I know what it's like being a mum. At best you have 10 minutes of time to spend on cooking for your child. You've got back through the door from Mums and Tots or you lost track of time while playing with playdoh. I do understand this is why so many mums want to turn to prepared foods.
So, here are my top ideas for an emergency "need to cook some food RIGHT NOW" for your toddler moments without resorting to a smiley face or a cheese string! Think about it, this has to be quicker than most preprepared foods.
1. Something from the freezer. No, this isn't copping out. If you have taken time, perhaps at a weekend to make a big batch of keema curry, bolognaise, tomato sauce or meatballs, this is the time you reap in the rewards.
2. Scrambled eggs. Are eggs the ultimate fast food? One of the few food sources of vitamin D too.
3. Mushroom pasta. One of my son's favourite dishes even now (he'd live on mushrooms or prawns if I let him.)
4. Quesadillas. The way to use all kinds of bits and bobs and sneak vegetables into your child's diet. Just include cheese and from then on the world is your oyster.
5. Poached egg on toast. Cook this by putting boiling water into a saucepan then lowering the heat right down until it's below simmering point. Crack in a fresh as possible egg and time for 4 minutes, scoop out, drain and serve on toast. (Runny eggs for over 1 year olds only.)
6. Courgette pasta, great for that glut of courgettes at this time of year and a great way to put some vegetables into your child's diet if they're a little reluctant.
7. Stir fried noodles. Noodles are great because even the dried ones take less than 5 minutes to cook; stir fry them with other lovely ingredients and bob is, in fact, your uncle!
8. Sandwiches. The emergency fall back for me. My son loves pate. Not ideal from a salt point of view but just be careful with the rest of the diet for the day.
9. Pitta, vegetables and dip. Hummus is a great choice, interesting flavour, monounsaturated olive oil, sesame, pulses and garlic and some kids just love to dip.
10. Mussel and broccoli pasta, I've put this last as I realise it might be a bit scary but it's so quick and I humbly like to think it's restaurant quality food for your toddler.
So next time you're reaching for a pack, why not give one of these a go?