Meal Planning with a Newborn

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

SO-- you're about to welcome a sweet new babe into the world and you just realized that you don't have any idea what you're going to EAT for the next few weeks!

YES-- friends and neighbors will offer to bring you dinner for the next week or two, but that still leaves A LOT of eating opportunities that you'll either be on your own for, or you'll have your (so very sweet and well intentioned but) sleep deprived and confused husband stumbling around the kitchen trying to figure out what to make for you.
Let's take out some of the guess work!

You're going to need to eat WAY MORE than you think you are... not only to support your body's healing, but especially if you are planning to breastfeed... get ready to ring in the cals, baby!

And if you're thinking about how to start shedding that baby weight PLEASE STOP RIGHT NOW! OKAY?! THIS IS NOT THE TIME. 
How long it should take and how to best go about returning to a healthy bodyweight after pregnancy is a story for another post... but you need to put that on the BACK BURNER for at least the first 12 weeks, okay? OKAY?! ...just lie to me and say okay even if you're still fighting it.


((give yourself some time to just be drunk on that tiny baby))


Okay, so back to why you're here: FOOD. 

((I'm going to assume that you're breastfeeding and have no major dietary restrictions for the purposes of this post, but if your situation is different than that and you have questions about how to modify these ideas for you and your family, please comment below this post or send me a message using the chat box!))

Things no one told me were SO important:

1. Electrolytes! 
People stress hydration ((sort of)) when it comes to labor and the initial recovery from birth. But this is something that at 10 months post partum continues to be something that can make or break my day with my own body and with my nursing abilities.
You need to drink at least a gallon of water a day when you're nursing, and I found myself drinking MUCH more than that at the beginning. I was just THIRSTY! Interesting how my body knew to make me want what it needed more of... right? *wink*
Sometimes though, when you're drinking SO MUCH water, it can throw off the salt and electrolyte balance of your system and that can lead to icky tummy feeling, light headedness, and even passing out. There is nothing scarier than holding your helpless newborn and feeling like you're about to hit the deck.
I swear by this all natural electrolyte drink mix, and can't recommend it enough! (message me for how to get 25% off your orders!)

2. Always having snacks! 
Like I mentioned above, there is NOTHING worse than being out with your baby or home alone with your baby and getting that overwhelming bottomed out blood sugar feeling. ALWAYS be prepared, especially those first few weeks while your body and hormones and EVERYTHING is still figuring out what the heck is going on!
What kind of snacks should you have in the house?! ....all the kinds! Especially those with good fats, gentle fiber, and clean protein!
These were my favorites (if there is a link it's because I'm linking you to the specific source that I found had the best prices when I was stock piling!)

RX Bars, Kind Bars, Costco's peanut butter filled pretzels (you'd be shocked by how much the brand matters for this one... Target's will do if you're not a Costco member😉), Oats and honey bars, costco size bag of carrot sticks (cuz we need those veggies and carrots last forever and are SO easy to chomp at home or throw in the car for one of the million doctor visits) and Shakeology! (ditto about messaging me for 25% off shakeo!)

Shakeology has been my favorite snack for a few years, it was my absolute saving grace during pregnancy, and has been my nutritional ROCK post partum too! I won't bore you with all the reasons that I'm OBSESSED WITH IT here but energy stability, milk supply, and an easy way to sneak in an extra veggie are the highlights!

((see: wife obsessed with perfect shake proportions guiding 
sweet, patient husband via facetime in making said perfect shake))


3. Simplifying Breakfast
The most important meal of the day (for the first time in my life!) was post partum easy breakfast options! Your mornings used to look like: waking up, brushing your teeth, pouring your coffee while scrolling on Instagram, enjoying said cup of coffee and then either making breakfast before heading out the door or grabbing something light once you were at work.

At home with a newborn they're going to look more like: jolt awake, forget about the coffee that is now cold, change diaper, lay half asleep in bed nursing, fall all the way asleep in bed nursing, wake up 3 hours later, repeat through step 4 before realizing that you're starving but baby has moved to step 5 and you don't know how to get up without waking the precious angel.... which can quickly spiral into the starvation state that is motherhood.
BUT NOT IF YOU HAVE EASY OPTIONS! (so in addition to always keeping some of the snacks from #2 next to your bedside with a giant bottle of water)...
These breakfast quesadillas are easy, reliable, delicious, and can be taken from the freezer to the microwave and ready to eat in one minute flat. GOD SEND.
Kodiak Cakes are our favorite pancakes-- make them small, make a million, pop them in the freezer and they're the perfect grab and go snack. They now also make some that can be found in your freezer section of the grocery store for even easier options!
English muffins with peanut butter and scrambled eggs is another good option.... make sure to have some fruit that hangs around for a while on hand! Oranges are great, berries are EASY-- you know what you like here!

