As you may have known, I gave birth to my first child, Avery Vaughn, on May 19 this year. Motherhood is, of course, world-changing. Intellectually, I could have told you that before Avery was born. But going through the experience myself has been a next-level transformation.
Since everything is all about Avery, all of the time, I have to find ways to look after my own health while still dedicating ever moment to my child.
And one of the biggest challenges is to continue to eat well, and eat regularly, while being a new mom. So we’re not doing any super-complex, multi-step, multi-course meals here. We’re focusing on healthy things we can almost literally throw together and consume while keeping all of our focus on our son.
Take these ideas and create a grocery list of tasty, versatile ingredients. I like to keep our house well stocked with greens, nuts, oats, and fruit (especially dried fruits and those that can be frozen).
Overnight oats tick so many health-meal boxes for new moms. They’re simple. You can prepare them beforehand so they’re ready when you need them. They’re filling and high-fiber. And they’re endlessly customizable, so you can get the flavors you’re craving and change them up so you won’t get sick of them.
The basic idea behind overnight oats is just two ingredients: whole-grain oats and a milk (or milk-adjacent drink) of your choice. Throw those two things together and let them sit in the fridge for a few hours, and the oats will absorb the liquid and soften to an appealing consistency.
But of course, you want flavor and additional nutrients, too. That’s where your endless options really come in. You can sweeten with honey, sugar or maple syrup. You can add nut butter or chia seeds. You can add fresh fruit or frozen fruit or dried fruit. And if you’re really feeling fancy, you can use spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.
Smoothies are similarly straightforward, but you can chuck them together whenever you don’t have anything else already prepared.
You can choose your favorite milk or even yogurt, or you can just use ice. You can use fresh fruit or frozen. And you can fill out your smoothie nutritionally with greens like spinach or kale. You get your roughage in a glass.
Salads are also great for keeping it simple and customizable. In their most basic form, a salad is just a bunch of veggies, nuts and fruits tossed in a bowl. Voila.
For a more substantial meal, I’ve been topping my salads with salmon. Salmon is easy to cook on the stove or in the oven, and it cooks quickly. Plus, when you’re feeling fancy, salmon works well with strong flavors like teriyaki or even honey mustard.
Sautéed Veggies and Protein
This is about as complex as we get right now, but it’s still good to have a meal that feels somewhat “special” and “grownup” every now and then—while continuing to meet our nutritional needs.
Just pick a veggie that you like cooked—green beans, for instance—and add a little seasoning like garlic and salt, and maybe a splash of lemon to brighten it up. Pair it with a protein of your choice, and you’re good to go in less than 20 minutes. For new moms, this is the height of fancy dining.