Updated: Oct 19
A nutritional diet during pregnancy and postpartum is essential for the health of you and your baby. With all the excitement and exhaustion that a newborn brings, we know that meal planning can get put on the back burner. That's why we connected with Karin Evans, a registered dietitian nutritionist with 20 years of experience, about simple meal ideas during this special time.
Each of these meals can be thrown together in advance, frozen for later, and eaten with one hand. We also highly encourage you to set up a meal train plan with family and friends and ask for gift cards to your favorite restaurants. Your loved ones want to help you during this crucial time, and this is one of the easiest and most impactful ways they can help you focus on resting and bonding with your new baby.
Meals for Your 3rd Trimester
Breakfast: Overnight Oats
Why? Overnight oats are easy to make, packed with fiber, will keep you full, and provide you a lot of “bang for your buck” nutrient-wise
Tips on preparing: Fill a jar with one cup of old fashioned oats, mix in honey, cinnamon, chia seeds, a scoop of peanut butter, and cover the contents of the jar with water or milk and put it in the fridge. The next morning, stir in your favorite fruit on top, and enjoy! So easy, delicious, and chock full of energy and nutrients.
Lunch: Chicken salad
Why? Good source or protein, can be mixed with a variety of add-ins to increase variety of nutrients
Tips on preparing: Mix cubed chicken (leftover rotisserie chicken works well) with mayonnaise (or avocado), add in grape halves, celery, apple, and almond slices for texture and fiber. For a change from the typical sandwich, instead of bread, add in cold pasta as a starch.
Dinner: Salmon, Rice, and Green Beans
Why? This gives a nice balance of nutrients, while not overwhelming mom’s digestive system with things that may aggravate heartburn or reflux
Tips on preparing: Make rice per instructions (or select rice packets that can be microwaved for 90 seconds). Defrost frozen green beans per instructions. Mix rice with green beans, add a pat of butter and almond slivers. Baked salmon recipe here.)
“I encourage my moms to think about eating small frequent meals/snacks during the 3rd & 4th trimester."
"Often times in the 3rd trimester, a lot of moms are struggling with heartburn/reflux as well as early satiety due to the almost full grown fetus taking up a lot of “real estate” in the uterus."
"This pushes on the stomach, not leaving much room for a lot of food and fluid at once. If mom has heartburn, encouraging the last meal/snack of the day to be 1.5-2 hours before bed is a good rule of thumb,“ Karin said.
Meals for Your 4th Trimester
Breakfast: Frozen homemade egg sandwiches
Why? This gives essential nutrients for mom as she heals, supporting nursing if she is, and satisfies hunger.
Tips on preparing: Prepare scrambled eggs (add tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, shredded cheese, etc), prepare bacon/sausage. Make an egg sandwich using an English muffin/bagel. Put in the refrigerator to cool, wrap in saran wrap, then aluminum foil, and freeze.
Lunch: Turkey and swiss cheese sandwich
Why?: Focusing on balanced nutrition, while incorporating variety
Tips on preparing: Select turkey and cheese of preference. Put turkey and cheese into a pita with hummus. Add lettuce, onion, tomato per preference.
Dinner: Chicken Tacos (Grilled or Shredded)
Why? Provides an excellent balance of carbohydrate, protein, fat, including fiber. Easy one pot meal. Leftovers can be reheated the next day or frozen.
Tips on preparing:
2-3 skinless chicken breasts
1 package taco seasoning
8 oz salsa
1 can black beans
10 oz frozen corn
Put all into a crockpot and cook on low until the chicken is tender and can be shredded. Scoop into a bowl, add cheese and sour cream if desired, pair with tortilla chips.
“In the 4th trimester, new moms are balancing significant responsibilities, mentally, emotionally, and physically."
"Having a meal may be tough, especially if they are the ones primarily responsible for feeding the newborn. So again, I encourage new moms to eat small frequent meals until more of a routine can be established. New moms encounter so much (especially first timers), feeding themselves tends to fall low on the list of priorities. By giving themselves small, frequent meals, it maintains consistent energy intake without a lot of pressure/planning/thinking.”
-Cheese (mozzarella cheese sticks are great) & crackers/pretzels/pita chips
-Yogurt & granola (and/or fruit)
-Hard boiled egg and crackers
-Peanut butter & apple (or banana or celery)
-Hummus & veggies
-Milk & cookies
-Small bowl of cereal
More about Karin:
Karin works with Top Nutrition Coach, an exclusive network of top dietitians from around the world who are passionate about helping individuals achieve their health and wellness goals.Throughout her 20-plus years as a registered dietitian nutritionist providing counseling to various clients, Karin has developed a balanced, rock-solid approach to nutrition that draws from both her experience and education. Her psychology undergraduate degree from Villanova in combination with her doctorate from Walden University focused on health education and promotion allow her focus on mental health, supporting her to help clients to develop a sustainable relationship with food and proactively support disordered eating.