10 May How Do I Nourish My Body Postpartum? Nutrition and Meal Prep Tips for New Moms
In May we celebrate mothers! It’s a month of cards and flowers and brunches. It’s a month where new moms are probably feeling equal parts grateful and overwhelmed. But so many women come to us when they’re getting ready to have their babies (or after) and ask, “How do I nourish my body postpartum?”
New mothers need a lot of extra love and nourishment. These initial days, weeks, even months, after baby arrives take a lot of energy – both physical and emotional. With a newborn, new mom’s are definitely not sleeping enough. Most struggle to find the time to shower. Who can imagine preparing a nice, balanced meal, and eat it hot?
As dietitian nutritionists who specialize in postnatal nutrition coaching, we came together to come up with some of our favorite tips to help new moms eat well during this beautiful chaos.
Get ready! Before having that baby, stock your freezer with quick-to-prepare and/or heat meals, easy to put in the instant pot, crockpot, or oven. Be mindful about creating meals that support postpartum healing that include much-needed nutrients including proteins, iron, fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium.
Quick tips: Batch cook bone broth to freeze and heat up anytime to mix with whole grain rice or quinoa. Use it as a base for vegetable or lentil soup. Same with pasta sauces, soups, and chilis. Batch them. Freeze them. And later enjoy them!
Go frozen: Frozen fruits and vegetable mixes are just as healthy as fresh, and much quicker. Keep a frozen bag of your favorite berries, for a quick smoothie snack. Leafy greens are wonderful for postpartum healing – keep a frozen bag of them to use in omelettes or add to soups. (Don’t forget about the magic of the egg!)
Get cozy. What are your favorite foods? Healing after having a baby takes a lot of emotional energy as well. So ask your mom or grandma to make your favorite cookies. Enjoy a piece of cinnamon toast. Prepare your family’s tapioca pudding recipe. It’s okay to enjoy those flavors of home, those flavors that make you feel less anxious and more at ease.
Sleep and rest when you can. This new baby thing doesn’t last forever, and neither does the exhaustion. Though we’ve been trained to go, go, go – go back to work, go back to getting the house in order, go back to shopping – it’s time to take back the wisdom of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers and give our bodies the time to heal. Resting helps women both emotionally and physically after going through labor. If you have the privilege of resting after birth (not all women do), take it and receive this gift.
Practice saying “yes” when people offer to help. Allow your neighbor to wash dishes. Let your mother-in-law hold the baby while you take a nap, a long one. If someone offers to bring over lunch, say, “yes,” and enjoy it. It’s okay to accept help, in fact, it’s expected.
This month of celebrating mothers, don’t forget to give yourself the time to heal. Mothering is hard. Get the support you need to get through this time, so you can nourish yourself with the foods that make you feel great, and eat high-nutrient meals that help your body recuperate.
Here is a favorite recipe you can prepare and store in freezer bags before baby comes!
Favorite Instant Pot Freeze Bag Chicken Curry and Brown Rice Recipe:
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
- 7 cups of mixed vegetables (the more colorful the better)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice
- 2 cups water
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, coconut milk, bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, garlic, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Mix well to combine.
- Add the uncooked brown rice to the mixture and stir to combine.
- Divide the mixture evenly among two large freezer bags. Seal the bags, removing as much air as possible, and freeze for up to 3 months.
- When ready to cook, thaw the freezer bag in the refrigerator overnight.
- Pour the contents of the freezer bag into the Instant Pot. Add 2 cups of water and stir to combine.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and set the valve to “sealing.” Cook on high pressure for 22 minutes.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes before quick releasing any remaining pressure.
- Serve hot and enjoy!