While pregnant and after having a baby, it's more important than ever to eat well for the health of the mama and the baby. These easy postpartum meals will make your life easier and help you through recovery after delivery.
If you haven't been following along on Instagram, you might have missed that my family and I recently welcomed our newest son, Judah, into the fold. It's been such an exciting time becoming a family of FIVE!
Birth is beautiful, but there is so much chaos when you bring a new life into the world.
For us this year alone, there was chaos in moving to a new house, opening an Airbnb and being pregnant well past my due date — PLUS raising and homeschooling Judah's two older brothers, preparing for maternity leave away from my business and podcast and not to mention keeping myself healthy.
All this chaos reminded me how important it is to rest and eat nourishing meals, even after the baby's birth, so I tried my best to prepare lots of meals ahead of the baby's arrival.
Here's what I've learned and am passing along to you — with the major caveat that I am not a doctor or nutritionist, so please be sure to check with your medical team on their personalized recommendations for you.
Scroll down for a list of my top 10 meals for the postpartum period!
Why You Should Eat Healthy After Having a Baby
When you are newly postpartum, your body has gone through a very serious event and transformation. (Honestly, that's understatement of the year!)
Regardless of what your birth was like, you now have a large wound inside your body from where your placenta was attached and your organs have shifted a ton over the course of pregnancy.
As they settle back into their "normal" positions over the next few months, it's so important to treat your body to some extra nutrients.
Plus, if you are breastfeeding, there are extra benefits to gain from eating well.
What to Eat When Breastfeeding
If you are breastfeeding, it's recommended to get at least an extra 500 calories per day to cover the work your body is doing to produce breast milk and nurse your new little one.
I can remember with both of my first two, I could not stay full for longer than an hour it felt like!
So this time around I wanted to really focus on nourishing, hearty foods that would keep me full and nourished, but still be easy on my digestive system.
Best Postpartum Foods
There were two major things my midwife recommended to me for nourishment in the first few weeks of postpartum: bone broth and fruit and veggie-packed smoothies!
Luckily I'm no stranger to enjoying smoothies, but I plan to focus heavily on more green smoothies with extra plant-based protein powder.
Smoothies are a great way to start your morning off with nutrition and something that is gentle on your stomach and easy to sip on while nursing. These blueberry Greek yogurt smoothies are full of antioxidants from the blueberries plus calcium and protein from Greek yogurt.
Another thing I love about smoothies is that you can sneak in lots of extra protein. This is a favorite plant-based protein powder I love!
A lot of postpartum women avoid soy as their hormones regulate, so stick to almond milk, oat milk or coconut milk.
For bone broth, you can make your own easily with leftover bones from, say, a rotisserie chicken. You can make either chicken bone broth or beef bone broth. Also, Costco sells a great bone broth for sipping!
Here are some other great postpartum foods:
- Bone broth
- Nutritious smoothies (with fruits, veggies and protein)
- Easily digestible meals
- Recipes that avoid soy (soy can cause estrogen imbalances)
- Recipes that avoid dairy (dairy can bother little babies' tummies sometimes)
- High protein snacks (like energy balls or protein bars)
- Roasted veggies (they are easier to digest than raw)
- Fermented foods or probiotic rich foods to help boost your gut health
How to Plan Postpartum Meals
When it comes to meals, you'll want to think about how many you might need. I truly don't think you can make TOO much — unless you have a small freezer or prepare 6+ months' worth of food that might go bad before you use it!
For breakfast, anything you can make ahead is great. For example, overnight oats can be prepped in jars and made the night before you need them.
I wanted to have enough freezer meals prepared for one meal per week for my family for the first few weeks of postpartum. I definitely expect to be back to cooking as soon as I'm physically able because it's something I love to do,
However, if cooking is not something you enjoy, plan for a longer break from it! You will appreciate the up-front hard work later, trust me!
You can also make it fun with a freezer meal party: Invite some of your friends over, have everyone bring an Instant Pot or Crock Pot and cook a bunch of meals while you play music and chat!
Also, be prepared for friends and family to offer to bring you meals. Feel free to send them this list if they aren't sure what to make you!
Okay, that was a lot of info, but I hope you found it helpful! Now, let's get into some of my favorite meals to make before you have a baby!
Easy Postpartum Meals to Make Ahead
The most important meal of the day is even more important after having a baby! Start the day with one of these easy breakfasts or smoothies.
These easy breakfast muffins are packed with protein. You can use vegan cheese or skip the cheese altogether to keep them dairy-free.
