Baby-led weaning on a budget! Here are some of our favorite budget-friendly baby-led weaning ideas that offer a variety of nutrients without breaking the bank.
Budget is one of the biggest factors when it comes the many of the decisions we make as new parents, whether it’s related to daycare, baby clothes, or even food.
If finances are the primary factor when deciding if you should spoon-feed versus do baby-led weaning, we’re here to tell you not to worry!
Baby-led weaning can be designed to fit any budget. Here are a few tips to help design a budget-friendly baby-led weaning meal plan, plus recommended plant-based foods to rotate.
3 Tips for Baby-Lead Weaning on a Budget
1. Look for sales.
You’re much more likely to find everyday staples on sale versus waiting around for branded baby food. Plus, you’ll get more out of the food you make when you opt for things like bulk oats, canned lentils, and frozen berries to prep your own baby-led weaning meals.
As with any other grocery shopping, look at the weekly sales with baby-led weaning meals in mind. When pantry items you know you’ll prep and use go on sale, stock up!
It’s also helpful to think about what you’re going to get out of what you’re purchasing. For example, it’s much more cost-effective to buy a jar of unsweetened applesauce than a box of pouches, a bag of whole carrots versus a bag of baby carrots, and whole avocados versus a container of guacamole or mashed avocados.
You may even opt for whole nuts and seeds to make your own nut/seed butters, rather than buying pre-made containers.
2. Minimize food waste.
Although every child and mealtime is different, kids often eat less at a sitting than we like to think they will. If you notice that your babe is frequently leaving a lot of uneaten food on their tray, try serving less food to cut down on waste.
There are also some ways you can serve certain foods to help cut down on waste. For instance, serving smaller individual pastas, like rigatoni or cavatappi noodles, rather than long strands of spaghetti or fettuccine, can help.
Serving roasted fruit or veggie sticks, like steamed carrots, banana halves, or zucchini strips, rather than a pile of mashed veggies, is another idea.
Lastly, keep fruits and veggies fresh for as long as possible by following their recommended storage instructions. Optimize the shelf-life of fresh produce by following some of these tips.
3. Batch prep.
It can feel like overkill when you’re prepping a crockpot of oatmeal or saucepan of pasta just for baby, but if you plan to offer that food multiple times in a week, you’re doing future self a huge favor.
Batch cooking means preparing a larger portion of food that you will either utilize multiple times or in multiple ways.
For instance, you might be roasting tofu cubes to offer baby a few times this week, but also use in grown-up meals like a veggie stir-fry. Or, you might be roasting broccoli florets to offer baby, but also to blend into a thick and creamy broccoli soup for the adults this week.
And if you don’t think everything you’ve prepared will be eaten in the next several days – divide into appropriate containers or bags and pop them into the freezer for later use.
Budget-Friendly Baby-Led Weaning Food Ideas
Recommended Baby-Led Weaning Foods
Here are some of the most nutrient-dense plant-based foods we suggest rotating when doing baby-led weaning. To make them the most cost-effective, look for sales, buy seasonal produce, and follow the tips above.
- Dried beans
- Canned beans
- Dried lentils
- Canned lentils
- Split peas
- Frozen peas
- Frozen corn
- Rolled oats
- Bulk nuts/seeds (to make your own butters)
- Frozen berries
- Corn or whole-wheat tortillas
- Whole grain bread
- Leafy greens
Baby-Led Weaning Meals on a Budget
Need meal ideas? Here are a few quick pairings to get you started.
- Peanut butter pancakes + half a banana
- Rigatoni with marinara + peas
- Oat cereal + smushed blueberries
- Drained, rinsed canned white beans + steamed cucumber sticks
- Avocado slices + toast strips drizzled with thinned almond butter
- Homemade almond-cashew yogurt + grapefruit wedges with membranes/seeds removed
- Hummus blended with spinach or kale + cooked elbow noodles
- Legume pasta + berry and flax smoothie
- Iron-fortified breakfast cereal + peeled mango slices
Baby-led weaning on a budget, you can do it! Start with some of these budget-friendly baby-led weaning ideas to help your family create a menu that works best for you.
Chime In: Have other favorite budget-friendly ideas for baby-led weaning? Share them below!
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