You’ve packed your hospital bag and tricked out the nursery. But one of the most important yet maybe most overlooked areas of birth preparation is thinking about the food you’ll need when you leave the hospital to begin your postpartum healing at home.
(Note that we said “need” and not “eat.” That’s because right on top of the list, we would put frozen peas and green, not red, cabbage—both are highly effective at preventing your breasts from becoming engorged. If you feel like you may be getting engorged, place the frozen pea bags covered in a cloth, or chilled cabbage leaves on your breasts, then take a warm shower. It’s an incredibly effective treatment!)
We spoke to clinical nutritionist Julie Devinsky about what to stock in your refrigerator and pantry to keep you healthy and nourished morning, noon, and at 2 a.m.
*Cuts and pastes into Instacart*
There is no such thing as too much fiber.
Dried apricots and prunes
“Good things to keep on hand for energy and to fight postpartum constipation, which is uncomfortable. A lot of the food you get in the hospital is pretty low in fiber.”
Seed-based crackers, like Ella's Flats or Flackers
“Both are chock-full of fiber and also full of healthy fats, which give you a satiated feeling.”
The thirst is real. And unrelenting.
Flow Collagen-Infused Spring Water
“A really easy way to stay hydrated and get collagen to help repair a lot of the wounds that come from giving birth.”
“Staying hydrated to promote more breast milk production is very important. This is a natural source of electrolytes, especially potassium.”
Juice to freeze in an ice tray and use in water for an extra punch of flavor
“Gives you a little taste of whatever you favorite juice might be without all the sugar that comes along with it. It also just makes drinking water less mundane.”
“Dandelion can be a little bit of a diuretic to help get rid of some of that excess water, excess bloat. And chamomile is very relaxing and soothing.”
Intensely satisfying low-sugar, high-protein snacks.
Homemade trail mix (dark chocolate, almonds, dried cherries)
“Nuts and seeds provide both fat and fiber, which are the two biggest things that will keep you feeling satiated. The dried fruit will provide a little more fiber and that quick energy burst, and the dark chocolate is a great source of iron.”
Energy bites, like Navitas Organics Power Snacks
“This brand is extremely clean, with organic ingredients. And I like that there are no added sugars. With added sugars, you tend to crash and burn, so in the long term, they aren’t quite as satisfying.”
Protein bars with whole ingredients, like Vital Proteins or Primal Kitchen
“Bars are really easy, and for new moms, having something quick is the most realistic thing. These are balanced bars that keep the protein, fiber, and fat content at a good point.”
Crispy chickpeas, like Biena
“A good well-rounded snack for people who don’t always want something sweet.”
Baked cheese snacks, like Whisps
“They have some of the fat from the cheese but also quite a bit of protein, so they’ll give you that steady energy.”
It’s somewhere between 1 and 5 a.m. and you’re famished.
Instant oatmeal bowls, like Purely Elizabeth
“These are great because they come with everything you typically want to top your oatmeal with, so you don’t have to go digging in your pantry or fridge—it’s all in one. They make it easy.”
Dates stuffed with nut butter
“The perfect little bite of food. With the dates, you are getting a little sugar boost, potassium, and fiber, and with the nut butter, you are getting those healthy fats to keep you full through the night.”
“You can drizzle some olive oil in it so that it’s a little more satisfying. Having something warm can be soothing, especially if you are hoping to go back to sleep.”
Plain yogurt (Greek or coconut)
“You can just reach in the fridge, take the top off, and be done. The full-fat varieties can keep you full for a long time.”
It Shouldn’t Be Called Waking Up When You’re This Tired
Complex carbohydrates plus protein plus healthy fat equals energized, happy mama. These aren’t recipes. The last thing you want is a recipe. This is a list of ideas for breakfast that will step in to help when you’ve had less than eight hours of sleep or—who are we kidding—less than two.
- Pasture-raised eggs and avocado toast
- Sweet or savory oatmeal bowl
- Smoked salmon on sourdough
- Plain yogurt (Greek or coconut) with fresh fruit, chopped nuts, and seeds
- Protein smoothie: 1 frozen banana or ½ avocado + ½ cup berries or any fruit you have on hand + 2 tablespoons almond butter + 1 teaspoon coconut oil + 1 or 2 scoops collagen peptides + 1 handful spinach. Blend with about a cup of unsweetened almond milk.
- Anya Energy Tonic
Julie Devinsky is an adviser to Anya.