By Hannah Landis, Contributing Writer
The last thing you want to think about after you have a baby is what’s for dinner. Thankfully, you don’t have to – if you plan ahead. By making arrangements before baby is born, like hiring a postpartum doula, preparing freezer meals ahead of time and/or knowing that your family or husband will be taking care of everything, you can enjoy lots of nourishing meals by just popping them in the oven.
Here’s a combination of things to stock your fridge and freezer with, as well as ways to get your community involved in keeping you well-fed so that you can stay off of your feet for a while.
1. Plan to treat yourself well….. with treats!
Find a really wonderful cupcake or decadent muffin recipe that freezes well and make a few dozen. Or however many you determine will give you one or two to eat every day for two weeks. You have just done something amazing. Something to be celebrated. Eat cake! It gives you something lovely to look forward to.
Chocolate is full of manganese and magnesium- two minerals that are essential for healing. There are plenty of cupcake recipes that are actually very nourishing because they are made with unrefined sweeteners and substitutions for wheat flour. I love these.
Having this special thing to look forward to may help to keep you from reaching for a gallon of refined-sugar-filled ice cream or a dozen donuts (most likely unhealthy store bought ones which are going to deplete your minerals, not replenish them), when your *starving* from nursing all day/night.
2. Fill the freezer with easy to eat meat
I know I just said eat cake, which is great, but you also need to make sure you are filling up other nutrient dense and easy to digest foods. Meats like shrimp, cod, halibut, chicken, and turkey all contain the amino acid tryptophan which aids serotonin production. They make you relaxed and happy, and reduce the chance of experiencing “baby blues”.
These foods also have the benefit of keeping you fuller longer (no crazy blood sugar crashes). This means fewer trips to the fridge to appease your monstrous nursing mother hunger. Plus, animal protein helps your body replenish nutrients lost during pregnancy.
Time and energy can be in really short supply when you are pregnant, but try to find an afternoon and make a few batches of recipes like this beef one, this chicken one, and the one I share below. Freeze them in small pyrex container that will be easy to heat up and serve over baked or sauteed veggies during the postpartum weeks.
There are also monthly freezer cooking plans that you can utilize, which would really fit the bill for nutrient-dense, healing meals.
3. Know how to ask for help
Oh, Internet, what would we do without your amazing ability to keep us (virtually) connected to a vast network. As much stress as I put on myself my last two pregnancies about being taken care of postpartum, I wish I would have known about this amazing site. It lets you send an email to your network, asking if they’d help you and they can sign up for a day and even see your food preferences!
Really, people want to help you. And they appreciate it when you show them how they can help!
You could even create a document with a dozen or so recipes that you know you’d love and insert a link to it on your meal train page. Between finding community to support you and filling your freezer with the right food during pregnancy, you will have a more simple, more nourishing postpartum period.
Now for that recipe!
Meaty Sweet Potato Hash
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into small dice
1 ½ pounds ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken, pork)
1 small can organic tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
In a large cast-iron skillet, sauté onion and potatoes in oil over medium heat. Add in meat, tomato paste, and seasonings- stir to combine. Sauté over medium heat until meat is browned and cooked through, 7-10 minutes.
Serve inside warmed corn tortillas, wrapped in lettuce leaves or alongside fried eggs.
How would you simplify postpartum meals?