When I first had Ava, I was terrified that my healthy routine was going to go out the window. Legit terrified. I heard so many stories that I would be sleep deprived, that I would have no time, and I would be lucky if I ate at all.
And to be honest, about 50% of my experience was as described, and the other half was exactly the opposite. Although she woke up throughout the night, she had a super inconsistent schedule in the beginning and I was tired as hell - she did sleep.
I think it came down to priorities. I had to do what was most important to me with the time I had. I knew what I wanted and why I wanted it - and was determined to make it hapen, beforehand. So if you are in the beginning, middle or end of your pregnancy, your in a great spot. You can start making small changes to eat more whole, unprocessed foods now. It will make the transition that much easier!
New Mom Healthy Living Tips
Here are some things I did that helped me somewhat stick to my routine, even after having a brand new baby!
Make sure your thinking is in the right place - positive thoughts = positive actions. It will be much easier if you start from that place than if you go into thinking its going to be overwhelming or impossible - it doesn't have to be! Although it was challenging in the beginning, I tried to be positive and focused on what I could do and not what I couldnt. I tried to take my obstacles and turn them into strategies. I focused on the time I could make instead of the time that was taken away. I prioritized and worked on becoming more efficient. And you can too!
I understood every meal wasnt going to be gourmet, and that was OK. I didn't overcomplicate things - I didn't try to cook crazy recipes or fancy meals. I stuck to proteins, veggies and a starch, a fruit/grain or 2nd veggies. Most of my days looked like this:
Green Smoothie or fried eggs over leftovers, overnight steelcut oats with protein powder and fruit/nuts
Salad with leftover protein, leftover veggies, nuts, seeds and a clean dressing or EVO + vinegar + seasonings, topped with healthy fats
Roasted Veggies with an easy protein/beans, or a grain/cauliflower rice bowl with veggies
I wasn't afraid or ashamed to eat breakfast or whatever I wanted for dinner - fried eggs on a bunch of broiled veggies is super delicious and really easy!
Don't be afraid to ask for help
Don't think you have to do it all, ask for help where and when you can. Mine was mostly from my husband, because I didnt have family around. He went right back to work (literally that week) but when he was home I made sure to schedule time for myself to do the things I needed and wanted to do, usually baby free. (workout after the 6 weeks, go for walks, meal prep, etc.)
If you have family and friends asking to help, bring you something etc - ask for what YOU want/need. Do you want them to bring you a certain type of meal or come over and stay with the baby while you shop, cook, eat? Dont be afraid to tell them you want something other than flowers - they want to help and make you hap
Know what your goals are going into it
I knew that I wanted to bounce back ASAP, way before I was postpartum. I ate fairly healthy/nutritious during my whole pregnancy, so it wasnt a huge change after it. (Because you dont really need another huge change with a new baby :) It made it SO much easier. I know I wanted to stick with my routine - and eat well, whether I cooked it or not. If you can make any small changes now to eat more whole, unprocessed foods, I would highly recommend it.
I decided I was not going to use “I just had a baby” for the reason I did anything. I tried to take responsiblity for my actions and made sure they were intentional - regardless of that meant eating pizza out of the box, oatmeal over my sleeping baby or a green smoothie in peace (I did all of those things)
I planned to get takeout more than normal for the first 2-3 weeks, and decided I was going to be OK with it. Ironically, I barely even did. But if you need/want to - I would commit and decide beforehand what you want to do, and pick a few places that offer the types of foods you want to be eating. Are there places where you can pick up salads or bowls a couple days a week? Can you pick up full healthy meals from the grocery store and can your husband (or anyone else) pick them up on their way home? Or, if you decide you are going to eat whatever you want - just be intentional and aware of what you are doing, ideally beforehand, and decide how you want it to last.
Meal Prep and Plan Beforehand
The weeks before going into the hospital (or when you think you will be:)) I double cooked about a weeks worth of meals, and froze them. Things that I could literally just take out and heat up - stir fries, soups, etc. so you dont even have to think about it.
Stock up on the necessities and basics
I stocked up on frozen veggies and and any other frozen (or microwaveable) side dishes (quinoa, rice, cauliflower rice/veggies, mashed sweet / red/white potato, etc.) that could easily be thrown in the microwave, tossed with seasoning and a healthy fat. Done in less than 10 minutes and 99% of the time it tastes great!
Stock up on staples. For me - its spices, canned tomatoes and sauces, frozen veggies, frozen fruits, nuts, nut flours, etc. - the things I know I use regularly especially for thrown together meals. I also bought tons of stuff I could just grab out of the cupboard and feel good about eating - quick snack type stuff that I could piece together to make a “meal” when I was in a pinch. (nuts, dried unsweetened fruit, coconut, chomps sticks, bison bars, etc. - google whole30 store bought snacks for more clean options!)
Get your quick simple recipes together now
I made a list of proteins that could be cooked in 20 minutes or less (broiled salmon was a go to - it is sooo good every time, takes minimal effort and thought, and no prep work) chicken breast/thighs, seared with oil and seasonings and rice or cauliflower rice bowls with different roasted veggies became staples. Crockpot meals and air fryer dishes are great too - ones where you dump the food in, turn a button on and meals make themselves.
I looked up a couple super basic/simple recipes beforehand - that could be on a regular rotation after I came home - things that took under 20 minutes and utilized a basic ingreidnet list.
I came up with some ideas of healthy breakfasts and lunches that would come together in minutes - green smoothies, yogurt with nuts and berries, salads with leftover protein from dinners, etc. etc. and I ate those on repeat, changing up the toppings and ingredients based on what I had. I ate the same things, especially for breakfast and lunch to make it easier.
Post Baby - Making it work!
Make doubles of everything! I always make extra proteins and repurpose them for veggie bowls, salads, breakfast bakes and to go under fried eggs
Give your spouse/significant other/family member or anyone else around some of the simple recipes to make/prep
Broil/roast a ton of veggies at once and use them for everything (my go to - toss with 1-2 T. of avocado, olive or coconut oil, chop small, add seasonings to taste, spread out on parchment covered baking sheet, cook for 20-25 minutes tossing throughout.)
Utilize grocery delivery and pickup services, or even meal prep/delivery if thats in your budget and/or location
Green smoothies became a big staple in my life - you can drink them while holding a baby, and make them while your half asleep
Make time to eat - whatever that looks like. You can put the baby down, and he/she can cry for a couple minutes. They can go in the swing, someone else can hold them, or they can be carried in a wrap while you throw some food together. I didnt have to wait until she napped or was perfectly peaceful to eat. Once you go a million hours with no food (on probbaly hardly any sleep) you are going to eat the first thing in front of you, whether it tastes good or not, whether its nutritious or not.
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