Postpartum Eating

The first month after Fae was born I was HUNGRY. So hungry. Famished. Not as bad as when I was pregnant when I felt like I was going to vomit or die if I didn’t eat, but almost there. There was never a time when I felt like “oh no, I’m fine, no thanks.” I was always like “FOOD? YES PLEASE.” It was distracting, honestly. And a little stressful when, especially in the first TWO months, my hands were full of baby and not food on its way to my maw.

I needed to find ways to eat well, complete, and in a way that satisfied me. My drive by chip/cracker/chocolate lunches while I walked the baby to and fro were not cutting it and leaving me feeling gross… and still hungry.

Maybe you are feeling this way? Maybe you will in the future. In case you need some eating tips while nursing a million times a day and also trying to lose 50 lbs/fit back into clothes/eat more vitamins than what live in tortilla chips – I have some thoughts.

For breakfast: Oatmeal with brown sugar and the Trader Joes mixed fruit and nuts. I like this combo the best because the nuts are unsalted and there are a variety of almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc. Plus! dried blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, and the like. Oatmeal is also is good for milk production, so perks!

When I don’t have time for oatmeal I have peanut butter toast and then around 10 I’ll have a fiber one granola bar.

Lunch: Avocado with sea salt and crackers or toast (depending on how much time I have to sit and eat or how many hands I have… toast = more hands and more time).

Vanilla yogurt and frozen raspberries.

Carrots with lime and chili for snacks.

Pasta with parm and walnuts.

And by the end of the week when our fridge is nearly empty: half a sandwich with salami and cheese. Drive by crackers still happen, but way less often and I don’t finish half a box in a day. So: WIN!

Dinners: We try and have vegetables as the main part of our dinners (vs greens or meat) and only have meat maybe twice a week at max. That’s not really a moral choice, mostly a time and health choice. For me, including so many veggies in our meals has made a huge difference on maintaining weight, staying full, and reducing our grocery budget. So our most common dinners for the end of summer/beginning of fall are …

Veggie quesadillas, open face style with corn, acorn squash (or asparagus when they were in season), bell peppers, onion, garlic, carrots. A little cheese on a smaller corn tortilla. (Plus lots of salsa and some guac.)

Polenta with roasted broccoli/carrots/cauliflower/brussel sprouts/sauted green beans (one or all depending on our meal plans for the weeks).

Roasted spaghetti squash with parm and walnuts, onions and garlic.

Homemade burgers with lean ground beef, and cabbage slaw.

Chicken sandwiches with corn salsa, swish cheese, and aioli.

…other things as well, but they are less on my list lately as we cycle through seasons and my level of food boredom.

I’m always trying to eat smarter, not eat less. With breastfeeding this time around battling hunger and doing it efficiently. Lunches are my biggest hurdle no that I don’t have as much prep time. If I was at work and able to eat sitting, quietly, with a fork every day things would be way easier.

What do you eat for lunch? All snack/meal suggestions welcome! Help a hunger sister out.

11 thoughts on “Postpartum Eating”

  1. I’m in a similar boat! I was starving a the time the first month and I got into this habit of “if I have a second I better eat something because who knows if I’ll be able to later”. Unfortunately that’s left me with this habit of eating too frequently even when I’m not hungry during his naps and such. And he’s getting better at napping and not needing to be in my arms all the time so I really need to be like, “okay, I want to go grab X to eat but I’m not hungry yet so I need to wait” etc. So I’m working on my own post partum eating battle too lol.

    One of my fave current go-to’s is honey greek yogurt with a massive amount of cocoa powder mixed in. It’s amazing and keeps me from wanting to reach for ice cream. Also, filling and lots of protein. And I’m with you on the oatmeal!

    Somehow we’ll figure this out, huh?

    1. Breakfast- smoothies with either coconut water or greek yogurt depending on how full/thick I want it to be. I love the Acai packs they sell at Costco plus a banana and some additional frozen berries.

      Lunch- mostly eating leftovers from dinner, but that rarely fills me up so I eat those first and then follow up with something with carbs either bread or fruit.

      Dinner- we are still getting our produce box, so it dictates what we make most nights. I like that it forces me to try random veggies that I otherwise wouldn’t buy and it’s one less thing to think about. Right now anything that can go in the oven and means I don’t have to stare at it or soups are winning!

  2. We have a couple go-to meals that fall in the “argh don’t want to cook but need to eat healthy” camp.

    Quinoa with veggies — basically just whatever veggies we have lying around (often kale), sauteed with onion, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. (And usually LOTS of capers.) Throw it all together. Blam

    “Mexican” quinoa —

    And when I want something a little more “decadent”, but still ridiculously easy:
    With whatever veggies we have around. (Although roasted butternut squash is a favorite here!). We often omit the cheese and it’s still creamy and delicious.

  3. I started doing Jamie Oliver’s layered salad jars, except without the wanky jars. If there are bits that need cooking, I do that on the weekend (pearl barley, couscous, etc), then just have layer bits ready to go. I usually make three at once so I have three lunches ready. At the momnt I’m doing pearly barley, raw beetroot, yoghurt dressing, baby tomatoes, baby spinach or a premade kale salad/slaw mix, blueberries, handful of nuts and sometimes feta or felafel.

