By Lisa Barnes
A new baby can be overwhelming for the whole family. The last thing on your mind is cooking for yourself or eating a healthy diet. However this is the time you really need to eat right. Whether you’re breastfeeding and need the extra calories, want to increase your stamina against the sleep deprivation or are starting to think about losing the “baby weight” – a healthy diet can really help with your energy level and overall outlook. Here are a few tips for how to eat healthfully during this exciting time.
1. Say “yes, please!”. Friends, family members and neighbors will ask if you need anything. Allow them to help by bringing you a meal or picking up some groceries. They really do want to help and allowing someone to cook for you is a labor of love and kindness. Friends who do not cook may want to bring you a prepared meal from a grocery store or your favorite restaurant.
2. Fuel yourself while you’re feeding your baby. Have water and healthy snacks such as fruit, cut veggies or granola bars within your reach during breast/bottle feedings.
3. If you do want to cook – make large quantities. Use your freezer to stock left-overs and make your own convenience foods for a day when you don’t feel like cooking. Good options include: lasagna, chili, vegetable soups, stews, roasts.
4. Order groceries online. If you don’t feel like going out – you can still get your groceries. Many stores offer delivery of whole foods as well as other staples and toiletries.
5. Buy healthy, fresh, foods. If your refrigerator is stocked with fruits, vegetables, cheeses, yogurts, meats and your pantry has beans, grains, pasta and condiments you’re more likely to be able to throw something together to make a meal or snack, rather than order take-out or “fast” foods.
An apple with peanut butter, yogurt with granola, a fresh fruit smoothie or veggies with cottage cheese or hummus make great adult power snacks without much preparation.
6. Divide and conquer. Chores such as grocery shopping or cooking that you used to do can be delegated to your partner. Be gracious and appreciative. If his idea of making dinner is a grilled cheese sandwich – eat it and enjoy.
7. Make a healthy diet part of your family’s lifestyle. If you get into the habit of eating healthy foods now, you’ll be able to set a good example for your new child when he’s ready to eat. It’s never too early to teach and learn good eating habits.
Lisa Barnes is the author of the The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, iParenting Media Award winning book and Williams-Sonoma’s Cooking for Baby Cookbook. Visit her at www.petitappetit.com
With your new schedule, the last thing on your mind is cooking. But it should be!