Friday, November 29, 2013

Keeping track of all that food!

I really, really should copy and paste my post content into Gmail before saving here.  20 mins of precious kids-are-napping time gone down the tubes.  Anyway, here's my second go.

One thing I was wary of with Kristen starting solids was keeping track of which food was going to expire when.  It's recommended to keep food, while refrigerated, no longer than 3 days including the day the jar was opened or the food was made.  Pair that with mommy brain trying to keep track of everything else along with kids deciding to reject different foods on different days and it feels like a constant game of catch up - or toss-out, as it were, with the food, since we kept letting things go past the "baby best before" date.

I tried to keep on top of the dates with a decent enough tracking system when Derek started solids. I used the Post-It plastic tabs with the date opened or made written with a fine-tipped permanent marker. This was because we had so many around and I wasn't going to return to my office job! Once the jar or container was emptied, the Post-It would go I the fridge ready to be used again. I would mark out the previous day and write a new one, and usually could fit 5-6 dates this way. Once a tab was full it would be tossed.

We still have some tabs stuck on our fridge, waiting to be used again. Unfortunately they're no longer a la mode in our home as I've found an quicker to do, easier to see, less wasteful method of tracking baby's food. Behold! - the china marker. 

I stumbled upon this method when I wanted to write down the date of when I opened a jar of food but didn't have a marker on hand.  I didn't really like the tab system as much anyway.  I happened to have a china marker accidentally brought home from work so I used that to scribble on the date on the lid.

I soon realized that this works well with containers in general and have been marking my left overs too!  I love that I can write large enough so items at the back of the fridge can be read, and that I dont' need to create waste with the tabs (or with washi tape, which is another system I read up on).

I refined my system a bit when it came to labeling frozen food.  I would mark when the food was made and when it was frozen (as sometimes it's not the same day, and at least it's clear if it is or not).  So M = made when and F = frozen when.  M: Nov 26 F: Nov 27 would mean that whatever is in the container was made November 26 and frozen November 27.

What would I freeze food in? Baby Cubes! I can make 1-2 oz frozen cubes of food ready to be defrosted when meal time came.  Pop them out by running the bottom half of the Baby cube under warm-hot water for about 10-20 seconds.  WITH THE LID STILL ON, gently squeeze the bottom to see if the frozen cube would pop out.  If you don't keep the lid on, be prepared to catch the cube!

When I haven't finished the frozen food but need the Baby Cubes to store more food, I pop out the cubes as per above then store all the like food with the same date info into a freezing bag, marking all appropriate information on the bag.  So on one might read "Chicken puree, M Nov 17 F Nov 17".  This allows me to build up my inventory of healthy food for Kristen and also diversify the food portfolio!

That said, I haven't used this system to its fullest extent.  I'm a bit behind in building up my inventory.  But thankfully, I don't have to mentally keep track of everything and I'll know I have items on hand to use or take with me. =)

How about you?  What method do you use to track food? 

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