Planning ahead and being prepared is really the trick here. There is nothing more disappointing than getting to the kitchen for a cuppa and a nice lunch while baby sleeps, only to peer into an empty fridge. By keeping a few store-cupboard and fridge staples to hand you can hopefully avoid that.
So what should you put on your own shopping list?
- Fresh eggs
- Lots of fresh fruit
- Fresh and frozen vegetables
- Tinned fish
- Low-fat dairy products
- Wholegrain bread
- Porridge oats and high-fibre cereals
- Baked beans
- Lean, cooked meats from the deli counter
- Small fruit cake or wholemeal scones
Packed full of nutrition, you can always rustle up something to eat with fresh eggs in the kitchen
Packed full of nutrition, you can always rustle up something to eat with fresh eggs in the kitchen. Try these options:
- Poached eggs on wholegrain toast.
- A quick omelette, adding cheese, tomatoes, herbs, mushrooms, ham or whatever your particular favourite topping is.
- Soft boiled eggs and some wholegrain toast.
- Hard boiled eggs can be kept in the fridge to chop onto a salad of tomato, scallions, cucumber and fresh lettuce leaves with a drizzle of dressing.
Lots of fresh fruit
Choose your favourites and try to eat at least 3 pieces of fruit a day (and a couple of vegetables too – they are next on your list). What about adding some more exotic fruits such as passion fruit (great scooped out over a chopped banana or a fruit salad for extra zing) or a ripe mango? These flavours will satisfy a sweet craving without resorting to chocolate bars or your biscuit tin and they are much lower in calories and bursting with nutrition. Try it, you just may be hooked.
We all know they are good for us but we sometimes can be a little lazy about trying new types or cooking them in different ways, right? And in a few months time you will probably be buying all sorts of exotic vegetables to make purees for your baby – why not start being a little more adventurous now? Throw a tray of colourful peppers and root vegetables in the oven drizzled with a little olive oil and some fresh herbs – this is delicious for dinner or to eat cold with some meats the next day. And keep some salad vegetables in the fridge – they always make a sandwich much more interesting and enticing. And don’t forget frozen vegetables – a great stand-by to up the fibre and vitamin content of your meal.
If you are a fan of tinned salmon, tuna or sardines, make sure you always have a couple of tins on standby. In a couple of minutes you can have a healthy snack or lunch on your plate – a tuna melt on wholemeal toast with bubbling melted cheese on top or a tinned salmon sandwich with salad will keep you going till dinner time. And most tinned fish are a rich source of fish oils which are good for your heart and good for baby too if you are breastfeeding. Check the label to see which brands are high in fish oils (or Omega-3 fats) – the oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines tend to be the best.
Low-fat dairy products
Choose to fill your fridge with a range of low-fat dairy foods to ensure you will get enough calcium everyday but not too much fat. Calcium is vital for good, strong bones and teeth – and for your baby’s too if you are breastfeeding. Choosing low-fat means you can have all of the taste with, in many cases, just half the fat, perfect for helping you to regain your pre-pregnancy shape. So choose low-fat or 0% fat milk ( one with extra vitamins added is even better so check the labels); go for low-fat or diet yogurts to add to chopped fruit or just to enjoy as a snack on their own and choose lower fat cheese – edam, gouda and brie type cheeses are lower in fat than cheddar. Cream cheese, as it’s name suggests, has added cream so is higher in fat and is also low in calcium.
Try to get into the habit of eating wholegrain bread more often than white: the extra fibre it contains is important for your digestive system, keeping everything healthy and working well. Generally, the more seeds, grains and nuts in the bread the better in terms of how much fibre it has.
Porridge oats & high fibre cereals
These are a great stand-by to have in the cupboard, not only for breakfast time. Porridge is an old family favourite and for good reason – it is low in fat and full of wholegrains. A bowl of porridge in the morning will help you to feel full for longer and reduce the urge to snack on tea and biscuits. And if you really don’t feel like cooking some evening, and have no one on hand to do it for you, a warming bowl of porridge can pack a nutritious punch and be ready in minutes. Remember, you will get back to your routine in time but, for now, a bowl of porridge for supper is not a bad idea at all. Granola or muesli are great examples of other high fibre cereal snacks you can have at any time of the day. Mix them up with warm low fat milk, fruits and/or yogurt for that extra kick, deliciously healthy.
They come in a tin and most children love them so they can’t be good for you, right? No, wrong… Baked beans are a great standby as they are low-fat and are very high in fibre. Heat them through in a couple of minutes and spoon them onto a slice of wholegrain toast or a baked potato for a low-fat, nutritious meal in minutes.
Lean, cooked meats
It is good to have some sliced meats in the fridge when you feel like a sandwich and it is worth planning ahead to get these from your supermarket or delicatessen shop. Rushing to the local 24 hour convenience shop will usually only result in a packet of highly processed meat that may not always be so appetising. However, choosing some lean turkey slices, sliced before your eyes in the deli, or some baked ham with a golden honey crust freshly sliced is preferable – add some wholemeal rolls, tomato and cucumber and a dash of relish for a very tasty lunch. So plan ahead to have some good quality cold meats to hand.
Small fruit cake or wholemeal scones
When you feel like something sweet to enjoy while your new baby takes an afternoon nap, go for something which will give you a nutrition boost too. Good quality fruit cake is bursting with juicy sultanas and raisins, a source of energy, iron and fibre, and a wholemeal scone with fruit jam will top up your daily fibre intakes and give you a nutritious energy boost. So choose wisely and leave the cream filled sponges and chocolate bars behind.
If you would like some more ideas for snacks contact our Careline, we have lots of ideas to share with you.