Camping: What Food To Take When Camping

Camping is an experience unto itself and you’ll never really know whether you enjoy it until you’ve experienced it. At least that’s what I tell people who refuse to give it a try. For us, it’s a bit of freedom from the every day routine. An escape. Everything from where you’re sleeping (and sleeping on) to what you’re eating is different. For us, this is really fun and actually quite exciting – although that’s not to say that it doesn’t come with it’s own challenges.

Despite always having a lot of fun, one of the challenges we always question ourselves over and over about is food. What should we take? Will it last the journey? Will it last the weekend?! How will we cook certain things? Do we have enough alcohol? We always worry we won’t have enough whilst also worrying about waste.

Over time though, we’ve quickly mastered our list and now have a go-to guide on the best foods to take. If you’re not too sure on what to take camping, maybe our quick shopping list will give you a helping hand.

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Weaning: 1 Month On. 

I’m not sure what I expected when we started weaning T a month ago. I had no idea whether he’d like the tastes or the textures, whether he’d like the same foods as me, even whether there’d be spitting out, or even choking! I guess I told myself to take each day as it came, and that I did.

I’ve very quickly learnt that one day can be so different from the previous, and that’s no different when it comes to weaning. Some days he ate everything on his tray, other days he played with the food (even if he’d had that exact meal a week or so ago!). There was no obvious explanation so it was pointless trying to work it out.

Here’s what else I’ve learnt:

There WILL be mess. Face, hands, highchair, the floor, the dog, ME! Pretty much after the third time T dropped/chucked his banana on the floor I went to my local hardware shop and bought a plastic table cover. At least this way im not getting food on the carpet, and he can have it back if it’s been dropped (until it becomes a game!).

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There WILL be wastage. Similar to above, what misses the mat completely, ends up in the compost bin (or my mouth if it’s not covered in fluff). This can get frustrating as you’re torn between doing smaller meals so that there’s no wastage, but once it’s gone, it’s gone and T has nothing to eat.

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You WILL end up finishing off the odd bowl or plate of something. Which isn’t so bad if he’s eating veggies. Banana pancakes? Toast?  Not so much.

Poop WILL change almost immediately. It took a few days for the poop to really change but when it came, it came, and it wasn’t long before I started missing the breastmilk poops. It is cool, however, to see what’s been going down. Literally.

Going down the baby-led weaning route means you don’t really have to prepare much as they’re eating what you’re eating. So if I’m having a cheese salad, he’ll have that as well. The only times I have to prepare him something different is when I’m not having a baby friendly meal like Ryvita, or if I don’t want to give him toast for breakfast for a second day in a row because I am. I still have a few stable bits in the freezer like banana pancakes, mashed potato, pin wheels, etc. but these are generally used for days when he needs a bit more to his meal or a bit of variety.

At the moment, he’s only having breakfast and lunch as I’m finding it hard to find the time to offer a dinner once he’s had another feed after lunch, a nap, and then another feed as it’s then time for a bath and then bed. I could try and fit it in around 5pm but he’s sometimes mentally getting ready to settle down by then. When he does get round to having a dinner/supper though, he’ll likely be having dinner on his own, which I don’t like the thought of, as S gets home so late and I’d rather eat with her, and I don’t want two meals, but then that factor isn’t as important right now.

I was/am quite nervous of choking, so I’m still reluctant to offer things like red meat but watching him at the moment devoir tougher things like red pepper is starting to gain me more confidence.

Of all the things to come out of taking a baby led weaning approach, eating out is one of them! It makes it so much easier! All we have to do is share our plate or get a side of veggies for him.

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It’s been a fun month, albeit stressful. It’s exciting watching him try all these new flavours – I’m looking forward to him trying his first Christmas dinner!

K

The Pod, by Mountain Buggy (Review) [AD]

When T was a newborn, going out for an early dinner or meeting S for lunch was relatively easy (once I got over feeding in public). Most of the time I was able to feed T before I went out (or give him a top up / one for the road) and once we’d got to our destination he’d be asleep in his pram or the wrap.

Now that he’s a bit older, and also weaning, going out for lunch is not such a simple task. Not only do you have to contend with a baby who doesn’t always want to sleep as planned, but they definitely don’t want to sit still on you whilst you eat your lunch. Plus, they want YOUR food.

