You’re in full blown nesting mode. Everything is spic and span, you’ve folded more baby clothes than you can count, you’ve got your go back ready by the door that’s been packed for weeks with your birth essentials.
The next task on your baby to-do list is making sure you have enough food prepped before your new bundle of joy arrives. But where do you even begin?
Here are a few recommended recipes from around the blogosphere that will help you be fully prepared for when baby comes home to make sure you, your partner, and your family are all well fed regardless of what else is going on!
Why Meal Prep?
When you’re sleep deprived, unshowered, and have a screaming baby who no matter what you’ve tried won’t stop crying, you’re not going to want to create a meal from scratch. Meal prepping is utilized by many people around the world to help make their meals one less thing to think about throughout their busy days. You’ve probably seen or heard meal prepping as a tool for fitness buffs and body builders, as you can control the macronutrients you’re getting through food to help you hit your physical goals.
Well, surprisingly (or perhaps not!), meal prepping for your postpartum life is not so different. Sure, you could eat chicken breasts and brown rice every day like the future Mr. Universes of the world do as your meal prep, but there are far more delicious and nutritious options for you to keep handy in your home!
What Are The Best Types Of Meals To Prep?
When thinking about making meals ahead of time, you want to make sure you’re preparing food that is
- Easy to access
- Easy to reconstitute into something you’ll want to eat
So, something that involves a lot of chopping, sautee, boiling, blending, kneading, or other hands-on steps at the moment is not what we’re looking for. What you want to try and do is get all those steps out of the way before your new baby arrives, and prepare meals that you can literally re-heat, take and bake, or quickly assemble before you eat.
You also want to be conscious of what you’re putting into these meals to try and help you recover and heal as quickly and wholly as possible. This goes double for if you are planning to breast/chestfeed, which burns beaucoup calories in itself! Some good ingredients that will nurture you, fill you up, and give you the vitamins and minerals you need to recover from birth are:
- Bone Broth
- Dark, Leafy Greens
- Red Beans
- Herbal Teas
- Fermented Foods
To name a few. You want to make sure you are eating foods that are rich in iron, calcium, protein, Vitamin B12, and good, fatty acids such as Omega-3. All of these nutrients can help you heal faster, feel better, and stay healthy in the postpartum stage.
Try and stay away from processed foods, lots of dairy, and most spicy foods after birth. Remember, your body is surging with hormones, and adding foods low in nutrients and high in processed sugars and fats will throw off those hormones even more. Of course, everything in moderation – you just had a baby! Your first meal doesn’t need to be a hand-massaged kale salad if you’ve been craving a deli meat sandwich since the 2nd trimester, but pastrami on rye every day is probably not advised.
What Are Some Meals I Can Try?
We’ve researched and compiled some of the best, easiest, and most nutritious prep-ahead meals for you to try! We suggest giving them a taste to decide which you like best before you freeze them up for your postpartum return!
When it comes to types of meals, there are definitely categories that are easier to prepare than others. Those include:
- Soups & Stews
- Take & Bakes (Casseroles, pasta, marinated meats, etc.)
Soups & Stews
- Slow Cooker Chicken Chili – The Crock Pot is your best friend for this one. This delicious recipe hits lean meats, beans, bone broth, and can be jazzed up to add any kind of extras you want! Set it and forget it, and bag it up for later reheats. All you have to do is – you guessed it! – pop it back into the slow cooker or add it to low heat in a pot on the stove when you need it!
- Healing Ginger & Turmeric Chicken Soup – What’s more comforting than chicken soup when you’re healing from something? Maybe this ultra warming, ginger and tumeric filled chicken soup with leafy greens from Fed and Fit! Chock full of garlic, ginger, turmeric (an incredible anti-inflammatory), coconut milk, lean meat, and topped with leafy greens for that extra kick of goodness! Make a big batch, portion out the rest, and when you’re home with a runny nose, stuffy head, or just need an extra kick to get you motivated, this little number will be waiting for you in your freezer!
- Homemade Broth & Stock – the basis for any good soup is a great broth, and with these homemade tips and tricks, you can ensure the base of all of your soups are healthy and healing! Make and freeze some just to sip on when you need something warm and rich, or add them to your soups and stews!
Take & Bakes
- Egg Cup Muffins with Pesto and Ham – these are egg-cellent for morning fuel, and super easy to make! You can even pre-bake them and keep them in the freezer or fridge for a quick microwave warm-up whenever you need them! Protein, Omega-3’s, some salt, and a yummy pesto make this a take & bake favorite!
- Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas – An easy assemble ahead and bake when you’re ready meal full of healthy carbs, delicious flavors, and nutrients perfect for postpartum! Just follow the directions for assembly, then wrap and freeze until you’re ready to bake. Or, fully cook them as directed and portion them into small, easily reheatable portions for the microwave when you’re in between new parent tasks!
- Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups – packed full of iron-rich spinach, these easy lasagna roll ups are great for when you’re hungry and need something quick and delicious to reheat! You can easily individually package them up and store them in your freezer for a speedy, complete meal on the go!
- Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potatoes – while these certainly pack the punch of a full meal with complex carbs and protein, they are super easy to make, reheat, and eat when you’re looking for something a little less full plate. Get creative with toppings and fillings – the sweet potato is a nutritious vehicle for whatever flavor creations you can come up with! Here’s a Mexican inspired Vegan option!
- No-Bake Salted Caramel Cookie Dough Bites – this nut free, grain free powerball snack is not only nutritiously full of coconut in all different forms, but is a delicious treat! Pop a few of these when you need a pick me up for a complex sugar rush that will keep you going!
- Overnight Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding – this one is a quick, 6 ingredient throw together and forget it while it sets up in the fridge overnight sweet treat that will keep for 4-5 days. With sweetness added by maple syrup, this fiber full and calorie-packed pudding gives you a delicious breakfast or snack option with purpose, especially if you’re breast/chestfeeding!
One of the many benefits of hiring a postpartum doula is their knowledge of quick, easy, and nutritious meal preps for you and your family. Postpartum doulas can even help with the meal prep by cooking, preparing, packaging, and freezing your meals for you when you return home from giving birth. Their knowledge of nutrition needed postpartum is helpful and makes mealtime easy and beneficial for you as you adjust and heal postpartum.
If you have questions about meal prep and how a postpartum doula can help you, contact us today!