  4. I don’t have anything specific to postpartum to contribute, but I always love a good nutrition/planning/what-am-I-going-to-cook discussion 🙂 I highly recommend sweet potatoes as easy, good for you, and filling. They have decent levels of protein and good for you carbs, and a little goes a long way in terms of keeping me full. We boiled some last night, and drizzled on honey and cinnamon and it tasted like Christmas! So easy. But you can also roast those so so easily as well. Set it and forget it. Also – broccoli. Always broccoli. I love it, and it’s cheap. I love to put parmesan and cashews on top with it! I sometimes put a bunch of broccoli in a bowl with about an inch of water and about 3 minutes in the microwave, in a pinch, and it’s all set! Also – meatballs from TJs. Always.
    I second your avo on toast, oatmeal, yogurt and fruit/nut – those are some of my favorite go tos. I had yogurt on top of peanut butter waffle (with cinnamon) with lunch today – if you’re weird like me, that’s a good one 🙂
    I second the smoothie thing – although that’s a little more hand/time/cleaning intensive. But one banana, large scoop of peanut butter, any kind of milk or yogurt or water combo, and cacao powder – and it’s so good! I had no idea organic cacao powder (ie unprocessed, still has minerals/vitamins in it, and no sugar) is actually a good source of protein. It’s 10 bucks for a bag, but it lasts forever and can also be used in oatmeal!

  5. My roommate turned me onto the AMAZINGNESS that is a stuffed, baked sweet potato. I usually cook some onion, garlic, kale and black beans in seasoning and then put that into a baked sweet potato. Then I’ll cover it it with cheese/avocado/salsa/hot sauce/an egg/whatever and wow – so good! Sometimes I even bake the sweet potato in the morning if I have a full hour before leaving the house so that at night it doesn’t take as long to prepare.

  6. Also a morning oatmeal person. In wee infant days I did overnight oats (oats +less milk than if cooking+nut butter+flax+ fridge overnight) that way it was ready to eat and even meant someone could bring it to me (in bed with infant on weekend for example). I’m also a big smoothie person and have the kind that blends in the cup to drink it so its not a huge mess to clean up as a large blender would be.
    For lunch/dinners, I can basically eat almost any protein + form of avo + form of tomato. Sometimes that means canned shredded chicken + chopped tomatoes + avo + italian dressing, sometimes its taco ground turkey + salsa + guac. Always in a bowl (easier than tortillas,etc). My weakness is deli meat though. I could eat all day long. Slap a streak of mayo down the middle of a stack of 2-3 slices, put a few bell pepper sticks/avocado, roll up, inhale with one hand.
    For me postpartum eating in general has been harder this time because i think i expected to have my shit together sooner(?) so i am more frustrated that the lbs. are still here. Plus I have struggled with my supply so any time I cut back in food I get paranoid. AND one of the best things I see work for my supply are delicious lactation cookies. Womp womp. I’m working on accepting this for now and realizing I will just not be that svelte mom with an infant.

    1. I am with you on not having my shit together as quickly as with #1. Things are just slower. And it makes me anxious. But I’m trying to be patient and keep my goals small, one step at a time.

      My biggest supply changer: water. When I don’t drink enough during the day I see a big dip.

  7. What?! Tortilla chips don’t have vitamins? Postpartum with a two year old makes things infinitely harder, this I know. I am struggling with my extra 30lbs and supply management and generally keeping my sh*t together like did we buy TP this week?

    Thanks for the food ideas. Yes to things you can eat while holding in one hand! One snack item that has worked well for me are almond date bites. 1 c almonds, 1 c dates, 1/4 c cocoa powder, 1/4 c almond butter. Process and makes into balls. That’s it. They last forever and eating 2 really fills you up. They go perfect with that coffee that you have to reheat from yesterday! You can add other stuff to be fancy but who has time for that?

    Also, I miss work lunchtime too. I miss the uninterupted silence. I miss the moments when my mind is allowed to wonder.

  8. I think a lot about healthy, easy meals too, though my son is now 3.5, so I’m a little removed from how difficult it is to feed oneself with a nursing child. That said…

    There’s something in Germany called a cold dinner, which is just cold cuts, bread, cheese, veggies, and you make your own plate and eat it. We did something like this with our neighbors last weekend, but we called it a sandwich bar. We had salmon, cream cheese, cucumbers, guacamole, turkey, cheese, cherry tomatoes, mayo, mustard, lettuce, sandwich bread. We just used the odds and ends of what we had and I realized that this is such an easy way of feeding people when they come over. Buy a bunch of stuff, lay it out on the table.

    I also noticed in France that omelettes were on the menu all times of the day. We had mushroom omelettes, and ham and cheese omelettes. It comes with a huge salad and bread and sometimes french fries. Very filling!

    When nursing, I ate a lot of handheld things like frozen burritos. Luckily my mom made some for me so they were easy to grab and nuke then eat, also maybe a bit healthier because she stuffed them full of veggies. (Frozen burritos from the store seem to have more wrap than fillings.)

    We also have a rice cooker so we always have our carb taken care of. I mix brown rice with white rice so that it’s softer and more palatable for my son. Or regular short grain brown rice with something called sweet brown rice also makes rice nice and soft. Our go-to veggies is a bag of broccoli florets from TJ’s that I’ll steam. And then sautee some teriyaki chicken in the pan or bake in the oven. Also love the trimmed and cleaned green beans in their fridge section and the French-cut green beans from the freezer section, both of which I’ll boil. I make the green beans, feed them to my son as an “appetizer” as I make the main dish. Other appetizers that are great are sugar-snap peas (the ones from Safeway are less stringy than the ones from TJ’s) and sticks of cucumber.

    This recipe from Catherine Newman is for bbq pulled pork: It is so easy if you have a slow cooker. I think it’s so good that you don’t even need the bbq sauce at the end. This would also go well with rice and veggies.

    Good luck!

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