Although these days you have a huge amount of restaurants and cafes that provide highchairs, if they’re all taken or if you’re in one of those restaurants that say they’re child friendly by providing meatballs and pasta as their kids meal option but their highchair looks like a weapon of torture or sits-a-mile-away-from-the-table-because-it’s-been-purchased-last-minute-and-not-with-the-table-in-mind, you’re pretty stumped.

That’s why I found The Pod by Mountain Buggy to be a really useful tool when eating on the go, making the majority* of restaurant tables adaptable to you.

The Pod is simply a fold away highchair, but the level of design makes it rather clever.

Firstly, it’s light and compact. It folds/collapses into a neat carry case that can be put in the bottom of your buggy, in your car boot, or in your rucksack.

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To assemble, simply fold out the two brackets – like the ones you get in school woodwork class – and affix to the table you’re sitting at.

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Because they’re screw clamps, you can fix the seat to most* tables; thick or thin. *The only tables you’re not recommended to use The Pod with are ones that don’t have four legs; such as tulip tables, don’t have solid legs; such as fold up tables, as well as round tables, or glass tables.

The chair is made out of a tough canvas and has a solid seat that the child sits on and a metal bar that runs around the back, acting as a spine. Once assembled, it’s a strong and sturdy chair that really isn’t going anywhere. Also, because it hangs from the tabletop, it doesn’t take up unnecessary room!

 

We’ve used it several times now. It was our seat for T whilst in the caravan on holiday (the ones you can hire really do have a life of their own) as well as in pubs, restaurants, and park benches for picnics. We also take it with us when we go to friend’s houses for dinner.

Even if T isn’t eating, it means he can sit with us rather than be left on his playmat or passed between laps. It means he’s always included, which is great whilst weaning, and at the same level as us no matter where we’re sitting (another issue with conventional highchairs!)

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What I like most about the seat is that it will last T a long time. Because of the generous leg space, in comparison to other highchairs, and general strength of the seat, it’ll be able to hold T into toddlerhood and (maybe) beyond.

In the past, when we went out with friends who had kids, there was always this roulette of having to check whether the restaurant provided highchairs or even whether the place was too busy – a sure sign that all the highchairs will be in use. If they didn’t provide highchairs, or the place was too busy, we often had to a) go somewhere else, b) wait for a seat, or if we didn’t want option b) we had option c) which was leave the babies in the buggy; taking up lots of room. This solves these issues very simply.

K

We were kindly given The Pod for the purpose of a review but all thoughts and opinions of three product are our own. 

Our First Weaning Experience

We decided to start weaning roughly around T turning 6 months and us returning from our holiday. We could have started a bit earlier but we didn’t want to start something so new to going on holiday.

For the past month or so he’d been really interested in our food whether we were sat on the sofa or at the dinner table. From the moment we picked the food up he was on us like a hawk. If he was close enough he’d go for a grab. On top of this, he also got distracted easily when feeding – the milk wasn’t quite grabbing his attention at times.

So upon our return, we went to our local farm and stocked up on lots of veggies. We’ve decided to do a mix of baby-led weaning and mashed food as we’re keen on getting T used to flavours quickly but at the same time we also want him to get used to chewing and holding food in its natural form and shape early on. We have a spoon ready but most of the time it’ll be preloaded for him to feed himself.

Doing a mix means that food will become a meal sooner, filling him up, but he’ll also get used to varied flavours and textures at the same time. If it’s meant to be mashed it’ll be mashed, if not he can have it in it’s true form. We didn’t like the idea of baby rice. Not only does it look and taste horrible but there’s no actual harm in getting him straight on the adult food (within reason) as long as it doesn’t have added salt, sugars, honey, nuts, or Mercury based fish.

His first taste of food was mashed sweet potato and a sprig of broccoli.

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I thought this would be a good start as there’s plenty of flavour and there was little choking hazard.

After rescuing quite a bit of broccoli from the pockets inside his cheek, he eventually got the hang of biting/sucking and then dealing with what was in his mouth. He ended up polishing it all off without wastage!

I’ll admit, it was a bit nerve wracking. I was so scared of T choking but he actually got used to it quite quickly. It’ll probably be a while before I give him anything that doesn’t naturally dissolve/melt, but even with this in mind I still have a nice, varied meals planned. I still need to read up on certain things but as far as I know he can have almost anything.

