One area that I always focus on in my weaning class is teaching Mums how to safely prepare and store their baby food, but I find that it is equally important to be aware of how to safely prepare food for the entire family. By following a few guidelines, you can take the guess work out of wondering whether your food is safe to eat as well as ensure everything is stored away correctly in the fridge or freezer.
If you are interested in learning more about preparing food safely for your baby, check out my "Preparation and Storage of Baby Food" blog.
What you will need:
- Family-friendly recipes: It’s important to think about what recipes you'll be using as you want to make something the whole family will love! The Baby & Family book is packed full of family-friendly recipes you can easily adapt for your weaning baby. You also want recipes that can freeze well so you can batch cook and store your leftover portions to use later in the week. For more information about meal preparation for the family check out our series of blogs "Why meal prep for the family", "How to meal prep for your family" and "What you need to meal prep".
- Portion pots: All of our Mummy Cooks portion pots are BPA free which is essential when you are placing hot food into a plastic container. They are also airtight and will not spill in the freezer if they accidentally get knocked over. Portioning out your batch cooks into your pots is also a great way of reducing waste, as you know exactly how much you need to defrost for each meal!
- Utensils: It is important to have a few plastic chopping board in the kitchen that can be placed into your dish washer. Wooden boards can be difficult to fit into a dishwasher making them slightly more difficult to clean.
- Food flask & Cooler bag: When you're out and bringing food with you, will need a food flask to safely carry your hot or cold food as well as an insulated cooler bag to keep things like sandwiches and snacks lovely and fresh. Our Food Travel Set comes with everything you need to safely store your food when you're away from home or on holiday.
Preparing Food:Preparing Chicken
- Never wash raw chicken – washing raw chicken can splash bacteria-contaminated juices onto the sink.
- Use separate equipment and utensils – have separate chopping board and knife when preparing chicken. The best way to clean the utensils is in the dishwasher at 70 degrees. If you do not have a dishwasher it is best to clean down the board using a paper towel then spray a cleaning detergent on the board and clean.
- Always cook chicken thoroughly: chicken much reach at least 75C for 2 minutes or longer. It’s a good idea to have a food thermometer to check this.
- Check the juices when cooking; when roasting chicken they should run clear (not pink) when the meat is pierced with a fork.
Having a BBQ is a fun way to help add variety to the weekly meal plans. We love eating outdoors it almost makes the food taste somehow more delicious! It is important however to keep up your good preparation habits when eating outdoors. The rule of thumb is that food should not be out of the fridge for longer than 2 hours but this would be at room temperature. So if the weather happened to be warm you should keep all salads and fresh ingredients in the fridge until right before you are ready.
Top tips for a safe BBQ:
- Assuming you have cleaned your BBQ after the winter, light it well in advance so that it’s at the perfect temperature before you start.
- To avoid undercooking your meat, especially chicken. I would always cook the chicken (on the bone) in the oven for about 30 minutes and then place it on the BBQ to get a nice crisp.
- Cook meat until it is piping hot all the way through, with no pink meat remaining and the juices run clear. However, steaks or whole meat joints of beef or lamb can be served rare as long as they are cooked on the outside as any harmful bacteria will be on the outside only, and not in the centre.