Waste Free Weaning May 03 2020, 0 Comments
It's National Weaning Week again! The week of the year where all things weaning are discussed and some of the most knowledgeable people in the field come together to help parents know where to start!
Last year I was lucky enough to have one of my blog posts featured on the WeaningWeek.co.uk website. I put together our top 10 tips to help you save waste whilst weaning and beyond.
Now, times have changed. my post was very much written in days where we could all go out and weaning wasn't only carried out in the confines of your own home. I haven't changed any of the information as most of it does still apply today.
- Make your own
The most obvious way to save waste (and money) is to make your own food for your baby, whether you choose to puree, mash, serve simply as finger food or make up elaborate recipes. The packaging waste saved by making your own foods is quite dramatic and you can also choose to store it in a portion size specific to your baby and their stage in weaning leaving less leftovers to waste.
- Batch Cooking
Preparing and/or Cooking more than one portion at a time can work out to be a great waste, time and money saver. There’s nothing better than to open the freezer to find a complete home cooked yummy meal ready to defrost and heat up. You can easily take your own meals out and about with you too. There are so many on the go storage options now from flasks, pots and pouches. Just remember to add an ice pack to keep your food fresh if it needs to stay cool.
- Use Leftovers
We joke that our daughter is a dustbin and it’s been like that since weaning. In the early stages I would cook extra of anything that they could eat (without salt or salty sauces / stock) and save some for them to eat the next day or as snacks. Broccoli and steamed veg makes a great snack for a baby. My son preferred his foods blended into purees or mash and mastered a spoon very early whereas my daughter liked to eat with her hands and have everything as finger food or very chunky. We also like to make a big veggie puree at the end of each week using up all of the leftover bits of veg in the fridge like broccoli stems, carrots, courgette and pepper. It makes a great base for pasta sauces, savoury muffins and pinwheels. Try it!
- Buy Loose Ingredients
Shop at Markets, your local loose food store if you can or where produce is sold without packaging. If this isn’t possible look out for packaging made from LDPE that can be recycled with carrier bags at supermarkets or Paper and card packaging. Don’t buy pre portioned or prepared fruit and veg! Plan ahead, prepare and portion your own.
- Convenience when really needed
It’s hard to make your own all the time. We travel, we go out, we have to work or simply life gets busy. To save waste, save the convenience foods for those occasions rather than every day. Buying pre-made food can cost so much and the nutrients in preserved baby foods are depleted during mass production. They are perfect for an easy meal occasionally, but they are best not to be relied on for every day sustenance. When you do use pouches and crispy snacks check with Terracyle UK for a local recycling point.
- Take your own snacks out
Snacks account for a massive amount of weaning waste when bought in individual portions. For the snacks that you can’t make yourself, choose large packs and decant into smaller containers or reusable snack bags for taking out and about with you. Crispy snacks, raisins, fruit segments and vegetable sticks can all be taken out in snack pots and bags. Yogurts and smoothie style purees can also be taken out in a reusable food pouch rather than buying a processed fruit or yogurt pouch.
When trying new foods or those that you buy in large quantities get together with friends and share. If you have NCT or antenatal group friends who are all weaning at the same time, make a plan to share raw ingredients or cooked foods. Arrange play dates where you take it in turns to cook something new and let the babies all try them together. It’s a great way to try new things.
- Reusable wipes
Weaning comes with mess. Messy baby, messy floor, messy high chair! Instead of reaching for the disposable Baby wipes get some reusable wipes like Cheeky Wipes or even make your own out of old towels. Baby wipes and the wrapper they come in are not recyclable and they don’t generally biodegrade.
- Get an awesome bib
Don’t let clothes get ruined by food. Get an awesome coverall bib that wipes clean (with those reusable wipes) to allow your baby clothes to be passed on and on. Obviously, the other option is feed your baby naked and give them a wash afterwards…skin is at least wipe clean by design! We love Bibado bibs.
- Use Reusable storage options
Ensure that any baby food storage is free of BPA, easy to use, easy to get clean and reusable many times over. Always check what you already have in your cupboards that can be used before you buy something new.
Happy Waste less weaning!
Written by Suzanne Moore, owner of Nom Nom Kids Reusable Pouches May 2019.
Suzanne is the mum of two behind Nom Nom Kids Reusable Food pouches. She developed her products whilst approaching weaning with her 2nd child after finding pouches to be an incredibly helpful snack on the go with her toddler. She just didn’t feel comfortable with the waste and the expense and started the process of developing her own refillable versions. Nom Nom Kids now have 2 different sized pouches, mini snack bags and larger sandwich bags. All are BPA Free, reusable, freezable and washable by hand or in the dishwasher.