The first few weeks home with your new baby can be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. And though the first month postpartum would be a great time to focus on your health, healing and wellbeing, self-care probably won’t be at the top of your list.
But what you eat will go a long way to help you be and feel like your best self.
Now, I’m under no assumption that in your sleep-deprived state, you will want to chop vegetables and grill chicken for a salad, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice eating whole, nutrient-dense foods.
Here are 12 everyday postpartum foods that are great to have on hand for those early weeks when cooking just isn’t an option.
This complex carb is high in fiber and protein, so it will fill you up and keep you satisfied. Oats are also said to help with milk production if you’re breastfeeding.
These plant-based fats also contain protein, so they make for a great snack, and you can easily grab a handful when you need a boost of energy. Fat is crucial to your little one’s organs and brain development, and to your metabolism and milk production.
3. Nut butter
Whether you’re into peanut butter, almond butter or another kind of nut or seed, this is great to have on hand for a quick dose of protein and fat. A spoonful can make a great snack or smear it on toast for a quick meal.
4. Whole grain bread
Toast a slice and top with butter, jam, cheese or another topping of your choice. Eat it fresh or freeze it and toast slice by slice to preserve it—either way, you will get the protein and fiber you need, whether it be for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
5. Plain Greek yogurt
This protein-packed staple makes for a great breakfast or snack. Top with nuts or frozen berries for extra nutrients. Opt for the whole milk option to get those beneficial fats.
Possibly the most versatile staple, eggs are great for any meal. It takes fewer than 5 minutes to scramble them up, and if you have time, hard boiling a few at the beginning of the week will ensure you have a protein-filled snack ready to go when you need it. Eggs also contain a lot of nutrients and vitamins that can assist in recovering from birth.
This staple is filled with protein, fiber and fats thanks to the chickpeas, tahini and olive oil inside. Dip in raw veggies or crackers for an easy snack.
Related: The ABC’s of healthy eating
8. Frozen fruit and veggies
It can be hard to keep fresh fruit and veggies in the house in the early days when the idea of washing, chopping and cooking seems like too much to handle. Frozen options are the perfect solution to making sure they don’t go bad. Steam them, pop them in the microwave to thaw or blend frozen for a smoothie anytime.
9. Sweet potatoes
This complex carb is high in nutrients, easy to cook, and has a longer shelf life than other vegetables. It contains vitamin A, which is passed through breastmilk to the baby and also supports your immune system.
Like sweet potatoes, this staple has a longer shelf life than most other fruits and when eaten with nut butter, is the perfect mix of protein, fat and complex carbs to keep your energy up.
11. Canned beans
The high fiber content in beans will keep your digestive system moving along, which is important following a vaginal birth or c-section. They are also a great source of protein and can be added to any meal for a nutritional boost. Try adding chickpeas, black beans or white beans to other meals, like tacos, chili or soups to boost their fiber and protein content.
12. Homemade frozen dinners
Making a few meals that can be kept in the freezer until the baby arrives is a great way to ensure you and your family have something nutrient-dense to eat in the first crazy days and nights of parenthood. Things like meatballs, sauce, chili and soups are hearty staples that can go a long way.