Consuming nourishing foods during the postpartum period can make a big difference in your mental and physical health. Check out these seven simple classics for a healthy postpartum diet.
With the birth of our first child, we had no idea what to eat. The term postpartum nutrition was not even on our radar. We were living solely off of frozen pizza, granola bars, coconut waters and deli sandwiches.
This time around, we have learned a thing or two about how to nourish the postpartum body, mind and soul, as well as how to bring back energy, aid in good digestion and promote healing.
**(If you're looking for more delicious foods for you and the family, check out our blog post series, Meals We Love).
1. Chicken Soup
No matter who you are, or where you come from, every single culture in the world has a recipe for chicken soup. There is a reason it is such a popular food. The healing properties in a properly made broth are nothing short of magical.
Within my first week postpartum with our son Coyote, the mother of a close friend of mine was at our doorstep with a generous amount of homemade chicken soup. I can not explain how satisfying and replenishing it was for my body and mind to consume a warm, hearty, bowl of soup with just the right amount of fat glistening in a golden broth.
If you are expecting a child, make sure you have someone whose cooking you trust bring you a large container of homemade chicken soup within your first week postpartum. Regardless of what the weather is like outside, it will likely be one of the most amazing meals of your life.
2. Rice and Beans
Another simple, but wildly underrated meal is the ever so famous, rice and beans. We are all aware that both of the components in this dish are some of the most widely consumed foods on the planet. That goes to show how soulfully delicious, heart warming and energizing a good bowl of rice a beans can be. For just like our beloved chicken soup, every culture has its own unique take on how to perfect this affordable dish.
Yet another friend (blessed be) of mine came by in my first 48 hours postpartum with a heaping bowl of black beans and quinoa. While it wasn't exactly rice, quinoa was a all she had in her pantry, and I was more than happy to have anyone else do the cooking for us.
For me, when I am in the early stages of postpartum, I have little to no appetite, and I certainly am not able to tolerate anything with too much spice, or foods that may trigger unwelcome gas, bloating or any other digestion issues. Postpartum is a time for me to heal, and rest, this means eating foods that are easily digestible, high in fiber and will promote a nice easy smooth but oh so dreaded first poop post baby. For these reasons, along with many others, I highly suggest that you make your postpartum friend a big pot of well seasoned beans and perfectly cooked grain ( whatever you have in your pantry will work).
3. Banana, Almond Butter, Date Smoothie
If you are anything like me, by the time your baby is full term you are already looking for ways to induce labor. Look no further than the miracle food that is the date. Known for being high in antioxidants, fiber (if you can't tell, I'm kind of obsessed with fiber) and softening the cervix to aid in inducing labor, dates are truly a postpartum parents best friend.
I went a little to wild on a particularly chilly trip to our local Costco and found myself with an obscene amount of dates. No matter how much I love the taste and the endless possibilities of how to consume dates, there are only so many I can eat raw, and by the handful.
After delivering my son and realizing I still had around a few pounds of dates sitting in our kitchen I decided to get creative. Smoothies are the ultimate postpartum food in our house, they are nutritious, filling, and can be consumed with one hand. A win all around when chasing after a four year old while simultaneously burping a newborn over one shoulder.
For me combining a handful of pitted dates with a ripe banana, a few tablespoons of almond butter a healthy splash of some kind of nut milk ( I prefer Almond but whatever you got works fine) and a couple seconds in the blender, and I have created the perfect meal/ snack to ward off my sweet tooth, keep my energy levels up, and fill my stomach with something relatively health.
Maybe its the fact that I am half Turkish, but I LOVE TEA. I don't know what to say, I basically consume it all day in all forms. Being in a postpartum body means your body has a lot of healing to do, and it can be a slow and often painful journey towards recovery. Teas are a miracle because they offer such a variety of plant and herbal medicine in a small little package.
Lately I have been making a giant batch of Korean Ginseng, Goji Berry, Raw Honey and Red Date tea. Typically adding the juice of a whole lemon to the concoction because like I said, I am Turkish and no self respecting Turk doesn't have fresh lemons in their kitchen at all times.
I read about this particular tea in the book that inspired this post The First Forty Days by: Heng Ou and quickly realized that it would likely be one of the only tangible recipes in here that I would be able to make quickly, for myself in my first weeks postpartum. Along with this I have also been consuming a boat load of Red Raspberry Leaf tea to aid in healing my cervix and assisting my uterus in contracting back to its pre-pregnancy size. To say that tea and the postpartum period belong together is an understatement, they are the quintessential couple that is wellness and recovery.
5. Protein Pancakes
This one is a true gem, not only can any fool with no cooking skills whip this up for you, but if you have a small child or a picky toddler in the house they will most likely eat this one as well.
As much as I do not love to eat a breakfast in the mornings I recognize that making sure I start my day off with something warm and filling in my stomach while I am postpartum is one of the most intelligent things I can do if I plan to make it past 2 in the afternoon without a massive migraine and an even worse attitude.
For this recipe I literally just combine one cup of rolled oats with one mashed up banana, and one egg, and a dash of cinnamon. Stir it all up and cook it on a skillet with some butter and serve them like pancakes. You can make a big batch and use it for a few days if you want to really cut down on time in the kitchen and save yourself some unneeded stress. Or you can ask a friend or partner to whip this up for you, trust me you wont be disappointed and done we all have that one banana just lying around begging to be eaten before the flies get to it?
6. Overnight Oats
Yeah I know, they basically look like mush, but here is a secret I have learned since being postpartum twice now. The best foods for you to consume in your first few weeks after having a baby are essentially adult forms of baby food. The mushier the better, because that means the easier they will be to digest.
I was never a huge fan of overnight oats either, but after having a second kid I am beyond grateful for their existence. I like to divide mine up into 3 or 4 mason jars and pop them in the fridge so I have something to snack on or breakfast to eat for multiple mornings in a row.
I make mine with chia seeds, almond butter, almond milk, a touch of maple syrup and a teaspoon of lions mane powder topped with whatever fresh fruit I have that week laying around. Trust me they taste better than they look and you will be happy as hell to have an easy to grab snack that fills you up and digests like a dream.
7. Savory Oats
If you are still reading this you've probably figured out that we really enjoy oats. What can I say, they are cheap, versatile and high in you guessed it, fiber! Sometimes the sweet oats combination gets a little tired and you have to switch things up. Well look no further than, savory oats.
We like to cook our oats in bone broth instead of water and add a generous portion of salt and pepper. Slice yourself up a few mushrooms, lightly saute them in some butter with a clove of garlic and some dried thyme and top with a poached or fried egg and you have yourself the perfect meal any time of day.
Savory oats are big in our home and a wonderful choice postpartum as the bone broth provides a layer of support to the gut, mushrooms help support bone and heart health and eggs are a cheap easy source of protein. To learn how to make our favorite savory oats check out Meals We Love.
Wishing you all love, health, and happiness!