4. Don't forget about lunch! 
Lunch may end up being at 2 oclock for a while, but that it NO REASON to skip it in lieu of "eating an early dinner" ...you need good calories and you need to keep the engine revving all day. Please don't skip meals!
If you have a baby that will let you set her down for an hour for you to do a little food prep, say a THANK YOU JESUS and capitalize for prepping some of these SCOOP AND SCORE recipe ideas.
What do I mean by scoop and score? I mean these are recipes that you can prep a giant bowl of ahead of time, and then SCOOP a giant scoop or two out on top of a bed of spinach for a hearty salad and you've SCORED a healthy lunch all week with basically zero prep time after the initial chopping is done!
((oh-- if you don't have a baby that will tolerate alone time quite yet, the Baby K'Tan is a great every day carrier, and the NuRoo Pocket t-shirt is a great way to get a little extra skin to skin time while getting other tasks done at the same time!)
Don't have leftover protein from dinner to add to your salad? All natural nitrate free chicken sausages are ABUNDANT in the grocery stores these days, buy 2 packs every time you to to the store, toss one in the freezer and know that while they might get boring, they will get the job done in a pinch!

5. SIMPLIFY dinner time!  
There is a time and a place for beautifully orchestrated dinners... the weeks (and months) after having a baby is not that time. We're looking for efficiency here and that means: how can we get the most reasonably healthy and moderately tasty meal prepared and cleaned up in the shortest amount of time and effort? A couple quick tips:
-Buy a few (5 seems like a good number) clean but premade salad dressings, a whole mess of protein, gallon sized ziplock bags and GET TO WORK. Portion out enough meat (chicken, pork, fish if you're so inclined) into each bag to cover you for at least dinner and lunch the next day, pour in 1/4-1/3 of one of the dressings, mix it around and pop them in the freezer! With this technique alone we had ourselves almost a month worth of protein ready to rock before Grace was ever born!
You can OBVIOUSLY make your own marinades... but we're talking about legit efficiency here people.
-Keep ground beef for quick burgers in the freezer along with some of those premarinated pork tenderloins, carne asada meats... whatever your flavor preferences are, they probably have a few "ready to grill" options for you at the meat counter. Stock up, sister!
-Buy the bags of dinner rolls from the bakery section and toss those in the freezer too! You can take them out one at a time, thaw in the microwave and then broil or toast for a beautiful little comfy addition to your dinner
-Frozen bags of veggies are a GODSEND, especially if you're having a baby during the winter like I did. Stockpile your favorites and throw in a few mixed options. The ability to pop a bag of vegetables in the microwave and have it be ready in 5-7 minutes will dramatically increase your ability to consume vegetables, and there will be plenty of time later in life to beautify dinner again. Now is probably not that time 💗
There are so many great ideas out there for crock pot meals and one pan dishes... do some exploring and figure out what a few go-to options can be for you!

...also, consider using a meal service like Hello Fresh  every few weeks to mix it up and save you a trip to the store! We did this every 3 weeks or so for the first few months and (while not necessarily the most cost effective solution) it really broke up the monotony of our routine and helped us try new things!


Here is an example of a meal plan during one of those early weeks:
shakeology, protein shake, health shake, healthy snacks, post partum, meal planning, new baby, milk supply, boobie bites, nursing snacks, meal prep, planning for baby, meal planning with a newborn,
This was for me, and should be for you, only a GUIDE.... your hunger, milk production, and energy level will let you know if you need to add in some more snacks. Don't be afraid of that as long as you're choosing whole foods that are moderately healthy.
Lean into healthy fats.
Make sure not to cut carbs too quickly (or at all at the beginning).
Eat SOMETHING every time you're nursing. 
Drink one million glasses of water a day (or at least a big one every time you're nursing). --get a bottle like this one, 2.5 a day gets you to a gallon!

What did I forget? What are you struggling with? 
Drop a comment and I will do my best to address it! 

Those first few weeks after bringing your new baby home are so amazing.
They're HARD AS HECK (did you know those feelings aren't mutually exclusive? It's okay to feel both!), but if you can eliminate a little bit of the other stressors, it really will open you up to being able to enjoy that squishy little baby blob so much.

I hope that this has given you even just one little idea to help take away the stress of meal planning and snack consumption! If you want to chat more about how to get set with a plan more specific to your needs, please reach out!
@bestself_bekah on Instagram or using the comments/chat functions on this page are the most efficient!

talk soon,
B

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