When it comes to culture, its best component could arguably be the food, and what’s fascinating is that even within just one “culture,” there is so much variety; it is all so delicious, ranging from staple meals and snacks to holiday foods and specialty delights. In some cultures, such as the Korean culture (the inspiration and foundation for our holistic postpartum care), there are even certain dishes designed to help new mothers replenish their lost nutrients and build strength to bounce back after giving birth.
So, in highlighting the importance of postpartum nutrition, we’ve curated a list of meals that are full of nutrients and vitamins to help you recover in the postpartum phase -and even better, these are meals that can be easily made in bulk (think minimal ingredients and steps), frozen for a time, and heated back up in a pinch to be enjoyed in its original, delicious perfection at any moment. Given the insanity of the first few weeks in motherhood, we recommend preparing these meals ahead of birth, or enlisting the help of your partner and support system to ensure that you’re fully stocked before the insanity begins! Remember, it is essential that you take care of yourself first and foremost.
Nationally acknowledged in South Korea as the “birth soup,” Miyeokguk (or Seaweed Soup, as directly translated into English), is lovingly prepared in potfuls and fed to those who’ve just given birth, up to three times a day for a whole month. Moreover, this soup is ceremoniously consumed on birthdays by children and adults alike, in memory of their mothers consuming the soup after giving birth to them. The truth behind this transition is that miyeok, or seaweed, is basically the superfood to end all superfoods; this sea vegetable is full of calcium that helps to prevent bone loss usually associated with pregnancy and childbirth, iodine to help develop the child’s brain, fiber to reduce constipation, iron to prevent anemia, and omega-3s; it can also help with metabolism, blood circulation, lactation, and bowel movement. To sum it all up, not only will this dish help you recover, but it will also provide many of the nutrients you need after giving birth, allowing you to also pass on a more fortified milk supply to the quickly-developing baby. However, note that some types of seaweed can be high in iodine levels, which may be dangerous for you and the baby--so it’s important to double check the nutrition labels before purchasing. The recipe we chose to share is made with beef in the traditional way, but its chicken and vegetarian versions can be equally as delicious. If you choose to keep this soup in the fridge for quicker consumption, it can be stored for up to four days in an airtight container.
Recipe Makes: 2-3 Servings
Prep Time: 90 min.
Freeze & Reheat: If you’re stocking up, divide the soup into single portions in ziplock bags and place in the freezer flat. When you’re ready, place one or two of the frozen bags into your kitchen sink filled with room temperature water. Let the soup defrost until it is liquid again, then pour the package into a pot and heat on low until it reaches the desired temperature.
As simple as oats may seem, there are so many benefits to eating oats that you may wonder how so much got into something so little. Compared to many other grains, oats are full of protein and fat, minerals, nutrients, carbohydrates, fiber, and antioxidants. With these nutritious qualities, oats can help lower cholesterol levels, improve blood sugar, help you stay full, and aid in a good night's sleep.
For the moms who just had the event of a lifetime–labor–oats are a nutritious, filling meal perfect to indulge in while you swaddle your little one. Not only will a warm bowl of oats soothe and relax your body, but they will help build up your stamina post-birth, assist with any possible constipation occurring, and can help boost your milk supply if you plan on breastfeeding. This recipe includes chia seeds, which are a hefty source of protein, and ginger, which is loaded with antioxidants.
Recipe Makes: 6 servings
Prep Time: 60 min.
Freeze & Reheat: This congee can easily be frozen in ½ cup portions in zip tight, freezer-safe bags. To reheat, add one or two ½ cup portions to a pot with a splash of water or milk and heat on low for about 5 minutes.
The great thing about this dish is that you can add anything to it to cater to your cravings that day. From peanut butter, to brown sugar, frozen fruit, and even chocolate chips, feel free to shake things up with the hearty base!
Eggs, eggs, oh glorious eggs. It’s safe to say that when it comes to meeting your daily nutritional requirements–especially as a mom in the fourth trimester–eggs are pretty hard to beat (pun intended). A serving of eggs provides a bulk of your vitamin D, folate, B2, Omega 3s, and selenium that you need daily. Eggs not only have these powerful nutrients, but are a fantastic source of protein that can help repair muscle and tissue. Furthermore, eggs are super filling and with the combination of all of their nutritional values can help reduce the risk of anxiety and depression.
In postpartum, eggs are your best friend. While not only filling and rich with nutrients and proteins your body needs after labor, they are also generally affordable and can easily be cooked in bulk–and fast! In the recipe below, the frittatas are made with spinach, a leafy green that supports your immune system, and sweet potatoes, which contains lots of vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, and fiber.
