled eggs, with a ball of defrosted frozen spinach and/some cheese stirred in, or reduced-sugar baked beans on toast. I have also frozen individual portions of tomato sauce with hidden blitzed vegetables and lentils, and frozen individual balls of homemade dough so they can make him pizza or pasta. Or shop-bought falafel and hummus. They add any vegetables they have made for their own meals as a side (we're vegetarian, they're meat eaters).
I batch up huge pans of spaghetti bolognaise (complete with pasta and cheese on top) and stew (chchicken / beef / whatever) once every few months and pot them up.
Night Before ds goes to gp (twice a week) I pull 2 out (or one and a mini frozen pizza) and throw them in his lunch box with a pot of cereal. They give him fruit / snacks -probably lots of sweets-- on top.
He's 2.9 now and has been eating pretty much the same couple of dishes since he was a year or so. He doesn't mind - loves it and it's part of his routine.
Takes me probably 2 hours every 3 months!
It's only one day a week, and if you're MIL isn't a confident cook, or confident taking the time to cook while looking after your DD, then it's either keep going with the batch cooking or start to accept that standards may slip a little
Things like fish fingers or scrambled egg are easy to cook and then you can have either beans or easy frozen veg alongside. Pasta with frozen veg and pesto is incredibly quick too. But does it have to be a hot meal? She could just offer oat cakes, cucumber, tomatoes, apple, cheese, ham etc, that's very simple. Personally I don't think kids need a hot meal every single day so you could just keep it very simple at your MIL's.
Or - and not being picky here, I know how hard it is to give up control on things like this - could you take a step back and let your MIL serve up whatever she wants to?
My go-to emergency super quick dinner is pasta, cheese and veg. That's it. So simple and I am yet to find a child who doesn't love it.
Other quick meals I do are...
omelette with cheese, veg, ham, whatever.
Pasta, mushrooms, ham and cream (cheats carbonara)
Quesadillas, cheese and veg (or leftovers) between 2 tortillas and toasted in a dry frying pan
By the way I think you're possibly over thinking this. Your mil could just give her whatever she's having. Even if its chips and fish fingers, one day a week is not going to matter. If FIL is there too surely they can manage to get some food prepared while keeping dd entertained between them? (says the frazzled poorly mum collapsed on the sofa after a day of feeding and entertaining 2 tinies by myself while feeling like death )
i would ask your MIL if she really feels unconfident about meals or whether she feels that you are going to be upset if your pfb has a jam sandwich (leaving most of the bread), a carrot stick and a biscuit for lunch.
I'd recommend a 'don't ask don't tell' policy on food to avoid the guilt, and tell your mum to give her whatever she will eat. As you say yourself, it's only one day a week. I say this as a person who wrote out lengthy minute by minute routine schedules for my own mum 'just to help you'....
YY to the picky dinner, DD is almost 4 and loves this.
Or suggest trying main meal in middle of day and lunch time meal at night.
Soup and potatoes
Mash and vegetables with cheese sauce type of thing
Can he have some of what they usually cook for their main meal ???
I used to let my son choose a little dish dinner or a kids ready meal from M&S and make a big hooha about packing it with a napkin etc. he always ate it which was surprising because he ate feck all else at home!
Buffet plate. This also allows MIL to add her own touches without risking outright rejection .
Scrambled eggs and toast
Beans and toast (with grated cheese)
Fish fingers and mash and peas
Sausage and mash and peas/beans
Pasta with pesto and cheese stored through (with chicken if any knocking about)
Pasta with tinned tomatoes and tuna and sweetcorn
Jackets potatoes with beans/cheese/tuna
Top up with old school puddings that grannies like to offer! Cake an custard, tinned fruit and custard, tinned rice pudding etc
Or could you save some of your dinner from the night before to send with her?
Honestly, if she's so incompetent that she can't feed a toddler, should she really be in charge of looking after her?
Is she really that incapable?
Maybe just give her an Annabelle Karmel book and let her choose. My kids will eat all sorts of things if their grandmother cooked it that they wouldn't eat for me.
MIL and FIL are presumably eating lunch themselves so surely she can just have the same as them? Then scrambled eggs or something easy like that for tea.
You are seriously over thinking this, why can't she just eat whatever your ILs are eating? - or just have a sandwich
a couple of biscuits and a bit of fruit. Agree the 'picnic' plate meal is a really easy idea ......... I got that off Mumsnet 13 years ago and it's still my now 14 year old DS's favourite sort of meal .
Don't be so precious about a once a week lunch.
This is only one day a week so things don't have to be perfect nutritionally but the guilt kicks in so very easily if I consider anything less than the organic homemade numbers i've been slaving over so far!
That is your problem OP - and unless you change your mindset you are in for many tough years ahead with two young children and a full time job.
What do your in-laws eat for lunch MrsBP ? unless they dine on deep fried salt coated chillis, she can eat what they make for themselves!
Its a non issue if you let it be - there is no need at all to be cooking separately for an 18 month old.
All my 3 kids have eaten exactly what we eat (being mindful of salt during the cooking process) for main meals from 12 months old onwaards, and there is no reason at all to do otherwise unless, for some reason, you want to.
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