Eating more or less regularly can be quite a challenge with a newborn baby, and eating healthily can be almost impossible. Sure, you’ve probably pre-cooked meals to last you the first week or two, but even the most generous freezer will one day stop giving and you’ll have to start cooking again. Over the last few weeks, I’ve tried (and often failed spectacularly) to maintain a healthy & clean approach to meals, and now, after eight weeks, I have it more or less figured out. Today, I’m sharing my top five tips for healthy eating in those crazy first months.
1. Plan & Prepare
As a member of the Tone It Up fitness community, meal planning and advance preparation are something that I’ve always done, but it’s become essential now that there’s a baby. I plan my meals before our shop, and we usually opt for three or four dinners, which we’ll have twice that week. I also choose one or two breakfasts, a lunch and two or three snack options. After a grocery shop on Sundays, I try to spend a little bit of time preparing foods for the week, making my lunch and making sure I can just ‘grab and go’ when mealtimes come around.
2. Go Simple
Quick dishes with few ingredients, flavoured with herbs and spices, are the way to go here. You will be able to cook more elaborate and exciting meals again, but these first few months probably aren’t the time.
3. Go for Convenience
I’m usually all about budgeting and buying foods with minimal packaging, but this is an extraordinary situation. While I’m not advocating buying tonnes of ready meals (although you will buy them at times and that’s okay, they can be a lifesaver on tough days!), I do find buying pre-washed salad, carrot batons and diced squash to be hugely beneficial. It saves me a few precious moments when cooking and make all the difference between being able to eat a good, healthy lunch or having to skip lunch because Isla won’t stop feeding for long enough to allow me to wash and chop my lettuce.
4. Ice, Ice, Baby
Buy frozen produce where possible. Seriously. It’s so easy to just grab a few bricks of frozen kale or spinach out of the freezer and thaw it. No matter how much planning you do, you will frequently end up in the situation of having shopped for a dish and running out of time to cook it, opting for a takeaway instead. Trust me. If much of your produce is frozen, it won’t go to waste and you can try again the following week.
5. Take It Easy
Like I said above, there will be many a time where you just can’t make it happen and have a Chinese instead. That’s fine. That’s cool. You’ve just had a baby and are now coping with feeding your family while looking after a tiny person who needs non-stop care. It’s a huge adjustment, and you’re doing really well if you’re even making any sort of effort to eat healthily some of the time. Baby always comes first. If that means you have pizza and garlic bread for dinner every few days for a while, so be it! Just stay on track wherever you can, and the rest will sort itself out with time!
Have you got any advice on healthy eating with a new baby? If so, please do share it in the comments!