If your baby has started their weaning journey, you’ve probably realised just how much food gets wasted, especially if they’re trying to feed themselves! It’s inevitable that much of the food you’ve lovingly prepared will end up on the floor or smushed around their face, but there are things you can do to reduce the amount that gets wasted. Read our ten tips to find out how to make your food go further when weaning.
1. Little by little
Babies have tiny tummies and probably won’t put a lot of their food into their mouths. With finger foods, offer your baby small amounts, say a couple of pieces of pasta or one or two steamed baby carrots. If they are hungry or interested, you can always offer more.
2. For all the family
Offer your baby food that you like. If you’re partial to smashed avocado on toast for breakfast, cut off a couple of avo slices while you’re preparing it and offer it to your baby. If they like it, great! If not, more avocado for you – win-win! It definitely beats pureed broccoli. Use this concept when preparing family meals too – offer any suitable ingredients to your baby instead of preparing something separately.
3. Repurpose leftovers
Whether your baby just doesn’t fancy it or has gone off a particular food which you have already prepared, get creative and repurpose it. For example, mashed banana can be used to sweeten pancake batter, or you can freeze it to add to smoothies later. Steamed vegetable fingers can be chopped into small pieces and added to stews and soups.
4. The right tools
Invest in the right tools to help prevent food wastage. Suction bowls and plates like these from Beaba help prevent food from being accidently tipped over, while ergonomically designed baby cutlery (such as these spoons from Nana’s Manners) is great when teaching little ones how to aim for their mouth and not the floor!
5. In season produce
Not so much a food-saving tip, but rather a bit of money-saving advice, try to shop as seasonally and locally as possible. In-season fruit and vegetables tend to be cheaper than out-of-season produce, so you’ll at least be spending less on food that ends up everywhere but your baby’s mouth. Plus, in-season produce will have likely travelled fewer miles, making it kinder to the environment.
6. Freeze leftovers
Your baby’s tastes are changing all the time as they explore different flavours, so what they might devour one day, they might reject the next. With this in mind, freeze any leftovers for a later date when your child is a little more receptive to that particular food. Remember that it can take 10-15 attempts before a baby is willing to eat something new, so don’t get disheartened if they’re not into your favourite pasta dish at first.
7. Make a stock
Got a random selection of uneaten veggies that your baby is now refusing to eat? Use them to make a stock for stews, soups, curries or even to flavour other purees. Just remember to avoid using cruciferous vegetable like broccoli and cauliflower so you don’t end up with a bitter-tasting stock.
8. Cover the floor
You might live by the five-second-rule, but it’s best not to include your baby in that! Instead, cover the floor underneath your baby’s highchair with a clean waterproof sheet. Not only will it help keep your floor clean, any dropped food can be safely picked up and put back on your baby’s plate. Our Clear PVC Floor Mat is a great option.
9. Compost it
If your baby’s leftovers have been languishing at the back of the fridge for a little too long or have been dropped on the floor, they can still be put to good use. Consider investing in a compost bin to make your own nutrient-dense compost from food scraps, and then using it to grow a few simple crops in your garden. It’s the circle of life!
10. Relax, it’s not forever
Remember this stage won’t last forever, and soon enough food waste from weaning will be a distant memory. So try and relax and enjoy this time with your baby as they discover the exciting world of food and flavours.