This week was sweet potato and sprigs of brocolli – I added sticks of cheese to the mix on Wednesday, and then carrots and tomatoes through the week. Next week will be poached pear with a variation of breadsticks, cucumber sticks, red pepper, or cauliflower. I really want to vary the textures and tastes.

At the moment we’re just doing lunches. I’m thinking of introducing a breakfast after two weeks but this may change. I’m also still breastfeeding on top of food – which can get confusing when it comes to timing, however it’s very much up to him whether he takes a boob. I tend to find giving him a feed 30-40 minutes before lunch at 12:30/1pm means that he’s not hungry but is open to the offer of food on his tray. We’re hoping to make weekends a bit different and offer T something from our plate instead of something just for him, this could be anything from lasagne to fish pie!

This is really fun, and considering I have issues with mess, the mess isn’t bothering me. If anything, the fun of weaning (choking aside) is calming me down.

There’s so many things I want T to try. I can’t wait to really explore.

What were your baby’s favourites? How did you conquer the fear of choking?

K

The Breastfeeding Chronicles – Recipes: Banana Oat Bites

In addition to what’s in my cupboard, I decided to give making my own snacks a go last week. I’m no Mary Berry, but it’s likely to be a hell of a lot cheaper, and probably healthier too!
Here’s my (not so much of a) recipe for banana oat bites:-

What you’ll need:

3 bananas
75g porridge oats (25g per banana if you wish to make smaller batches). You can add more oats if you don’t want the bites to be so spongy.
2tsp cinnamon.
1tsp honey (any other moist, sweet stuff will do. I’ve seen apple sauce used as well as coconut oil).

Method:

Break up and mash the banana.


Add the porridge oats, cinnamon, and honey. You could probably add other bits such as nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips at this stage. 

 

Mix to an even colour.

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Spoon out into even dollops.

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Cook for 15-20 minutes at 200oC (25-30 minutes if you don’t want them as spongy)

When they come out of the oven, they will continue to cook, so even if you bring them out at 30 minutes, you’ll still notice a little spring in them still just not as wobbly as cooking for 20.

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And that’s it! They’re my banana oat bites. I really like them as they use up any brown bananas (I HATE brown bananas) and they’re a nice treat any time of the day. I’m hoping to make some more but make them into bars as apposed to bites by spreading out the mixture as a slab. 

K

The Breastfeeding Chronicles – Fuel for Thought. 

You can get so hungry whilst feeding, not to mention thirsty, so it’s important that you keep well fuelled; not only for energy but for your supply. To help with this, I’ve found the simplest foods to get are the ones with pure oats in the ingredients. Not wheats or grains. Oats.

Every morning, usually whilst S is changing T, I chomp down on an oaty snack and glug a ton of water before his morning feed. Depending on how good the snack is, I can guarantee that in an hours time, the opposite boob is then quite full. I’m then able to express. This is a great routine as I’m creating a nice stash in the freezer. If the snack is shoddy then my boob isn’t as full.

Over the past 4 months I’ve tried my fair share of snacks to keep my supply up, and probably spent a small fortune on gimmicks and promises that a particular snack will boost supply, so here are my Top 5 favourite snacks to help with supply.

5) McVities Hob Nobs. Simple and cheap, although not great for the waistline. I find the supermarket’s own brand contain less oats so it’s good to stick to the brand.

4) Belvita Breakfast Biscuits (in particular the milk and cereals). With 8 in a box and then 4 in a packet, you can’t complain. I find these hold me really nicely until breakfast, especially if the feed is at 5am!

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3) Nairns Museli Break Oatcakes. These are quite expensive but I’ve found they’re really effective, although somewhat dry. If you have the time, spreading some jam or marmalade on top helps.

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2) Freidas Pantry Nursing Bars. I really love these bars as they especially tailored for nursing. They’re tasty and so moist that you don’t realise you’re eating oats and seeds. I tend to save these for before I go out or when I’ve just got home.

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1) McVities Oatie Bars. I got these when they were two for £1 but since they rocketed up to £2.50, McVities can kiss it if they think I’m paying out £2.50. Annoyingly, they’re really effective and like eating a good crumble topping. Yum.

I hope to try and make some of my own snacks over the next few weeks, especially as Scottish Oats are so cheap. I’ll share if they go ok!

In the meantime, what snacks help you? Have you got any receipes?

K

We were given zero compensation for the purpose of this post, we just think these products are great!