When our kid turned one, we congratulated ourselves as parents for making it through the baby year without having a nervous breakdown or divorce and the kid was fine too. Once we realized that the kid can now eat pretty much the same food that we eat and he’s almost walking, we had the feeling of “it does get better”. At the same time the kindergarten start was looming in the near horizon representing the start of the “busy years” (= both parents working, small kids), so we concluded that there was need for further optimization. At this point in the English version of the blog post I want to give a shout out to the generous Finnish social welfare system which allowed us to stay at home a combined 13 months after our kid was born: 4 months of paid maternity leave (1 month pre-birth) + 6 months of paid parental leave + 2 months of paid paternity leave + 4 week annual vacation time. This meant that our kid was pretty much 1 year 1 month old when he started kindergarten.
At this point the kid could eat pretty much the same food as the parents, just don’t add too much salt. Our kid had also become a seriously “portion jealous” human being, meaning he wanted whatever was on our plate. He also wanted to eat on his own so it was easier to move to joint meals. In addition we concluded that the number of available hours will shrink significantly once we’re both working so we decided to make the following improvements to our menu plan:
- We went through all the recipes and made sure they all are suitable also for a little kid (e.g. we dropped chicken tortillas because they are slightly difficult to eat)
- We increased the portion sizes so that we can either freeze the extra food and reduce the number of cooking times or invite friends over for dinner easier during the week
- We added one convenience meal to each week’s menu plan that you only need to heat up in the microwave. I googled to find the best healthy options.
In addition we started applying a pro tip from a more experienced mom friend and switched the meal times. So when we pick our kid up from kindergarten between 4 and 5 p.m. we’ll give him a small snack (e.g. yogurt, bread, smoothie) and then we’ll cook the evening meal around 7 p.m. which is then the last meal for our kid before going to bed.
At this we switched our e-grocery service from Alepa Kauppakassi to K-Ruoka mainly because the latter had the possibility of saving different shopping lists and ordering e.g. lists 1 and 2 whereas Alepa service only allowed replacing list 1 with list 2.
So if you want to switch to a more family-friendly menu plan, check out the updated menu plan here. The convenience meals are signaled in italics. This blog post replaces the food logistics optimization part one. After this you’ll need to update the e-grocery shopping still according to the instructions in part two.