Food Finds · Freezer Bag Cooking · Insulated mug method · One Pot Meals · Trail Cooking

Food Finds: Shelf Stable Meats for The Wee Ones (With Recipe)

Being that I have two wee ones, I spend more time than I might want in the kiddo aisles at stores. But one never knows what the baby food companies will dream up (the ones who brought you freeze-dried yogurt….). I am constantly looking for shelf stable items to take on road trips and also in backpacks. And while I eat very little meat, the toddler (Walker) is a carnivore.

The Gerber Graduates shelf stable meat products are interesting. Not only can they be used for toddlers, but there is a second use – for those on low-sodium diets. The majority of shelf stable meats are high in sodium, be in cans or pouches. Each package contains 2 trays/servings. And while not being the lightest, they are packed in a chicken broth (about ¼ cup per tray), that can be added to the meal you are cooking, if you are using rice or couscous.

For example, Turkey Meatballs? One half of the package weighs in at 3.5 ounces and offers 5 grams protein with 90 grams sodium, if drained. Make up some trail pasta and add these on top. Or make a wrap with shelf stable pizza sauce and add them in, with a bit of low sodium Swiss cheese.


The Grilled Chicken Nuggets are the second option, offering 5 grams protein and 60 mg sodium if drained, per tray. Added to a meal of flavored rice? Nice! The texture of the nuggets is actually quite good and not mushy. They would work great in wraps as well, drained and tossed in some ranch dressing.


You can see the nuggets through the tray, which is easy to crush after using, to slip in your garbage bag. They are recyclable as well.


Where to find? Gerber Graduates are sold in most big grocery stores as well as big box stores such as Target. Look in the baby food aisle!

Now, who is craving an adult friendly recipe? (Although many kids would eat this as well!) I have included 3 methods for making it easy to prep up.


Chicken & Sun-Dried Tomato Rice

In a quart freezer bag or sandwich bag –

  • 1 cup instant rice
  • 1 Tbsp diced dried onion
  • 1 Tbsp diced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • ¼ tsp dried black pepper

Also take:


FBC Method –

Pack dry ingredients in a quart freezer bag, tuck in add-ins.

Bring 1 cup water to near boiling. Add the chicken with broth, oil and water to bag, stir well, seal tightly and place in a cozy for 15 minutes. Stir in cheese.

Insulated Mug Method –

Pack dry ingredients in a sandwich bag, tuck in add-ins.

Add dry ingredients to your insulated mug, add in chicken with broth and oil, pour in 1 cup boiling water. Stir well, cover tightly and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in cheese.

One Pot Method –

Pack dry ingredients in a sandwich bag, tuck in add-ins.

Bring 1 cup water, oil and chicken with broth to a boil, add in dry ingredients, stirring well. Take off heat, cover tightly and let rest for 10 minutes. In cool temperatures or at high altitude, insulate in a pot cozy. Stir in cheese.

Serves 1.


While the packets of shelf-stable Parmesan cheese are easy and convenient, if you like a gourmet twist, carry a small piece of Pecorino Romano cheese and a small grater (dollar or kitchen store). It carries well, even in normal temperatures. If you are used to a higher sodium diet, bring a bit of salt to add to the recipe in camp.


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