Postpartum Nutrition – Getting Back to Cooking!
Hacks for getting back to cooking without the hassle.
However, sooner or later it will be time to get back into the kitchen and make some wholesome meals. Here’s how to get you back to cooking without the fret.
Order is Everything
Because time and energy is limited during the postpartum phase, consider tackling some of these items before your baby arrives, while “nesting”. Involve your spouse, family and friends when they offer a helping hand!
- Shaping your environment is arguably the first step to help you get back to cooking. Try decluttering your counters, cleaning cabinets, re-organizing spice cupboards and deep-cleaning fridge and appliances. It may be best in this case, with a new baby, to outsource this to a helping hand such as your mother or mother-in-law. If that’s not available, many cleaning companies offer cleaning appliances thoroughly.
- Organize your recipes! Whether you are using a recipe app or a recipe binder, it will also be super helpful to get that organized with some basic recipes. Again you can easily request this from a family member or a friend; it makes for a lovely postpartum gift! Or you can involve a dietitian and begin the project together.
- Streamline your grocery shopping list and share with household members. Organizing your grocery list will also do wonders, especially when operating with the so-called “baby brain” that makes memorizing or last minute decisions nearly impossible. Sorting something that works well for all members of the family will be key to make sure you share the load when time and energy is scarce. Stocking your pantry and fridge well with some basics can help you put a meal together in a pinch!
Aim for Quick and Easy!
- When deciding what to do, a good approach to getting back to cooking is to aim for quick and easy meal ideas and recipes. Do not over-complicate your life, especially if you are not an avid cook, the best thing is to handle “baby steps” in the kitchen (no pun intended!). A baby can cause great interruption, before you know it, the whole day is gone and you haven’t gotten out of pj’s! It is therefore wise, as a rule of thumb, to choose recipes with max 20 minutes of prep and cook time and a few basic ingredients.
- When putting together meals, choose one item of the meal that requires more prep and keep the other parts of the meal simple. This is when convenient foods such as pre-washed fruits and vegetables, salad kits, ready to eat grains, deli meats and cheese can add so much ease to your meal.
Bulk & Freeze!
- Cooking batch meals and freezing them can be a great timesaver. A large pot of soup or stew can provide many nourishing meals for the family. On days where there is more unpredictability, (like those out-of-the-blue teething days) you can pull these meals out and still eat a delicious, hearty, homemade meal.
- Choose comfort foods that last such as bolognese sauce, mac and cheese, shepherds pie, or even some yummy buckwheat pancakes. All of these can so easily freeze for another day when you are in a pinch.
Split Prep & Cook
- If a recipe calls for more time than you can handle in the kitchen at one time, try splitting prep and cook times. You can prepare ingredients in the morning and cook in the afternoon. Many infants have two naps per day and so this approach can feel more manageable for moms. You can also share the load with your spouse or helpers, making cooking feel a bit less daunting.
- For this exact reason, some people love meal prep boxes as everything comes ready, chopped and portioned. Ordering meal prep boxes could be something your family does to minimize the cooking load while still learning valuable cooking skills and having tasty meals.
Keep an Eye on The Big Picture
- It is easy to get overwhelmed with cooking while finding rhythm with a new baby. Don’t worry too much if you have to ditch the plan and order take out. You can try again tomorrow; plus, not all take out has to be unhealthy. Simply add a salad kit to your favourite pizza and voila there is balance!
- In the end what’s important is the slow development of good habits. Cooking for your family will be great for staying on a budget and will help you and your loved ones develop a good relationship with food; so don’t give up on it when it feels hard. Think big picture! In reality, cooking for your family can take years to perfect… and then, new routines will throw you off balance, yet again!
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You might also want to check out these previous articles for the postpartum period on our blog:
Daniela O’Brien is known for her contagious smile, warm approachability and collaborative approach to nutrition counselling for individuals and families. Her non-judgemental, calm demeaner mixed with confidence and clear direction is especially helpful when families are struggling with meal planning challenges, picky eating, health issues and complex eating disorders. Daniela specializes in Disordered Eating, Emotional Eating, Weight Concerns, Pre/Post-natal, Infant/Kids/Family Nutrition and offers services in both English and Spanish.