Glancing at the above sheet makes you feel at least a little bad for my in-laws, doesn't it? Dealing with me for a daughter-in-law and my neurosis with organization probably puts them right into sainthood…seriously. But if you’re a type A mom like me, having that little extra organization when you’re going to be away from your little one is a huge comfort.
If you noticed that I’ve been a little MIA on here for the last month (oh my gosh it’s been over a month! Eek, I’m sorry…unacceptable), it’s because life just got extra hectic. Husby and I are tying up the final loose ends before building our new house, and I’m in prime travel season for work right now. But the latter of the two reasons is what prompted me to write this post to share some of my timesaving tips on prepping for your toddler when you’re going to be away.
I have this annoying trait where I feel so.bad inconveniencing people. Obviously going out of town for five nights means someone is going to be inconvenienced (especially with Husby joining me on this specific trip), so I never want to make it seem like I expect the world out of anyone. Agreeing to care for a very opinionated toddler is enough of a commitment; expecting them to also plan all her meals for that time period just seems like too much to ask.
Since I’m gone roughly once a month on some type of trip right now, here are some tricks of the trade to plan a full week’s worth of food in just a few hours.
This neat little trick of baking eggs isn’t all that new anymore, but it still is all that awesome.
Preheat the oven to 350, spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, put an egg in each muffin holder, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add spinach to some if you’d like.
Bake for 15 minutes and voilà! They slide right out and are perfect for reheating the rest of the week.
Adelyn’s breakfast usually consists of eggs, whole-wheat pancakes or toast and some type of fruit. This makes my requirement for protein in her breakfast easy for whoever is taking care of her while I’m gone—I don’t have to feel bad asking anyone to take the time to scramble an egg every day!
Veggie and whole grain noodles are a godsend because there are few things as easy to feed a toddler as noodles. These specific noodles are even easier because they come in zoo and travel themes so the shapes make Adelyn excited about them
The other great part about noodles is how easy they are to add things too. Either pre-mix a bowl of cooked noodles with corn or peas and add cheese and milk to it for a creamy mac & cheese with veggies, or buy a low-sodium, organic pasta sauce with shredded cheese to top it off. Both options are easy to warm up and provide a great meal that’s easy to pack in advance.
Fruit/yogurt parfaits are another easy addition to finalize that well-rounded meal. Blackberries have been at great prices around here lately, so I package them under some nonfat, plain greek yogurt. Adelyn acts like she’s eating dessert, and I’m happy with what she’s filling herself with. The natural fruit sweetens up the plain yogurt, so there’s no need to buy flavored yogurt that has artificial sugars added to it!
Two words: Slow Cooker.
Toss a couple chicken breasts in the slow cooker, add ½ cup water, sprinkle Italian seasoning over the chicken and cook on low for 6 hours. Minimal cleanup, easy to shred, and you have your toddler’s dinners for the week set, paired with two big pieces of ravioli.
Adelyn loves the spinach and cheese ravioli, and they’re such a cost-savings dinner option to give her with shredded chicken on the side. When I’m gone I just make sure I have enough of them precooked and portioned off with the shredded chicken for easy-to-grab dinners to rewarm and serve.
My favorite part about this post is remembering all that prep and then, because it was all complete by mid-morning (other than the chicken cooking in the slow cooker), remembering I got to have brunch with my late-waking 21-month-old. If this smile doesn’t confirm she likes the eggs this way, I don’t know what does!
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