I have never known hunger like postpartum hunger. Sure, I grazed my way through pregnancy like a free range cow mowing down a field of clover, but nothing really prepared me for the bone-deep, gnawing need for food in those first weeks after my son was born. Coupled with sleep deprivation and hormonal fluctuations, it’s a wonder I didn’t chew my husband’s head off. For many reasons.

These recipes are good and good for you. Nourish your body and please your palate with these treats that can be prepared by your mom, your cousin, your neighbor, your friend who drops by to hold your baby, the UPS guy, or anyone else who darkens your doorstep. You’re recuperating. Let them help you!*

avocadoIf you hanker for a fresh taste of summer,  smitten kitchen’s obsessively good avocado cucumber salad is fast, easy, and can be prepped with infinite variations to suit your mood or fridge contents. Plus, the evidence is unequivocal: avocado and cucumber are good for you, and might be just what your body needs in the early stages of childbirth recovery. Or sleep regressions. Or Thursdays. Hat tip to Mrs. Stroller for alerting me to this tasty dish.

Also for avocado lovers: this rice corn avocado salad. The combination of flavors and textures can’t be beat — salty, sweet, tart, creamy, and crunchy. Don’t be put off by the macrobiotic label, because this dish is delicious and simple, especially if you let Trader Joe’s pre-cook the rice and pre-roast the almonds. Go ahead and substitute frozen corn for the cobs.  I won’t tell.

Muffins are a brilliant way to support a new mom; they freeze well so they can be made ahead in big batches and defrosted in smaller quantities, they can be stuffed with nutrient-dense extras like carrots, pumpkin, or flax without sacrificing flavor, and they can be eaten one-handed in a variety of on-the-go scenarios. If you’re breastfeeding, these banana chocolate chip lactation muffins will boost your supply when your milk comes in. If you crave lemon even half as much as I did, these Tuscan lemon-ricotta or Isle au Haut lemon-blueberry dealies will soothe the beast within. For a savory delight, these pumpkin feta spinach muffins are amazing, even with just the humble canned pumpkin in place of roasted squash.

There are, of course, times when even defrosting a muffin takes too long. Try to have a few things on hand for those moments when food just needs to get in your face NOW:

  • An apple with peanut butter
  • Baby carrots with hummus
  • Cheese and crackers. Forget the knife. Just bite off a hunk of cheddar and toss that block back in the fridge. Slicing is overrated.
  • Almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and/or pumpkin seeds
  • Ice cream. Let’s be real.
  • Granola bars, Luna bars, Lara bars, etc. — stash them in each room of the house, in the diaper bag, in the stroller pockets, in your purse, in the glove box of your car…then be your own heroine when you discover them later, ravenous.

 

* I can’t stress this enough: when someone asks you what you need for the baby, tell them you need food, delivered to your door, in containers you don’t need to keep track of or return. There are a number of sites that will allow one person to easily organize a meal schedule that can include anyone who wants to help (MealTrain, Lotsa Helping Hands, and Take Them A Meal, to name a few). Let people feed you. Meal trains are love manifest, and when you find yourself devouring cold lasagna by the light of the open refrigerator door at 3 a.m., the last thing you need is to worry about what you’re going to eat tomorrow. Let someone else figure it out.