Recipe Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 40 min.
Freeze & Reheat: To freeze, make sure the mini frittatas are cooled completely. Then, wrap each frittata in cling wrap or tin foil. Then place them all into a freezer-safe bag. To reheat, remove from the freezer and let it thaw, then warm in the oven at 375*F for three to five minutes, or until the desired temperature.
Whether you're a vegetable lover, meat connoisseur, or vegan, this recipe can be altered to your liking with your favorite vegetables, savory breakfast sausage, and even vegan eggs and cheese. The options are truly endless with this recipe, which makes it the perfect, easy breakfast or midday snack for any mom.
You didn’t think we’d do this article without a slow cooker meal, did you? Pulled pork is a classic slow-cooked meal that takes a minimal amount of effort for a maximum amount of flavor. Even more so, you’ll be smelling this all day as it cooks in your kitchen. With this one, you can spend as much time doing whatever you please and be able to come back to a hearty meal ready for you with ease.
For our fourth trimester ladies out there, pork is a fantastic source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, and zinc. Pork being filled with these vitamins and nutrients aids with blood cell formation and brain function, helps build and maintain muscles and performances in daily bodily taste and movements. Overall, pork can help rejuvenate one’s energy and assist new moms to avoid any possible onset of anemia.
Recipe Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 90 min. - 7 hours
With this easy–though long–recipe, you can make this in the morning and have it cook all day while you go to work, nurture your newborn, or just relax until it’s ready for dinner. Pulled pork is one of those staples that can be served with a variety of options. Sandwiched between a brioche bun, wrapped in lettuce, alongside your favorite vegetables, or even atop a salad, you can eat this slow-cooked, delicious pork with anything you please (our favorite is adding some pasta) –and even by itself!
Freeze & Reheat: Luckily, meats tend to freeze and reheat well. The trick is to keep this pulled pork as juicy and delicious as it was the first time you cooked it. First, let the pork cool completely, then portion out an amount suitable for your needs and wrap in cling wrap. Once wrapped, place all portions in a freezer-safe bag, and ensure that any excess air has been pushed or vacuum sealed out. To reheat, place a bag or two in the refrigerator to let thaw the night before. Then, place the portions right back into your slow cooker! Add some extra apple cider vinegar, water, or soy sauce to the pot in order to ensure that the pork is absolutely delicious.
I’m not sure about you, but pancakes are our go-to breakfast, lunch, or dinner fix, and so easy to make and easy to eat any time of the day. And the best thing about them? They can be made savory or sweet! This recipe here combines the sweetness of a banana and the delicious nuttiness of your favorite peanut butter. A classic combination that is not to be missed out on.
Feel free to use the exact recipe below or spruce up your the premix that’s in your pantry; pancakes in general contain a lot of carbs–which may seem daunting at first–but carbs actually help fuel your brain and body to be able to get through whatever the day will throw at you. Depending on the type of flour and milk you use when making pancakes, they can provide a great amount of your daily intake of iron and calcium. These help keep your immune system healthy, strengthen your bones, and assist in nerves’ and muscles’ proper function. The peanut butter in this recipe provides a rich source of protein, and the bananas are a great source of potassium, which helps maintain fluid levels in the body and regulates the movement of nutrients in and out of your cells.
Recipe Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 min.
While topping and filling your pancakes with bananas and peanut butter is a great way to go, feel free to switch it up. Swap the peanut butter for almond butter, and bananas for blueberries! Sprinkle a spoonful of protein power, a glaze of honey, cottage cheese, lemon zest–whatever your heart desires and your body craves.
Freeze & Reheat: The neat thing about pancakes is that you can freeze the batter or the pancakes themself for later use! To freeze the batter, pour the mixture into a ziplock bag or freezer-safe container and place in the freezer flat. When you wish to cook up some cakes, dethaw the mixture on your counter until liquid. Pro Tip: if you freeze in a ziplock bag, you can just cut one of the corners off of the bag and easily pour into your pan, no spoons or messes here! To freeze cooked pancakes, layer each cake in between a sheet of wax paper and place inside a ziplock bag. To reheat, preheat your oven to 350*F and place on a baking sheet with a tinfoil covering the pancakes in order to keep all of the moisture in. Cook for about ten minutes, or until they are the desired temperature.
The fourth trimester can be strenuous in so many ways. Combatting any stresses can be done by filling your stomach with delicious and nutritious meals. Above are five great meals you can have any time of day, make in bulk, freeze, and reheat for the next time you have a hankering for something yummy! Make this time easy on yourself with simple, but effective meals for the mind and body.