Every parent starts with the best intentions, yet, we all have days when it all goes pear shaped. Whether you were delayed in work, late for an after school activity, looking after elderly relatives, puncture on the way home, the last parent to pick up your child etc .... these are the days when feeding children is toughest. Days like this happen to us all and these are the days that need a bit of advance thought.
We all judge ourselves as parents. Don't judge the quality of your child's diet based on one meal. Step back and take a birds eye view of their intake over a week. It all boils down to nutritional balance. Understanding the nutritional needs of a growing baby is something I cover in my class. Firstly (for older children) you don't need to turn to frozen fast food (pizza, nuggets, chips, wedges). Obviously you can - but I've seen it so many times that a few of these days in a row and then the child says - 'No!' to the family dinner and insists on the nuggets and chips (- the point of difficult (/no) return).
For 'fed and bed days' I suggest you make the meal less attractive (or 'treat' like) in your child's eyes. Keep it plain, simple and quick with foods that are nearly always in stock. Think Carbs, Protein, a bit of fat and vegetable or fruit. That's it - you've given your child a balanced meal. I've had lots of pear shaped days over the past couple of years. The aim is not for perfection but to keep the (healthy) show on the road so to speak. Here are some ideas:
1. Plain Pasta with cheese, a little butter or olive oil and a piece of fruit afterwards. When I went back to work after number 2, some times I would put on the pasta before I took the kids out of the car. That way I could feed them as soon as we had their coats off..... potential hangry crisis averted.
2. 1 + smoked salmon (from freezer), frozen peas, a grated carrot and natural yoghurt.
3. I would rince a spicy curry and add natural yoghurt for the kids (spice is fine if your children like it).
4. Aim to have a stock of quick meals in the freezer. If you freeze ziplock bags of foods flat they defrost in warm water in 10 mins, you heat up and obviously make sure it is fully defrosted.
5. Homemade fried rice - boiled rice (carbs) fried in a pan with some protein (egg, chicken, meat, beans), Veg (frozen peas, grated carrot, sweetcorn). I would sometimes add natural yoghurt or sesame oil.
6. Baked potato and beans.
7. Baked potato and egg, add peas
8. Beans on toast.
9. Scrambled Eggs on toast.
So don't give yourself a hard time. Once you understand the nutrients that your baby needs it will make things easier.