How to Not Eat Fast Food for Dinner Every Night When You Have a Newborn
Cooking dinner for my family is something I actually enjoy. Now, let’s be clear, I’m not making 3-course-intensive-recipe meals, but I like browsing recipes and saving them to my Pinterest Healthy Recipe Box, making a plan for the week, and knowing we’re fueling on quality food.
Still, no amount of joy in the kitchen could save me from the cooking-strike that comes with having a newborn!
Whether you love to cook or occasionally flex your dinner-making muscles, having a plan for how you’ll make dinner happen during your fourth trimester will save you from eating crap.
Here are 4 tactics that will keep you well-fueled in those first sleep-deprived months:
Meal trains are an amazing thing. The concept is of the “it takes a village” mindset. Others – friends, neighbors, church community, etc. – take on a night to bring you dinner which is typically a home-cooked meal.
With enough people, you have dinner being delivered to your door night after night, and each person is only cooking once so it’s not a strain on anyone.
This has been done for ages, but the internet made is insanely easy with sites like mealtrain.com. You can set one up for yourself, or have a friend or family member do it for you. They can email a link or even share on social media and others sign up for specific nights.
I have done this twice (not for myself because I didn’t know about it!), once I set one up for a new mom in my neighborhood, and more recently I saw one posted in a local moms Facebook group and signed up for a night.
If you feel weird about creating one for yourself, don’t. People love to help new moms, and cooking dinner for someone else is super satisfying!
In those final weeks of pregnancy, think “freezable” when you cook dinner. Double the recipe and make things like casseroles or slow cooker meals which have at least 6+ servings each. Divvy up the extras into smaller containers (like these), label them, and start stocking your freezer.
Check out this post from Hungryhobby.com for ideas: 12 Healthy Freezer Meals for New Moms
Prepare Halfway to Homemade Meals
When you’re ready to tackle cooking dinner, but not quite to your pre-baby capabilities, compromise by making Halfway to Homemade meals.
There’s some cooking, or at least assembling, involved so you get to create dinner for your family, but many of the few ingredients used are already cooked or prepped.
Here’s a shopping list of Halfway Homemade staple items:
For recipes, check out my post: Top 5 Healthy Halfway to Homemade Meals!
Box Meal Service
There are so many meal services now, from fully cooked quality meals to fresh ingredients and recipes ready-to-make, delivered to your door. This is the time to outsource.
Planning what you’re going to cook and going to the grocery isn’t hard on paper, but when you’re sleep deprived and have a newborn, that is a LOT of brain power. Let one of these services take over for a few weeks – or a few months.
Basically all of them have some type of deal for first time customers, so if you play your cards right, you won’t pay full price for weeks! Just remember that they are subscription services so set a reminder to cancel certain weeks (or the service all together if it isn’t working for you) so you don’t end up with unwanted food on your doorstep. Although that may not be a problem!
Look at my post, Meal Delivery: Healthy Options for Your Busy Life for a list of services to check out!
Asking for help, especially when it’s something you are normally capable of handling, is hard. It feels like this is your new normal, and you’ll never get back to your old habits again.
While things certainly are different postpartum, the first few months do not represent what life-with-baby will be! Your family, your neighbors, other moms, want nothing more than to support you, and knowing exactly what they can do to help is appreciated.
Taking advantage of things like meal services and pre-made items at the store isn’t cheating, it’s smart! Bon appetite!
I help new moms get their healthy eating habits back on track, and figuring out how to dinner is a huge piece of that! Email me at Samantha@simplywellcoaching.com and let’s set up a quick Discovery Call to see if postnatal health coaching is right for you.