Toddler meal planner

Home-Cooked Food & Meal Planning With Annabel Karmel

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Since both of us know our way around a kitchen, it was almost obvious that we would choose to home-cook Mia’s food once she was ready for it. She was interested in our food from as little as 3-4 months and we ended up giving her bits of finger-food as soon as we knew she could manage it. By 6 months she was starting to eat small portions of everything we ate.

Annabel Karmel

We were given a really useful recipe book by Annabel Karmel (Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner) as a present when Mia was born and as I like to be in control and planned for things, I found the meal planners in each section very useful. As first-time parents, it also helped to have a bit of guidance of what Mia should be eating, how often, and in what quantity. The book itself has plenty of recipes from pureed fruit and vegetables, which meant we could make up 2 week batches of food at a time in freeze-able pots, through to recipes we still use today such as beef stew and numerous pasta dishes. I did stick religiously to the meal planner for probably the 1st year but once I got into the swing of it, I felt far more confident to go it alone and now just dip into the book for dinner ideas.

home-cooked food

Making up 2 weeks’ worth of puree meals for Mia was a bit of a faff as it tended to take a good couple of hours to make, cool, puree and ‘pot up’ but it was well worth it to be able to grab a couple out of the freezer and defrost them ready for the next day. We still cook in this way for Mia now as it means there’s always things in the freezer ready for her, takes less time to prepare, and saves money. I usually make adult sized lasagna and bolognaise, etc… and separate into 5 portions for 5 different days over the next month. We are confident that as she has had so much variety, she will continue to eat well as she gets older and even now there is nothing she won’t eat!

home-cooked food

I appreciate that we are very lucky in that we are confident cooks in the kitchen and know what is healthy for us as a family but I highly recommend trying Annabel Karmel’s recipe books for an idea of what and how to cook food for babies and toddlers.


  • Mummy and Monkeys

    I’ve used her books with all 3 of mine. Home cooked food is definitely the best and doesn’t have to be hard to do either. Thanks for linking to #PicknMix

  • The Aloha Mummy

    Loved her book 10yrs ago with the Twins and will be using it again now with Bubs when the time comes!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Maria

    I loved using this when I was weaning. My boys especially loved the bolognese recipe! It was great to when I was weaning my youngest too as it meant both boys could eat the same things! #KCACOLS

  • A Moment With Franca

    We love Annabel Karmel’s food. We like buying her ready meals. My girls love them. They are very tasty. I remember with Bella we did try all her recipes and also cooked for the whole week and it was so handy! I don’t have that book but I have heard that it is brilliant. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I would love to see you again on Sunday! 🙂 x

    • mummydaddymia

      Ooh I haven’t tried the ready meals with Mia before, might have a look at them for our busier days I struggle to cook in time! 🙂

  • Mrs Tubbs

    I’ve still got one of those somewhere. They’re excellent 🙂 Thank you for the trip down memory lane!

  • wendy

    I never had the cookbook but I used to use some of the Annabel Karmel recipes I found online. Cooking up a bit batch of food anf freezing in small portions always worked well for us too. After having a very good little eater during weaning we have so how ended up with an extrememly fussy eating toddler, no idea how that happened!xx #maternitymondays

    • mummydaddymia

      Yes there are loads online that I too dip into now and again. Freezing Mias food is something I recommend to everyone as it saves so much time and hassle! 🙂

  • Morgan Prince

    I often wished I’d had the confidence to do this when my two were young. Although saying that they were both very picky eaters. Sounds like you’ve got it down! #KCACOLS

    • mummydaddymia

      Aww it is so much harder when you have picky-eaters, we have been lucky so far with Mia eating everything and anything! 🙂

  • Kerry

    I was drawn to this post as that was the first book I bought on weaning. We bought it at a baby show when I was pregnant, from Annabel Karmel herself and she signed it! It was my bible and is still a prized possession even though my kids are way beyond weaning age xx

    • mummydaddymia

      Oh wow, I would love to meet her in person, how great! I absolutely love how simple but yummy her recipes are and I even make the cottage pies for us adults now too! 🙂

  • Mrs H

    We had that Annabel Karmel book and it is great. We also have the Baby Led Weaning cookbook and use that a lot. We used to do batch cooking on a Sunday. It makes it so much easier knowing that you have healthy meals all ready to go in the freezer. And I think you are right, it will stand Mia in good stead in the future that she eats such a range of home cooked food. Although, children our funny and desperately hungry one day and then don’t want anything the next day. Thanks so much for linking up with #SundayStars. Hugs Lucy xxxx

    • mummydaddymia

      Oh its definitely easier to batch cook isn’t it?! I still do it now for Mia and its great to grab her a cottage pie or whatever out! I agree that children eat everything in sight one day and nothing the next, Mia is doing that at the moment 🙂

  • Silly Mummy

    I’m more ‘you can’t beat home cooked food if someone else home cooked it’! I hate cooking, but do it. OH quite likes cooking, and he does share the cooking. We have done some Annabel Karmel recipes for the girls too. #sundaystars

    • mummydaddymia

      Ah, it is difficult if your not ‘into’ cooking! My mum was never keen on it so as soon as we were old enough she taught us so we could cook a day each week 🙂

  • Debs @ Super Busy Mum

    I have never tried any of her recipes but I hear they are good! One of my 2016 goals is to made more home cooked food and that started with buying a slow cooker. Queue the excitement! 😉 Thanks so much for linking up with the Mad Mid Week Blog Hop. I hope to see you again tomorrow! #MMWBH

    • mummydaddymia

      I have a slow cooker but only used it a handful of times, I think they are handy when your out all day and the bonus of your house smelling lovely is great too! 🙂

  • Jenny Ripatti-Taylor (@letstalkmommy)

    I was a huge fan of the Annabell Carmel recipes in this book and did them for both my kids. Such a great way to get creative with food. Great review hun. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. I appreciate the linky loyalty and always look forward to seeing you again at SWM. #sharewithme

  • Mrs Tubbs

    I had that book! Used it constantly when the Tubblet was little … How lovely to see it again #sharewithme

  • Nicola Young

    I loved the Annabel Karmel books too and I still have one on my cookbook shelf, even though my youngest is nearly seven. Making purée is a bit of a faff, but still worth it and I had a small blender for whizzing up portion of the meals I made.

    • mummydaddymia

      Yes we are the same, I wouldn’t live without it, it’s great to dip into for mias meal ideas! Thanks for commenting 🙂

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