Postpartum Food Preparation: Practical Matters
Two or three times a week, take an hour's time to prepare foods for easy cooking. Hand baby over to Dad and cook, chop, dice, and store some basics (or have Dad handle the kitchen chores):
- Hard-boil a half-dozen eggs, peel off the shells, and store them in a plastic container.
- Wash and cut up raw vegetables such as beets, bell peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber, jicama, and radishes, and store them in plastic containers in the refrigerator. These are great for snacks or for quick salad preparation.
- Wash and remove the ribs and stems from chard, collards, kale, spinach, and/or other greens. Keep these in airtight plastic bags in the fridge. Then, when you want to add cooked greens to a meal, you can pour them right into your stir-fry pan with a few tablespoons of water, a dash of olive oil, some tamari, and as much garlic as you like, and allow the greens to cook until soft.
- Cut up leeks, onions, scallions, yellow squash, and/or zucchini and store the pieces in plastic containers for steaming, stir-frying, or use in soups. You can freeze most vegetables.
- If you like winter squash, cut them in half, scoop out any seeds, and roast face up in a baking pan filled a half-inch up with water, in a 425°F oven for about an hour. You can chop up apples or nuts to put in the middle. Then you can either scoop the flesh out of the skin and eat it right away, store the cooked squash in an airtight plastic container to eat later, or blend it with vegetable or chicken broth to make soup.
- Keep your salad spinner filled with washed baby greens, Boston (Bibb) lettuce, or romaine.
- Cook asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and/or garnet yams ahead of time and keep them in the refrigerator for a cold meal or snack. (You may not be able to imagine eating baked yams without marshmallows but try them split open hot with a pat of butter or some olive oil, some prepared garlic right out of the jar, and a dash of soy sauce inside.) Chilled steamed vegetables are great in salads.
- Divide fresh fish into 3-ounce portions about the size of a deck of cards. Freeze individual portions wrapped in wax paper and sealed in airtight plastic bags. (Fish must be frozen in sealed airtight containers or it will go bad.) You can later move them into the refrigerator on the morning of the day you plan to have fish for dinner, or quick-thaw an individual portion in a bowl of warm water for an hour before you cook it. Freeze boneless chicken breasts in individual portions as well, or roast a whole free-range chicken and keep in the refrigerator. You can pull some meat from it to add to salads or soups, or to make a sandwich.
- Keep whole grains in glass canning jars with easy-to-read labels. Also keep nuts and seeds in clearly labeled glass jars. Toasted pumpkinseeds or walnuts are especially good additions to salad, and both are rich sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). You can toast them in a dry skillet over low heat, stirring often until you can smell the toastiness or the seeds begin to pop. Or spread them on a baking sheet and toast them in a preheated 250°F oven for about ten minutes.
More on: Adjusting to New Motherhood
From A Natural Guide to Pregnancy and Postpartum Health by Dean Raffelock, Robert Rountree, and Virginia Hopkins with Melissa Block. Copyright © 2002 by Dr. Dean Raffelock. Used by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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