A huge part of my pregnancy has focused on guilt surrounding food & exercise. It's a little tough to admit, but I haven't been the best eater throughout my pregnancy. It's been a struggle to get enough calories throughout the day, and somehow I'm still gaining plenty of weight. It's been hard not to feel guilty about this but I've come to terms with the fact that I'm just doing what I need to do in order to have a healthy baby at the end of this pregnancy. Sometimes that means green smoothies and 2 mile walks, but most of the time it hasn't. I've had extreme fatigue that makes cooking hard and exercise near impossible. Before I was pregnant these were habits I was fairly proud of! So now that I'm preparing for life with a baby, I am ready for the challenge of getting my body back and upping my fitness level.
What we decided will work best for us is to create a six week postpartum meal plan and to exercise when and how it feels right. It's important for me to have a balance and not feel like every meal and workout is a planned experience, it would be like setting myself up for failure. A little structure allowed for serious planning and now I feel so prepared in regards to food after baby! While nursing, it's important to eat enough calories and obviously to be getting nutrients from lots of natural sources.
You can downloads the meal plan here. Keep in mind that I created this for personal use, so it's not the absolute prettiest. Feel free to share and edit as you see fit!
The meal plan I created is virtually the same week to week, with minor adjustments. I divided the plan into three sections: Meals, Snacks and a grocery list. I wanted it to be very simple for my husband. We plan to post it on the fridge so if it's Wednesday and I'm ready for lunch, he can go to the chart and know exactly what to put together for me. We are members of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) here in Traverse City, where we get the bulk of our produce during the peak season. We can usually expect onions, greens, berries, carrots, radishes, kale, tomatoes, and lots other fun extras like ramps and pumpkins! It's really fun and a great way to get our organic produce. If you're curious about what a CSA is or how they work, check out this link.
I designed the meals so that some aspect of each was easy-peasy. If you look at the plan, the italisized words are frozen, underlined are in the pantry, and the standard text is what we will eat fresh. My mother in law and I spent a week cooking meals and partial meals to round out the plan, including taco meat, beef burgers and lots of frozen dinner like enchiladas, pasta with chicken, eggplant parmesan, and more. We baked "lactation cookies", muffins, and whole wheat pizza dough. We also went to Sam's Club and bought KIND bars, smoothie supplies, nuts & seeds, dried fruit and other snacky stuff I might want to have around the house. The idea is that everything nonperishable will already be purchased and prepared. We will use the CSA box we receive each week and the small grocery list to round out the meals with fresh fruits, veggies, and dairy.
Understandably, we won't eat every meal right on track the way the plan is laid out. But this way we know that there will always be something easy to prepare, right on hand. Feel free to download the meal plan and use it! We're thinking that we might just use a plan similar to this even after 6 weeks, since we tend to throw away way more food that is necessary. Enjoy!