An Hour in the Kitchen… For Baby!
It’s not just about peas and carrots… or all fruit purees. We’re talking veggies, organ meats, fermented foods and lots of good fats, too!
When my second book, Paleoista, was published back in 2012, one of the most popular sections was the one in which I shared in detail about my easy to follow food prep method: An Hour in the Kitchen.
Based on one common theme I’d noticed in most of my clients, lack of time, I created a way to allocate two single hour sessions per week in your kitchen to do a short series of simple recipes which render a fresh and delicious assortment of veggies, proteins and fats to have on hand, to last for the next few days.
Carving out the time to shop for food is a step in the right direction, but I was finding that many clients felt a sense of overwhelm not knowing exactly what to do, once they were home and often, that would result in good food going bad and getting disposed of.
By keeping it simple, on the other hand, not only is all the food consumed with gusto, we’re able to more easily stay on track with whichever eating plan we’ve chosen to help us create optimal health, be it AIP, Paleo-based, Keto or all of the above!
Once I became a mom, however, I realized I’d need to do an update on the hour in the kitchen.
Not so much because we were planning to feed our son vastly different foods from what we ate; rather, I wasn’t sure exactly what stage to introduce which foods or how much or how often!
Super Nutrition for Babies to the rescue! Our pediatrician recommended this trove of knowledge and I found myself engrossed in it, from cover to cover.
Some was a recap of what I already knew, having worked with adults on their nutrition for so long, while other chapters were enlightening, to say the least.
It’s a must read for any mom, or mom to be.
So how does that translate to the new version of what an hour in the kitchen looks like for me today?
Simple! Twice per week, it’s the same concept, but different foods prepared in a simpler manner.
Since Yves is now nearly 10 months, the foods he’s able to eat and enjoy are more varied versus when he tested his very first food back at around 6 months old.
A weekly rotation now looks something like this:
Roast grass fed and finished marrow bones (15 minutes at 425F)
Sautée ground lamb in cast iron skillet
Sautee pasture raised chicken liver in raw, organic, grass fed butter
Wash (but don’t cut) ripe avocado
I do all the prep at the same time and it takes all of about 15 minutes. (Yves can now practice tummy time in the pack and play close enough (but not too close) to the kitchen so I can do all this without needing any extra help.)
After everything is cooked, I drain the veggies and let the meats cool.
Then, one after the other:
- I puree in the Vitamix either with water or some of my bone broth (both Yves’ and my favorite is the grass fed + finished beef with shiitake)
- Pour into glass containers, such as Glass Lock
- Let cool
- Cover, label and place in the fridge
Then all that’s left to do is mix and match, whether we are eating at home at one of our markets or on the go.
I understand how a grab and go snack sounds appealing to a mom of an infant and even more so if there is more than one child. But even the baby tailored meals and snacks in this category that seem the most innocent, or have the cutest names and packing have a higher chance of causing disruption than what we make ourselves.
Whether it’s a macronutrient panel that’s out of whack due to too much carbohydrate (sugar!), or the addition of ingredients highly indigestible and inflammatory to babies, such as corn, wheat, vegetable oils and maltodextrin, it’s just not worth the risk, despite how easy it might seem to grab some rice puffs or the latest version of a pouch.
It’s one thing if it’s a back up for an occasional ‘in a pinch’ scenario, but if it becomes the go-to, it’s a whole other story.
Plus, if carving out two single hours over the course of the week to prepare food you know undoubtedly will not only not create inflammation in their tiny guts but will support optimal development of all their systems is what it takes, it’s not that arduous of a task to find the time.
If things are that tightly scheduled, there’s another option to make an even larger quantity and freeze it, slimming the time commitment down even more to a mere single hour in the kitchen.
Given that most Americans (upwards of 80%) are estimated to have some degree of leaky gut (1), it’s safe to say many of us have unnecessarily suffered, myself included, for a long period of time, with GI issues and related inflammatory conditions.
If we can prevent our littles from going through the same trials and tribulations, why wouldn’t we do everything in our power to do so?
It all goes back to gut health.
As a mom, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my son and being able to give him the gift of good health through food is something I honor with the most gratitude possible.