8 Healthy-ish Things To Bring To New Parents (Beyond Lasagnas And Casseroles)
My due date was two days ago.
(Oh yeah, did I tell you guys I'm having a baby? I am! Really soon, apparently!)
In the spirit of not losing all my marbles while waiting to meet this new human, I thought I'd write a blog post about foods I'd like our friends and family to bring us in the weeks after we come home from the hospital. (My hints are very subtle, no?) I mean, I'm kidding... sort of. This listicle is also based on very unscientific research among my friends and family who have had babies and know what's up a little more than I do at this point.
This is not to say that lasagnas and casseroles aren't appreciated and welcomed by pretty much everybody (if you decide to drop off the Samosa Tater Tot Chaatdish or literally anything, no one will be mad about it), but these lighter, somewhat healthier options are sometimes overlooked.
8 Healthy-ish Things To Bring To New Parents (Beyond Lasagnas and Casseroles)
1. Fresh vegetables and fruits.
This seems so obvious that I want to issue a blanket apology to all the friends to whom I haven't brought fresh fruits and vegetables in the past. Fresh stuff tends to be forgotten despite the fact that this is a pretty important time to eat nutritious things (and also a really hard time to eat nutritious things because new moms are just reaching for the closest calories to put in their mouths).
One of my friends said she almost cried out of joy when someone dropped off a bunch of dips from Trader Joe's and a veggie tray with everything already washed and cut and ready to eat. Another friend said the only things she wanted to eat were blueberries, bananas and clementines. Fair enough! Whatever you pack for your pals, stick with hardy fruits and veggies that keep well once they are cut.
2. Hand-held foods.
My co-worker strongly recommended one-handed foods—duh, makes total sense because there's always a baby in the other hand.
Muffin-tin frittatas are easy to prep for a special delivery. I have a couple of recipes on the site for these, like Paleo Bacon & Broccoli Egg Muffins. You can use the same method to put whatever you want in them. Wraps like these Detox Rainbow Roll-Ups with Peanut Sauce from Pinch of Yum or these Paleo Blueberry Scones from Fed & Fit would also be some solid choices.
I have more tips on takeout below, but things like spring rolls, stuffed grape leaves, steamed buns, spanakopita, samosas, empanadas, pizza and even sushi are all fantastically portable and easy to eat with one hand. And some of those are kind of healthy. :)
3. Slightly upgraded rotisserie chickens.
Rotisserie chickens are the easiest way to show you care without cooking. All you have to do is go to the store and buy three things: a rotisserie chicken, a bag of fresh spinach and some kind of delicious condiment or dressing like pesto or salsa verde. Then go set this on your friends' doorstep, text them "dinner is at your door!" and run away. That's it.
4. Wine and coffee and kombucha and all the beverages.
I mean, you might want to check with the particular parents on this one to see if they are drinking caffeine and alcohol... but feel free to bring me all the beverages. ALL the beverages. Lactation tea, even.
5. Soups you can drink from a mug.
The one-handed, portable foods theme strikes again. Think pureed soups like a creamy tomato soup, pea soup, Thai Curry Carrot Soup or this Gobi Masala Soup (maybe light on the spice early on to be kind to mom's guts) or anything that you can just put in a mug and drink without a spoon. Plain ol' nourishing, homemade bone broth (or not homemade, like Kettle & Fire) might not be appreciated by everyone, but it would be by me!
I'm a fan of bringing takeout to friends because it's a good excuse to ask them what they actually want to eat that day. But any level of decision-making is hard when you're running on fumes, so make it easy on them.
Just give them two restaurants to choose from and ask if they are a) craving anything specific or b) avoiding anything specific (some moms have trouble with spicy food or dairy early on, for example). Then build your order around that.
With takeout, I sometimes order enough so that if (CAPITAL IF) they feel like company, we'll stay and eat together. If they aren't, they just have extras for lunch the next day!
7. Snacks on snacks on snacks.
From everything everyone has told me, you're very rarely sitting down to eat a full meal in those first few weeks. Snacks are key at all hours of the day and night. Some things I mentioned already are kind of snacky, but you could also help keep your friends' pantry stocked with things like plantain chips, nuts, dried fruit (hint: prunes), dark chocolate peanut butter cups, bites/bars (Larabars and Epic Bars are great), dates, roasted chickpeas, beef jerky, WholeMe clusters, etc.
This section clearly doubles as "snacks to take hiking."
Having a baby is just like hiking... right guys? RIGHT?
8. Something other than food.
Consider that your new parent friends might have plenty of food in their fridge and freezer, so maybe something that's not food would be more helpful to them. Walk your friend's dog. Help them set up their breast pump. Bring them nipple balm, epsom bath salts, a pile of fresh burp cloths one of the many not-so-cute things that come along with having a baby. Offer to babysit for an hour or two so they can go to a yoga class or get a massage or something.
photo by Charles Koh
Anything to add to this list? Let me know in the comments!