I can’t be the only person with shelves in my cupboards and freezer full of baby foods. My babies must have decided there was something better on offer before I got a chance to use them.
At first, I was the Mama intent on cooking everything fresh for my baby. I made batches of different purees – fruit, vegetables, meats, vegetables & meats combined.
All were neatly packaged and frozen in bespoke baby food containers.
When we started weaning, like most babies, the purees were sometimes loved or discarded, often on the floor. These were sometimes successfully combined with baby rice or oats in boxes.
Then came the pouches and jars – all labeled organic. We tried them to see if my baby would eat more of them. Also, they were often more convenient and easier when out and about.
Certainly, when on vacation when you can’t take your frozen pots.
So, after all the making and trying, I ended up with shelves full of products I didn’t want to waste or throw out.
What to do With Leftover Baby Food
That got me thinking, what can I do with all this stuff?
For all the bought unopened items, the best solution is to donate, so families who need the help can benefit. Many charities, food banks, churches, and medical centers will gladly accept your donations.
Alternatively, you can donate to a friend, family member, or someone at work or in the neighborhood who may need the food for their baby.
2. Make Baby Cereal Cookies
Baby Rice and oatmeal are bland and not very nutritious by themselves. If you add some other ingredients, you can make great snacks. I have added the option of adding some protein to keep everyone fuller for longer. Perfect for lunch boxes or grabbing on the go.
- 2 cups infant cereal (oatmeal, rice, or a mix)
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup fruit puree (whatever you have)
- 1 egg
- 3 Tbs milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Option: 1/4 Vanilla Protein Powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl (Infant cereal, flour, baking soda, and protein powder if using it).
In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and fruit puree.
Stir in the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Add the dry mix and mix until smooth.
Next, add the milk in stages until you have a cookie dough texture – don’t put it all in at once, as the fruit puree will add some moisture.
Spoon the mixture onto parchment paper or a buttered baking sheet.
Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
3. Gluten-Free Baking
Baby Rice is gluten-free and a great alternative for baked goods. If you have ever tried baking gluten-free, the recipes often ask for flour substitutes you have never seen in the grocery store.
The box of baby rice you have left over will work fine, so you can either use it when you need gluten-free or give it to someone you know who needs gluten-free.
4. Hidden Veggies
Getting vegetables into your children can be a full-time job. The easiest way is to hide them in your kids’ meals, which they won’t notice.
I have been doing this for years with Spaghetti Bolognese. The vegetable purees are perfect for this—even the jars of baby bolognese.
You can add fruit and veggie purees to smoothies, baked goods, pasta sauces, and pancakes. Let me know what ideas you have.
5. Healthier Sweeteners
Fruit is natural sugar or sweetener. All fruits contain sucrose – a sugar, but this is better for you than refined white sugar.
So even though you are not adding sugar directly to the dishes you make, you are adding natural sugar as fruit puree.
An excellent solution for baked goods, but remember to adjust the liquids as I mentioned in the cookie recipe.
6. Add Protein and Flavor
The Meat purees can need a little more thought when it comes to adding them to dishes. It’s just as easy.
The meat purees are perfect for adding to pasta sauces and soups to add some protein and flavor.
They mix in super easy, and again no one will notice. Most purees you have will be chicken or turkey based, maybe a little beef, meaning the flavor will not overpower the meal. Instead, it will add flavor and leave you fuller for longer.
7. Fill Up Zip Locks
If you find some combinations of purees, cereals, or jars & pouches, that work well for you. Mix them up in zip lock bags, ready for the next time you cook, speeding up the whole process.
8. Plain Yogurt
Yogurts can be full of sugar, one of those foods that seem to be healthy but are not. Either they contain lots of refined sugar or artificial sweeteners.
It is so simple to make your own healthy yogurt from plain or Greek style, then add your fruit puree. If it’s not sweet enough, add a little honey or maple syrup to taste.
This type of yogurt promotes a healthy gut and provides calcium and protein.
9. Homemade Beauty Products
Yes, you read this. Oatmeal is used in beauty products worldwide, and your leftover box probably contains organic ground oats – perfect.
Facials – combine the oats with olive oil or honey, one part oats, two parts oil or honey. Perfect for hydrating the skin as a mask. It will also exfoliate as you wash it off.
Bath Soak – oats have been used for centuries to soothe itchy skin. Combine some oats and baking soda to create a soothing bath soak.
You can also use this if your kids get chicken pox, fall in poison ivy, or have other skin irritations.
You can also combine with Epsom salts to create a soothing muscle relaxing soak after a workout.
10. Expired Date
Don’t worry. We still won’t throw things away. The oatmeal and baby rice are perfect for crafting.
Try it in homemade play dough, puffy paint, plaster of Paris, baked decorations, or jewelry. Anywhere that calls out the use of flour when you are crafting with the kids. As a last resort, it’s great fun for messy, gooey play!
This article was produced and syndicated by Mama Say What?!
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / In Green.