It can be tough to eat well with a new baby, so skip the ordinary unhealthy snacks and head for some handy alternatives
In those hazy first few weeks after your baby is born, when sleep is a distant memory, you’ll need to keep your energy levels up. A hungry baby doesn’t know the difference between day and night, which means that for a while you might not either – so some carefully chosen snacks could give you the boost you need between regular meals. While you’ll probably be surrounded by cakes and biscuits from visiting well wishers (thanks mum) it’s a good idea to make sure some of your snacks are going to last longer than a quick sugar rush. Here are a few snack ideas for those moments when you need a little pick-me-up.
1. Midnight feeds
Night feeds can be tough on new parents, especially if you struggle to get back to sleep afterwards. As well as a jug of water to stay hydrated, you could take a few healthy snacks to bed to munch on in the small hours. A banana is ideal as it’s easy to eat with one hand and of course takes zero prep. You could also try slices of apple or celery sticks, a couple of crackers, or yoghurt as long as you’re not lactose intolerant. Just make sure you don’t have anything too sweet though, as it might keep you awake when you should be catching up on some sleep. Whatever you decide to put in your midnight feast, you can always put in a lunchbox by your bed to stop it drying out overnight.
2. Speedy snacks
Keeping your baby happy is now at the top of your to-do list – but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the rest of the list if going to disappear. If you’ve got a stack of dirty laundry to sort and the house is a mess, a quick snack could be just the thing to spur you on to get it sorted before your baby needs another feed. Alternatively, you might just take those few quiet moments to stick on Netflix… Either way, protein-packed hummus is your friend. It’s quick and easy to make your own dip but why would you when you’re tired and the shop-bought pots are just as delicious.
3. Holding the baby
For those times when you’re breastfeeding or holding a sleeping baby in your arms, you’re going to need a snack you can grab and eat with one hand. Fruit is always good – opt for something you don’t need to peel like an apple or pear – plus they have the added bonus of fibre to help keep your digestion on track. Or if you have the energy and get a moment to cook whilst the little one sleeps, you could bake some crispy kale chips. Unlike ordinary crisps, you’ll be in charge of how much salt is going on them, which is handy when you’re trying to eat better. They’ll keep in an airtight container for up to three days so you can munch on them when you get that crisp craving.
4. Out & about
After what feels like hours of planning, you’ve finally managed to get yourself and your little one out of the house – when you suddenly realise you’re exhausted from all that preparation and want to go home again. It happens. Unfortunately it’s all too easy to forget your own needs so make sure you pack yourself a snack amongst all the baby bits and pieces. Try some dried fruit like apricots or a zippy plastic bag filled with some salted popcorn – perfect when you’re on the go. If the weather is good, stop on a bench and enjoy your well-earned snack and give yourself a pat on the back for making it out into the world in one piece. Victory.
5. Tasty treats
Sometimes, you just want to be you for a bit. Take precious moments of peace to scroll through your Facebook or Instagram feed and remember – oh yes – the outside world is still eating loads and loads of avocados. Mashed avocado on toast makes a great post-pregnancy snack and thanks to its buttery, comforting texture it feels pretty indulgent too. It can be prepared quickly with just a fork and a squeeze of lemon juice or for an instant pick-me-up, add some chilli for a spicy guacamole. If you really need a sweet burst, opt for a few squares of dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids – it’s a good source of iron and magnesium and usually not as high in sugar as milk chocolate. And sometimes, just give yourself a treat. You’ve earned it.
Always be aware of your own allergies and if your breastfeeding, you should check HSE advice to make sure your diet is on track.