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Food Prepping is a Must During Pregnancy and Postpartum

by Hannah Chow | April 6, 2015 12:00 AM
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Caring for an infant or simply expecting a child through pregnancy takes lot of energy and focus. The last thing an expectant or new mother needs to worry about is what to make for dinner. Carving out time each week to prepare meals is absolutely necessary when there is more than one person in the household to feed. The ultimate goal for expectant or new mothers is an increase in energy and stamina and food prepping allows for that. Food prepping is an organized version of enjoyable leftovers that will carry you and your family through an entire week.

How Does Food Prepping Work?

Set aside four hours on your day off. One hour for grocery shopping and three hours for cooking. This way, instead of spending one hour each day in the kitchen for cooking and cleaning up, you only have to spend four hours on your day off with one clean up session. If you maintain a Monday thru Friday workweek, start with Sunday. so that your prepped food can be freshest for a Monday thru Friday workweek. Freeze meals for the later part of week since most meals are good for two or three days. There are two options:

Option number one is to food prep everything on Sunday (or any other day you are free), place half of the meals in your freezer and half in the refrigerator.

Option number two is to food prep on Sunday and Wednesday (or any day you are free plus three days later). In this case, all meals can go into the refrigerator. It's important to vary your menu week to week so you don't get bored. Always stick with the basics though, one protein, one vegetable, and one carbohydrate.

Food prepping is a huge money saver. Instead of ordering out every night, you can easily grab a healthy meal from the refrigerator, reheat, and enjoy. Each meal made at home versus ordering out can save you up to 0 per month. According to Steven Gortmaker during an interview with Havard Magazine, "Thirty percent of American children age four to nineteen eat fast food, and older and wealthier ones eat even more. Overall, seven percent of the U.S. population visits McDonald's each day, and twenty to twenty-five percent eat in some kind of fast-food restaurant."

Food prepping saves time, money, and it's convenient, three important necessities in life from pregnancy to postpartum. Most importantly, you will not be making unnecessary trips to fast food restaurants for fat-saturated meals.

Portion Control

Individually package all the meals in the proportions that you feel fit your body. Rose Clifford, RD, clinical dietitian in the department of pharmacy services at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC says, "three ounces of cooked meat, fish, or poultry is about the size of a deck of cards. Other easy measurements to eyeball: one cup is the size of a tennis ball and one ounce is the size of a domino." If you do not have a food scale and are used to eating five or six small meals per day, keep track by making sure each meal is the size of your fist.

Keeping a Tidy Workspace

Before your trip to the grocery store, prepare your kitchen for an afternoon of cooking by making sure it's nice and tidy. Some mothers prefer to clean the kitchen afterwards and that's acceptable too. According to Dennis Thompson Jr., "a messy house can add to those feelings of depression. Once the mess gets too large and chaotic, people with depression can't imagine how to begin tackling the household duties. Lay out all your pots and pans, start with a clean kitchen."

Food Prepping with Children

Food Prepping is a chore children can help with too. If you have children, allow them to set out all the plastic food containers and divide the protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates into each one. If the task is too much for them, simply invest in a step stool so they can watch you while you prepare the meals yourself. Maybe they will enjoy watching the process and be more willing to help out when they get older.

If you like the idea of making your own baby food, you can start food prepping baby food when your child is 4-6 months. According to Gina Shaw with WebMD, "between the ages of 4 and 6 months, most babies are developmentally ready to get their first taste of solid foods. At this point, they lose the extrusion reflex that is beneficial for sucking a breast or bottle but can shove a spoonful of baby cereal right back out."

Making meals last minute can be frustrating. You may not have the right ingredients and one meal can take longer than expected. All of this frustration might lead to giving up and poor eating choices. Start with a plan and prepare your meals in advance to prevent aggravation. Food prepping is the easiest way to keep your life simple, maintain an organized kitchen, and save money. With just four hours a week, one can expect to eat healthier meals, have higher energy levels, and increased stamina, all essential factors in caring for your expectant self or a newborn.

Hannah Chow is a lifestyle blogger who resides in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband, Allan Chow, and their pug, Brutus. Hannah has a B.A. in English from the University of Missouri in Kansas City. She takes all things in good humor and has pride in being perceptive and communicative.

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