This kale smoothie is the perfect summer treat! It's packed with fruits and vegetables, refined sugar and dairy-free, and so tasty! The whole family, kids and adults, will love this easy smoothie recipe!
These Cinnamon Apple Muffins are spiced, soft and sweet, and oh-so-cozy. They are perfect for fall but can be enjoyed all year long!
Make a peach smoothie to start your morning with fresh, summery goodness! It can be made with your favorite plant-based milk to make a dairy-free treat.
These breakfast burrito bowls are the perfect way to start the weekend! Customize them with your favorite breakfast protein, veggies, and toppings like cheese, green chile or salsa. Or keep them simple with potatoes, eggs and bacon! Either way, these breakfast bowls are sure to be a hit with your family. You can also make them into burritos that you freeze and head up for busy mornings!
Here are meals you can make ahead to help you plan for the postpartum period.
Make this Easy Taco Soup for a quick, healthy dinner for the whole family. This soup can be prepped in under 10 minutes. It's made with beef, onion, corn, tomatoes, and beans and is the perfect quick lunch or easy dinner! It freezes easily too. Top this soup with your favorite toppings (but skip the cheese if you are eating dairy-free).
Grilled chicken fajitas are a delcious and easy dinner you can make on the grill. Serve with all your favorite sides and toppings. You can easily freeze the chicken to add to salads, rice bowls, tacos and more.
Homemade broccoli baked macaroni and cheese is a recipe everyone should know how to make! This homemade broccoli macaroni and cheese is made with corkscrew pasta, homemade cheese sauce, and broccoli and finished with a breadcrumb topping.
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
This loaded baked potato soup is so easy and hearty. You will love how quick it is to put together. This is a great one if you are running out of freezer meals or forgot to thaw something.
This five-ingredient Salsa Verde Chicken is an easy slow cooker meal the whole family will love! It's made with jarred salsa verde, chicken, bell peppers, onions and rice and it's ready in a matter of hours without even thinking about it.
This Chicken Mushroom Enchilada Casserole is a hearty entree packed with flavor from shredded chicken, mushrooms, onions, sour cream, and cream of mushroom.
These stuffed peppers are great for freezing. Make the filling to freeze, then cook it in fresh peppers when you want to eat it. You can also freeze the whole peppers.
These grilled turkey burgers are so juicy! Make them for a crowd or halve the recipe for a smaller meal. When you grill them, make a double batch and then store the extra in the freezer for an easy burger night.
Baked Chicken Meatballs are a quick protein option that can be added to salads, rice, pasta, or even served as an appetizer. These are not your average meatballs, made with ground chicken and packed with flavor! You can make them ahead and freeze them, then reheat while you cook pasta for an easy spaghetti night.
If you love Mexican food but want that restaurant quality food at home, this Traditional Mexican Rice is for you! This recipe is easy to make and bakes in the oven, which locks in the flavor and moisture that makes this recipe so delicious. You'll never go back to eating Mexican rice any other way! Bonus: It can be frozen for an easy side dish that you just need to warm up in the microwave.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Another favorite of mine is butternut squash soup! You can easily make it ahead and freeze it for a quick dinner or lunch that is full of healthy veggies.
It's important to have delicious snacks on hand, especially if you are breastfeeding.
These Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins are golden, hearty, moist and delicious! They're packed full of blueberries, sweetened with coconut sugar and made with soaked oats for extra flavor and texture. You won't believe how easy and delicious these blueberry muffins are!
Homemade Peanut Butter Protein Bars
These easy snack bars are high in protein and are cheaper to make than buy! They can easily be made dairy-free and gluten-free, too.
You know I love lemons, and this lemon glaze blueberry quick bread is deceivingly easy! It's the perfect quick dessert or breakfast treat!
Healthy banana chocolate chip yogurt muffins are the perfect way to start your day or for an afternoon pick-me-up! They have no added sugar — they are simply sweetened with bananas and chocolate chips! These oat-filled muffins are gooey and soft.
Easy Zucchini Bread
Zucchini bread is another favorite of mine. It's easy to make and full of fresh veggies and fiber. You can freeze it to have on hand, too!
You can even freeze bread! I love making this sourdough and freezing it in slices for easy toast or sandwiches. You can thaw a whole loaf to serve with a hearty soup, too. Feel free to do the same with store-bought bread if you need to — shortcuts are great!
More Postpartum Nutrition & Meal Prep Resources
If you want to read more, my favorite book on this subject is The First Forty Days by Heng Ou.
Here are some other resources that might help you with your meal prepping:
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