Annabel Karmel’s Meal Planner: Review Part 1

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I am in the process of weaning the twins.

Esther and William started their relationship with food other than milk one week before their six month birthday. They started as babies often do with baby rice and then moved on to various home made purees. I was not very good, it has to be said, at making foods and I quickly combined my own efforts with shop bought packets, pouches and jars. I was always a little sad at this as I had imagined myself as a mother who would prepare all her own baby foods and toddler meals. Sadly this has not so far been the case.

During the babies’ sixth month my Mum came to stay from Spain and she helped me to create a little stockpile of simple purees that Esther and William both enjoyed.

When I was home alone again the babies once more rejected my efforts and with a heavy heart I just gave up. It was taking up too much time and effort to make small amounts of not that great food that Esther and William did not even really like.

I turned to the professionals and my babies have enjoyed a diet of Hipp, Plum, Organix and Heinz supplemented with real finger foods, fresh fruits and vegetables and lashings of Cow and Gate Cauliflower Cheese!!!

When I was asked to review Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner, because of all of the above, I jumped at the chance. 200 quick, easy and healthy recipes to try to improve the meal times of The Tweanies. How could I refuse? And with Annabel on my side for this cookery challenge, how on earth could I fail?

The book is great. It takes you through weaning from milk to solids, stage by stage, with helpful hints and meal suggestions along the way. It is packed with nutritional advice, healthy recipes and finger food ideas. It is an easy read that makes you really understand what your baby needs from their diet and makes you feel confident that you can move through the stages of weaning with your little one/s in a tasty and enjoyable way for all.

When I started using the book Esther and William were approaching 10 months of age. I have weaned them based on their actual age as advised by Bliss and our local NICU. However, I do always take into consideration their corrected age as this impacts on what they can physically eat, not necessarily digest but actually get into their mouth. At 6 months for example Esther and William did not have the hand – eye coordination to feed thmselves finger foods and more importantly at this actual age they could not sit and hold themselves upright. With all of this in mind I started reading the book and using the advice from Chapter Four, Nine to Twelve Months, but I occasionally dipped back to the section for babies at the start of the second stage of weaning from about 7 months.

I have tried a range of meals from the book starting with the most important meal of the day, breakfast!

To see how we got on come back tomorrow to read more.

For now, this is what I think of the book.

It is well laid out with concise and clear information about nutrition for babies. Annabel gives lots of suggestions for healthy snacks and finger foods alongside her recipes for spoon fed foods. She explains why each food type or ingredient is an important part of a baby’s diet and she also tackles feeding strategies such as having a washable toy at meal times to keep a baby’s hands occupied. Great advice, though Esther and William prefer breadsticks to toys!

The recipes are simple and with readily available ingredients. Many of the suggestions make great whole family meals rather than being baby specific. This book encourages eating together as a family which is something that is very important to me.

The meal planners are clearly laid out and easy to follow. I have yet been able to stick to a whole plan as I never seem to have enough time to prepare fresh food for every meal. I am going to try and stick to a whole week when my Mum visits again in the next few weeks.

This is a great guide for new mummies who are starting to wean their little ones and want some friendly advice and clear instructions to help them on their way.

I am looking forward to continuing using this book to improve my cooking and our family food experiences.

Thank you Annabel.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see how we got on with breakfast!

In the meantime if you would like your own copy of the book you can buy it through Annabel’s Amazon shop

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