As I said, one of my goals for 2009 is to be a better cook. Its not that I don't know how to cook...its that I don't ever know what to cook. I have spaghetti nailed and I can make a mean beef stew, but aside from a few other basics...I don't offer much variety in the kitchen. This usually isn't a big deal to Eric and I because he has come to accept the fact that I am not Giada. But now that Addie is here and ready to start eating some big girl food, I need to get more creative. So I set out on a mission to find some great baby/toddler cookbooks that offer simple, creative, EASY meals and I came across 3 that I am really loving so far.
The first book is The Healthy Baby Meal Planner. This book has some great easy recipes like Homemade Fruit Gelatin and Pasta Stars with Tomato and Cheese. The author also offers some nutritional information for each stage of development from Newborn to 5 years, which is very helpful if you are confused about how much fruit, dairy, protein, etc. your baby or toddler should be getting. What sets this book apart from some of the rest is that it actually offers weekly meal planners!!! If you are someone who needs help with variety like I do, you will love the sample menus.
The second book I love is The Petit Appetit Cookbook. This book also has some really easy organic recipes for baby and toddler. So far we have tried the Hula Smoothie and Anytime Oatmeal. While the book does suggest using all organic foods, the recipes can be easily substituted with non-organic too. I still try to buy all natural or organic foods when I can, but lets be honest, they aren't always available or affordable :-) But one thing the book does say is that if you are going to buy some jarred or pre-made baby/toddler food, try to buy organic when you can for nutritional value. Overall, I think this book has some excellent recipes that I can't wait to try for Addie (and myself :-) What sets this book apart from the others is that each recipe has a full nutritional guide (like the labels on most store bought foods) so that you know just how many calories, grams of fat, sugars, etc. are in each meal item. I think this is very helpful.
The third book I love is First Meals: Fast, Healthy, and Fun Foods for Infants and Toddlers. This book may be my favorite because it has SO MANY recipes!!! There is also a ton of information on transitioning to solids and when to introduce different foods. The book breaks up information and recipes by ages and stages, which is incredibly helpful for any new mom. The book has some great finger food ideas that go beyond Gerber Puffs :-) I think what sets this book apart form the rest are all the fun and creative ways to serve these healthy meals. They show how to cut sandwiches into shapes using cookie cutters and how to turn an average pancake breakfast into a work of art that kids will want to devour. I can tell that I will be able to come back to this cookbook for creative meal ideas again and again.
So there you have it. If you are a mom who has put "Learn to Cook Healthy Meals" on your list of 2009 resolutions, here are 3 cookbooks to help you out :-) Enjoy!!!