Supporting your own nutrition in the early days of new parenthood is crucial. It’s a time when your body needs to heal from the birthing process and you also need energy to care for your baby and yourself.
But as we all know, one of the first things to go when your new baby arrives is time. The time you previously spent preparing (and eating!) will be in short supply. But there are ways to prepare for your nutrition in the postpartum period so you have enough energy to take care of yourself and your baby.
Here are five things you can do to make food prep easier in the early days.
1. Plan to make ‘dump recipes’
When time is scarce, “a slow cooker is your best friend,” says doula, Samantha Gunn. Look for a slow cooker that has the capacity to make larger meals, like the Russell Hobbs Searing Slow Cooker that cooks up to eight servings.
“You can use your slow cooker to make ‘dump recipes’” explains Samantha. These are recipes that use only a handful of ingredients that are dumped them into a single vessel to cook.
“Prepare the ingredients ahead of time and store them in the freezer in Ziploc bags. [Then when you need them] take them out and put them in the fridge to thaw the day before you’d like to cook, then pop them in the slow cooker in the morning – by dinner time, your meal is done!”
You can find plenty of ‘dump recipes’ online. This method is such a time-saver that you’ll also find it useful as your baby grows. After you’ve embraced the ‘dump recipe’ way, you may never look back!
2. Prepare one-handed snacks
Between breastfeeding and holding your newborn, you’ll sometimes find you only have one hand spare to eat with. Prepare for this by stocking up on one-handed snacks like protein balls, muesli bars, fresh fruit and crackers. This way you can take care of your baby and still realistically feed yourself at the same time.
3. Keep roast veggies on hand
“Roast veggies can be made and stored for up to five days,” explains Samantha. You can make them once a week then add grains and proteins like a BBQ chicken, roast lamb or cold meats, and you have an easy nutritious meal ready in a flash.
4. Cook once, eat twice
When you do cook, Samantha recommends the ‘cook once, eat twice’ method. Just cook double or triple portions of meals like lasagne, a slow cooker roast, spaghetti mince or chilli con carne. Store half of the portion in the freezer or fridge to eat later in the week. Alternatively, you can cook double portions of key ingredients like roasting a chicken to eat with vegetables or salad, then store the rest to make a completely different meal like chicken quesadillas, later in the week.
Many of us have grand plans to batch cook when we’re pregnant – and usually plan to do so once we’re on maternity leave. Samantha agrees batch cooking is a great idea but warns, “Try to batch cook before you’re eight months pregnant.” Because the last thing you will want to do when you’re heavily pregnant is stand over a hot stove.
5. Ask visitors to bring a plate
In the early days, friends and family will want to come and visit you and your new baby. Samantha’s advice is to make a rule that no guest is allowed in the house without bringing a plate! You don’t have to feel guilty for asking – most people who care about you and your baby will want to help. By asking them to bring something edible with them, they can do something that truly helps you out when you need it most.
This is a sponsored post by BIG W, where you can find everything you need for pregnancy, baby and beyond.