Reviewed by: Mojomums reviewer Andrea
What they say: This year, Annabel Karmel is celebrating the 25th anniversary of her very first book – THE COMPLETE BABY & TODDLER MEAL PLANNER. Updated for today’s nutritionally confused parents, the new edition is even more current and valuable than ever…
Since it was published in 1991, Annabel Karmel’s essential guide to feeding babies and young children has become a word-of-mouth classic. For many years this book has remained the number-one bestselling book on food for children and has gone on to sell 4 million copies worldwide in over 25 different languages.
To celebrate 25 years of the No.1 kitchen staple for parents, we’ve got a shiny new edition featuring some brand new recipes, updated photography and even a pull-out meal planner to guide you through your feeding journey. The book also benefits from all of the handy advice, tips and mouthwatering dishes to tempt the next generation of feeding recruits.
Give this classic best-selling cookbook as a special gift to a friend, or enjoy using it in your own kitchen and your baby is guaranteed the very best start in life.
What we say: “Annabel Karmel’s ‘New Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner’ in my opinion is a really great guide to weaning. It is literally everything you need to know in one shiny book, with bright, colourful pictures and easy to follow recipes.
It is so easy to think, ‘I don’t need a recipe book to steam a carrot and smush it up, it’ll be fine!’ but as a first time mother (and to be honest a second time mother with me too!) weaning can be a complete nightmare. What should you feed your baby, when should you start feeding your baby, how much should you feed them, how often, baby led style or puree, are they getting enough nutrients, is the diet balanced, when to introduce more lumpier foods, and how …. I can literally go on and on! It can be a complete headache – when in theory it should be so exciting! Therefore, I think this book is a really valuable asset to have to consult through your weaning process.
There are very clear chapters starting from first foods, through to stage 2 weaning and all the way through to recipes for your (fussy) toddler. For the parents who like to follow a plan, there are meal planners at the end of each chapter so you can follow exactly what to give for lunch the first week, lunch and breakfast the third week etc – so you can follow along with the support behind you of knowing exactly what you are doing and when. For those, like me, who wouldn’t be able to stick to a plan, there are plenty of recipes for each stage so that you have lots of options for each meal and enough information for each age to know what you are aiming for.
I found the recipes easy to follow – I’ve made quite a few for my eight month old – the ‘lovely lentils’ recipe, ‘my first bolognese sauce’ ‘chicken, squash, and pear’ and the ‘leek and potato’ – all have come out nicely. Easy to follow recipes with ingredients that are easy to get in the supermarket, and provide healthy balanced meals for my daughter – and have filled my freezer with little ice cube sized portions of food for her! Plus she’s gobbled them all up – so I’m totally happy to make the recipes for her!
This book is great resource for weaning my daughter with, however, it would have been totally unhelpful for when I weaned my son (now 4!). The book is for those who wean their baby with puree, slowly increasing the lumps until they can tolerate completely solid food. My 4 year old, at the time of weaning, would either scream or clamp his mouth shut as the spoon approached – and I ended up baby led weaning him completely. This is not the recipe book for that style of weaning – at 7-9 months, it suggests offering finger foods – such as ‘steamed carrot sticks or wedges of sweet potato’ perfect for a baby that is weaned with puree learning to tolerate finger foods, but not enough guidance or advice for those who either choose (or like me, were ‘forced’) to baby led wean.
My other main criticism in the book is to do with intolerances and allergies. Although the book does mention this, it doesn’t go into detail and the recipes are not written with alternative options for those who have a baby with an intolerance/allergy. My daughter is currently dairy intolerant and it would have been so helpful if each recipe that had dairy ingredients had suggestions of how to alter the recipe to make it suitable for a dairy intolerant child.
I believe the book is a 25th anniversary edition, and as I’ve got an old copy, lent to me by a friend, I have been able to see the differences. The book is essentially the same but there are some new additional recipes with the ‘on trend’ foodie type things – for example, recipes that include kale and other superfoods, as well as recipes with spiralised vegetables.
So, if you baby is coming up to weaning age and you feel completely clueless as to how to proceed, this book will literally guide you through every step of the way – with lots of pictures of nice smiling babies too!”
Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner by Annabel Karmel (Ebury Press, £14.99) is available from many good book stores and online at Amazon.