Now that I’m in the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I’m double-checking to make sure we have everything we need. This is our second baby, so we have a better idea of what to expect for those intense days and weeks after birth.
High on the list of priorities? Making sure there is a well-stocked kitchen to take care of our eating needs.
Whether you’re on your first baby or your fourth, chances are cooking is the last thing you’ll want to do in the days after delivery. Making sure you’re well-nourished, however (especially if you’re breastfeeding), is critical for getting through the tough first weeks.
Prepared meals that you can heat up in a flash are the savior of any busy family, baby or not! Avoid the family-size meals in the freezer aisle (usually full of sodium and saturated fats) and set aside some time to load your freezer with items that work for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lasagnas and casseroles are a natural fit, as are soups (packed into single-serve containers) and muffins.
- One-Bowl Oatmeal Muffins
- Baked Lasagna Casserole
- Layered Taco Bake
- Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs
- Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Taking care of a baby makes you hungry, and my first child absolutely hated being put down. Not exactly the easiest way to eat a hot bowl of soup! Snacks that are portable and don’t require utensils are essential when you don’t have a moment to yourself.
Homemade crackers and granola bars are easy to make and perfect for when you just need a little nibble, and most last a long time if stored properly in airtight containers (and can also be popped into the freezer for long-term storage). If you’re breastfeeding, snacks with oatmeal are purported to help with milk supply, as well as provide lasting fuel.
Beverages and Hydration
I have a hard time remembering to get enough water throughout the day, and adding a newborn to the mix won’t help! We have a filtered water pitcher, and I’ve also taken to keeping filled reusable bottles in the fridge so I can just grab and go. Add some cut fruit or bruised mint to the pitcher if you just can’t stand another glass of plain water.
Coconut water is also great to have on hand, as it contains natural electrolytes that will help keep your energy up. Pitchers of citrus drinks will help keep you refreshed as well. We like making “smoothie packs” of frozen yogurt cubes and chopped fruit measured and packed into single serving containers.
Tips for Easy Stocking
- Enlist some friends to help you with food prep in lieu of gifts of more baby clothes.
- Make the most of your slow cooker and cut up meats and veggies ahead of time, then place in single-meal packs along with sauces for “dump and go” dinners.
- Baked goods such as muffins and scones can be frozen before or after baking. Unbaked items can go straight into the oven, while baked ones only need a quick reheat in the microwave.
- Waffles freeze well too, and can be heated in a standard toaster.
- Have salad fixings pre-chopped for an easy-to-assemble meal. Pasta salads like this Garden Vegetable Pasta Salad store well in the fridge and are designed to be eaten cold.
- For items that are frozen, be sure to wrap them well and add instructions for reheating on a notecard or Post-it.
- Cook double! In the weeks leading up to delivery, make double batches of dinner: one for tonight, one for the freezer. The extra prep work will take no time at all, and you’ll be rewarded with a home-cooked meal down the road.
What is your go-to food for stocking up?