Before my twin girls were born, I spent my pregnancy reading up on how to make my own baby food. Cut to the reality of life with two babies: My husband and I, who both work, used a combo of homemade veggie and fruit purées with store-bought pouches when it was time for solid foods. My twins are toddlers now, and I’m always brainstorming ways to add more veggies and fruits to their meals while also involving Chloe and Claire in the kitchen to cook with me. While there are plenty of meal delivery services for adults that can be life-changing for working parents, when I heard about Nurture Life, a readymade meal service geared toward babies, toddlers, and teens, I jumped at the chance to try it out.
Before the Meals Arrived
One of my twins, Claire, has a peanut allergy, and the team at Nurture Life assured me that the facility where the meals are made are peanut-, tree nut-, and shellfish-free. Phew! None of the meals use artificial ingredients, trans fat, or high fructose corn syrup, and a team of chefs and pediatric dietitians create a healthy menu that offers a wide variety of produce, proteins, and grains. Each week, the Nurture Life menu has 12 classic kid favorites like Mac & Cheese With Cauliflower or Chicken Bites and Mashed Yams & French Green Beans, along with four seasonal meals that change each week. Since I don’t feed meat or fish to my daughters, we opted for the veggie meal plan.
When I logged into Nurture Life, I could see what meals were coming, check out the ingredients, and swap out any meals that I thought my girls might not like. Easy peasy.
While my girls are adventurous eaters who devour asparagus with glee, they’re still toddlers. They’ll willfully look in my eyes, say “I don’t like it,” then five minutes later, ask for more stir-fry tofu. In the morning, they might turn their noses up at a green smoothie, then at lunch, slurp it down like it’s a milkshake. Toddlers don’t care if you spent two hours cooking a carefully crafted organic meal for them when you’d rather marathon-watch Top Chef. They would eat popcorn for dinner if they had their way. So if the readymade service could save me two hours a night, I was ready to give up my mom guilt of not making their meals from scratch.
For their first week, I picked out:
- Mac & Cheese With Cauliflower
- Miso Tofu With Cauliflower Rice & Garlic Ginger Vegetables
- Quinoa & Chili Bowl
- White Bean Tetrazzini
- Veggie Bolognese Over Spinach Stuffed Gnocchi
MealTime Test Drive
When the meals arrived, I loved that the entire packaging, including the plastic seal, were recyclable. Every meal arrives chilled so I could toss it in the fridge and then warm it up via microwave, stovetop, or oven when it was time to eat. Considering that my hangry toddlers have the patience of a gnat when it comes to eating (who am I kidding? So do I), these ready-to-go dinners were a godsend.
Chloe and Claire were absolutely crazy about the Mac & Cheese With Cauliflower, Veggie Bolognese Over Spinach Stuffed Gnocchi, and Miso Tofu. In fact, they asked for more after they gobbled two meals’ worth of these entrées. The other two meals, Quinoa & Chili Bowl and White Bean Tetrazzini, weren’t big hits. I loved that the meals were easy to heat up — less than a minute in the microwave — and that they were toddler-sized portions. (For babies, there are different stages of fruit, veggie, and meat or bean purées. For older kids, there are larger portions of the toddler meals.)
My husband and I were big fans of not having to spend tons of time in the kitchen prepping the next day’s meals. We prepped some fruit or a green smoothie to serve with the Nurture Life meals, but it kept our weeknights way more open.
One Mom’s Honest Feedback
After two weeks of using the Nurture Life service, I saw the benefit of the extra help. I enjoyed reading the ingredient list and seeing how many vegetables were in the Vegetable Bolognese sauce (at least seven!), and taking a quick bite of some of the dishes, I appreciated that they actually tasted yummy. Weeknights were much easier with the readymade meals; it was like a mini vacay from our usual routine of toddler meal prep. I do wish that there were more vegan options because I felt like the service relied too much on dairy in the veggie meal plan. My husband and I have discussed keeping the Nurture Life meal subscription service to help when we hit busy work weeks or simply need a little break. We’ll take all the help we can get!
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(Photos via Nuture Life)