Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

What else could you ask for?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Quick Meal Ideas for New Mothers: You have to feed yourself, too

Thank you to Elaine Petrowski, a postpartum doula who works in and around Ridgewood, NJ, for today’s post. She is also a freelance writer who blogs at Working Writing Woman.

New mothers, especially first timers, tend to underestimate how much time they will spend caring for their little one. That means the first thing that tends to fall by the wayside is a healthy diet. But with a little advance planning and some help from a partner, doula, family and/or friends, a new mom can take good nutritional care of herself and still have plenty of time to cuddle and care for a new baby.

With so little time to prepare and eat, every morsel you put in your mouth must have nutritional value. Ramen noodles, gold fish crackers, M&Ms and chips may be fast, but nutritionally, they score a big fat zero.
Keep plenty of fresh fruit on hand… apples, oranges, clementines, grapes and bananas all make a fast healthy snack with no prep but a quick wash and /or peel.

Nuts and nut butters are a terrific source of fiber and protein. Branch out from peanut butter and stock your pantry shelves with almond, hazelnut and cashew butters and alternate between them. A piece of whole grain toast with almond butter and a dab of apple butter tastes heavenly and is satisfying, fast and nutritious.

Next time a friend or family member asks if there is anything they can do to help, say “yes” and request that they put together a meatloaf, a lasagna, roast chicken or bring a pot of soup. Or hold a cooking party with friends or family a few weeks before your due date to stock your freezer with portion-sized packages of your favorites.

Speaking of soup. fill your pantry, before baby arrives, with a variety. Narrow the field by selecting those with the highest protein and lowest sodium content. Annie’s and Progresso make some tasty and healthy choices.

Keep several bags of organic, frozen fruit on hand. Peaches, strawberries, mangoes are all readily available and good candidates. Dust off your blender and stash a can of protein powder in your pantry. (I like vanilla Aria, which is a delicious, easy mixing soy-whey combination.) Put two scoops of the powder, 8 oz .of water and a handful of frozen fruit in the blender for a fast, healthy lunch or snack.

Think “whole” foods you can eat on the run like sunflower and pumpkin seeds, dried apricots, trail mix, hardboiled eggs, aged cheeses, plain Greek yogurt sweetened with a dap of honey or real maple syrup, mini carrots and pre-cut veggies straight from the bag, grape tomatoes, bagged salads.

Finally, if you do have some time to cook, remember this adage: Cook once, eat twice. Or maybe three or four times. It takes almost the same amount of time to make one pound of stew, chicken or meatballs as it does to make three. Eat one portion today and freeze the rest of another day.

For more information on Elaine Petrowski’s postpartum doula services in and around Ridgewood, NJ, visit her website Tender Times.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great ideas for everyone! I usually snack on almonds or walnuts which are quite satisfying. I definitely have to try pumpkin seeds.