Eating well as a new mum
I remember so clearly when I was around 35 weeks pregnant, talking about what life would be like on maternity leave to a friend. I (secretly and regrettably) sneered at colleagues who said they came to work for a break – how could work possibly be more demanding than looking after a little baby?!
I fantasised about only eating vegetables I’d grown myself, cooking like a chef everyday meal of everyday and never having a take-away again, because “Hey? I’d have loads of time when I’m not working, right?’
Then along came Ethan and taking a shower became a priority in my free time, nurturing vegetables slipped down the priority list (I did manage some, about two plates full).
A week after birth, the euphoria subsided and I began to understand my hopes had been in vain. I was still trying to shush Ethan to sleep for the fourth time at around 9.30pm and I still hadn’t had any dinner. I was ravenous. Getting over hungry for me, more often than not leads to poor choices – a frozen pizza being my fall back option on tired, grey nights.
How to make eating well easier
I decided to do four things to help alleviate the ‘frozen pizza’ scenario:
1. Set up a regular online shopping reminder so I’d be less likely to run out of fresh fruit and vegetables
2. Stock up. I stocked my freezer with a tonne of favour boosters like grated chilli, pesto cubes, chopped ginger and garlic, green herbs like coriander and sliced lemons and limes. I also stocked my most accessible kitchen cupboard shelf with lovely jars of nuts and seeds great for sprinkling on dishes such as salads, but also great for a ready to go snack. It’s amazing what a difference it makes to open your cupboard and have something healthy staring you in the face rather than your secret stash of chocolate. You are already half way helped into making a good food choice by location alone!
3. Keep a cute paper pad on my kitchen worktop with a tonne of recipes that are quick and uncomplicated to make and importantly a. require MINIMAL washing up and basic cooking equipment (for example, no food processor). b. are made from everyday ingredients that are regularly in my fridge that I love
Pinterest is great for this, but I find this old school method even easier and there’s something I really love about writing in a nice note pad.
4. Where possible, every meal I make, I make as much as possible to save cooking for the next day’s meal and again, save on washing up (…there’s a recurring theme here)
5. Meal plan – I know this sounds basic, but honestly, when I’ve decided what I’m going to have for a meal and its something delicious, I’m so much more likely not to fill up on snacks beforehand or grab something ‘easy’ when I’m out and about
To inspire you and get you on your way, here are my 22 lunch and dinner ideas from my kitchen worktop pad:
22 easy and healthy lunch and dinner ideas
So here goes, my favourite, easy healthy recipes for lunch and dinner:
1. Mango, avocado, sugar snap peas & chicken salad – top with cashew nuts and a honey and lime dressing
2. Chicken, cous cous, avocado and grilled veg
3. Steamed baby jersey potatoes, kale and cod with roasted butternut squash – top with sundried tomatoes
4. Turkey poached with coriander, ginger and spring onion – serve with sweet potato and Cavolo Nero cabbage
5. Quinoa and spicy cous cous – top with chicken, avocado, spring onion and grilled tomatoes
6. Broccoli, feta, pea, mint and bulgar wheat salad
7. Indian spiced smashed cauliflower with eggs baked in portobello mushrooms
8. Asparagus, poached eggs, baked sweet potato – top with chilli
9. Chickpea, rocket, flaxseed and Parma ham salad
10. Falafel and roasted veg with hummus and grated carrot
11. Baked courgette sprinkled with garlic, thyme and fennel – serve with steak
12. Cannelloni beans with bacon, onion – serve in whole grilled peppers
13. Chorizo, carrot and chicken tray bake with kale
14. Honey topped figs with rocket, prosciutto and mozzarella
15. Courgette, asparagus and hazelnut salad with watercress, spinach and rocket
16. Sweet potato, kale, chilli, mushroom and feta omelette
17. Beets, walnut, rocket and goats cheese salad
18. Teriyaki chicken and chilli salad with ribbon cucumber, sesame seeds and brown pitta
19. Broad beans, pesto, asparagus and chicken salad
20. Wilted spinach topped with nutmeg and cayenne pepper served with pine nuts and ricotta
21. Red pepper, onion and potato omelette with asparagus topping
22. Sweet potato tray bake with red onion, chorizo, garlic and rosemary
Got more healthy eating dinner & lunch ideas?
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