Meal Time Tips & 9 Easy Meals for New Parents
Being a new parent can be hectic, and sometimes it can be difficult to find the time to do everyday tasks. Make meals a little less stressful with these quick and easy recipes for new parents! Saving time cooking means more time for your growing family and fewer things on your new parent to-do list, so read below for tips on how to make the most of mealtime with your new bundle of joy at home.
What to Expect When… Trying to Eat
The first thing to expect when eating as a new parent is to not expect anything at all. If this is your first child, you will quickly discover that your schedule no longer matters, so your regular meal times won’t be so regular anymore. When attempting to learn when mealtime is for your newborn, you will also learn the art of eating nutritious and delicious food whenever you have a free moment and the necessity of making time-saving eating strategies. Below are 5 key things to expect to do when eating as a new parent:
- Forget Any Schedules: You’ll be running on your baby’s schedule, and your mealtime will simply be whenever you find some free time to snag a snack or whip up a quick meal. Learn how to go with the flow with your food!
- Become a Master Snacker: Try snacking on healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and granola to stay fueled throughout the day. It also helps to keep snacks in handy spots (like by your nursing chair) for easy access.
- Stock the Pantry with Healthy Options: From healthy snacks to healthy ingredients for meal prep, making sure you keep easy and healthy options on hand prevents you from reaching for quick, unhealthy foods.
- Accept the Help of Others: As a new parent, you will find that the help of others can make the transition home much easier. Whether it’s helping cook or ordering delivery, your support system can be a huge help with meals.
- Meal-Prep Like a Pro: Meal prepping will be your best friend during the new parent phase! Try to prep a few weeks’ worth of a variety of meals before giving birth, and freeze in single servings for quick and easy reheating.
Easy Meals for New Parents
You know what they say, the most important meal of the day is breakfast. While you might not have your schedule perfectly carved out as a new parent, eating when you start your day can help you feel more clear-minded and energized throughout the day. Whether you have 10 minutes or a full morning, try these quick and easy breakfast ideas that will fuel you for your day of parenting:
- Toast: Simple toast may seem like a boring breakfast, but think of all the things you can do with it! Keep a loaf of pre-sliced bread in the freezer, then toast up a slice or two and top with fruits, nut butters, eggs, avocado, or whatever you have on hand.
- Smoothies and Shakes: Making a smoothie or shake in the morning can be a refreshing and healthy start to your day that you can sip throughout the morning. Portion and freeze your preferred fruits and vegetables the night before, then simply add to a blender with add-ins and supplements like protein powder for an easy breakfast.
- Eggs: Did you know how many ways you can make an egg? The possibilities are endless, and some are super easy! Egg dishes are some of the easiest meals for new parents. Quickly fry an egg, microwave scrambled eggs, meal prep and freeze a breakfast casserole, or simply hard boil eggs to easily grab and enjoy alone or with toast.
A mid-day meal is sometimes all you need to prevent feeling run down too early in the day. Whether your lunch is more of a brunch (breakfast + lunch) or a linner (lunch + dinner), try to have some form of lunch to keep hunger at bay and keep your metabolism active. Try these lunch meals for new parents for that mid-day boost:
- Sandwiches: Don’t let a simple meal fool you or sound boring. Just like eggs and toast for breakfast, sandwiches are a wonderful blank canvas – which is perfect for preventing redundancy in eating the same meal over and over. Stock the fridge with different toppings and condiments to mix up your lunch from time to time.
- Salads: Along the same line as sandwiches, salads are great, healthy, and quick meals for new parents. You can easily meal prep salads by using proper layering techniques, or you can whip up a salad in the moment depending on what’s in your fridge. Salads are great for making sure you get your daily servings of veggies, too.
- Mason Jar Meals: Prepare these meals at the start of the week or the night before (or, ask a friend or family member to help!) for an easy, single-serving meal. Get creative: if it can go in a bowl, it can go in a mason jar. Soups, salads, and even pastas are the perfect mason jar meals for new parents on the go.
Breakfast and lunch fuel your day, but dinner is the meal that tides you over until the next morning. While many think dinner should be the largest meal of the day, dinner should actually be a smaller meal than breakfast as you don’t need as many calories to fuel your sleep. That being said, sitting down for dinner at the end of the, even if it’s at an unconventional time, can be a nice part of somewhat maintaining your nighttime ritual. Try these easy dinners:
- Casseroles: By the end of being a new parent, you will likely be tired of casseroles. But until then, casseroles will be your best friend. As mentioned earlier, you can prepare before birth to freeze and enjoy later, or you can make a weekly casserole. Switch up flavors and textures so you don’t wear yourself out on this style of meal.
- One-Pot Dishes: If you’re making a fresh meal, one-pan and one-pot dishes are the way to go. Not only is it easy to just throw everything into one dish to prepare, it also helps cut down on cleanup once dinner is ready. You can also achieve this in a slow cooker where you combine everything in the morning to have ready for dinner.
- Delivery: Okay, this one may seem like cheating, but it really is a great option for new parents. Ordering delivery every night is not very cost-effective, but if you find yourself craving specific foods that are too difficult to make at home, call in delivery and treat yourself. Plan for delivery to take 30 minutes to an hour to arrive to you.
Postpartum Diet Tips
After welcoming your new bundle of joy into the world, don’t feel like you need to rush into a special postpartum diet plan to get back on track. Luckily, a postpartum diet is as simple as maintaining a well-balanced diet along with staying active. New moms should take extra care to nourish the body with healthy, whole, and natural foods during this time to aid in recovery. If breastfeeding, it is recommended to eat an additional 500 calories per day to promote breast milk production.
According to the American Heart Association, suggested serving sizes from the major food groups are:
- 3-6 ounces of protein a day
- 3-4 servings of veggies a day
- 4 servings of fruit a day
- 6 servings of whole grains a day
As a new parent, finding time to eat might seem impossible at first. With these tips and meals for new parents, you are sure to find which routines and meals work best for your lifestyle. Always remember to eat to ensure you are fueled and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Spending time on yourself, even if it’s just 30 minutes every day of me-time, leads to a healthier and happier you and a healthier and happier baby!