What you eat after giving birth can significantly support your recovery process. But, in our post-Covid world, everything is more costly, especially food. Here’s how you can eat nutrient-dense foods on a budget.
I firmly believe there are several proponents for healing from having a baby, one of which is prioritizing nutrient-dense food. The reality is that quality food is expensive and inaccessible for many, but there are many ways you can get the nutrition you need through simple, budget-friendly hacks and meals.
Plus, feeding yourself can feel overwhelming after birth, and sometimes adding the pressure to “eat the right thing” can feel overwhelming.
A holistic approach to postpartum recovery
I believe the essential steps for recovery are to:
- Nourish: focus on filling your body with foods that fuel and heal.
- Recover: allowing your body to ease back into workouts and physical activity.
- Replenish: prioritizing your mental health and taking adequate time to find things you enjoy outside of motherhood.
Overall, learn that you were reborn and must know how to accept this new version of yourself. This all takes TIME.
The period after birth is a crazy and busy time in a family’s life. You are learning daily and going through new challenges constantly. This often leads to moms focusing on quick, easy-to-grab food without thinking about what they need to eat to nourish correctly.
And it’s only getting more complex.
When moms are ready to get their health back, some see some of the high prices of fresh produce and meats and think they can’t afford it.
Instead of stressing about whether or not you can afford to eat to nourish your body post-baby, use these tips you can take with you to the grocery store and purchase nutritious food on a budget.
Buying food for postpartum recovery on a budget
Check out some budget-friendly alternatives for buying healthy, nourishing food for postpartum recovery. Keep in mind these tips are great for all phases of life, not only during life after birth.
- Buy fresh produce in season
- Consider frozen fruits and vegetables
- Try canned product
- Explore other sources of protein
- Buy whole grains in bulk
1. Buy produce when it is in season
If you enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables but do not want to spend much money, check what produce is in season each month for your area.
These in-season fruits and vegetables are typically less expensive in grocery stores than out-of-season produce. You can also try to shop at local farmer’s markets (ideally, send someone to shop for you).
2. Frozen fruit and vegetables are a great alternative to fresh
One study compared the vitamin content between fresh and frozen corn, carrots, broccoli, spinach, peas, green beans, strawberries, and blueberries. The study found the frozen options to be “comparable to and occasionally higher vitamin content” than the fresh options.
3. Try canned fruit and vegetables
For this one, you’ll need to check the ingredient list on the can before purchasing. Sometimes fruits will add sugary juices to preserve the fruit. Ensure they contain mainly the fruit or vegetable listed on the label.
4. Explore other sources of protein
If you are not on a meatless diet, occasionally having plant protein will provide you with the same nutritional benefits protein-wise as meat-based protein.
Examples of plant-protein on a budget:
– Beans (contain about 15g of protein per cup)
– Lentils (contain about 18g per protein per cup)
– Canned tuna
– Cottage cheese
If you are vegetarian or vegan, make sure you eat various plant-based proteins to get the essential amino acids you need.
5. Buy whole grains in bulk
Do not skip or cut back on your carbs. They are a nutrient needed in your diet, especially during postpartum recovery. Taking them out of your diet WILL NOT help you lose weight quicker.
Buying grain in bulk is more cost-effective than single-container quantities (for example, oats/oatmeal).
Sometimes I will make my grain for the week and portion them out for each meal, saving me an extra step in the kitchen during the week.
A nutrient-dense postpartum meal on a budget
Below is a balanced meal that does not require any fresh ingredients. This meal is quick to make and is budget-friendly.
Additionally, you can buy the ingredients way in advance and make them when you please, unlike with fresh ingredients. Making this meal will cost approximately $2.87 per serving (taxes and prices of items will vary depending on location).
- 2 15oz cans of black beans ($1.58)
- 1 20 oz bag of peppers and onions ($2.72)
- 1 16 oz bag of brown rice and quinoa ($4.72)
- 1 cup of bone broth ($1.22)
- 2 tbsp of olive oil ($.27)
- Taco seasoning ($.95)
- Add olive oil and frozen vegetables to a large frying pan on medium heat. Cook until vegetables start to soften.
- Add everything to the frying pan. Bring to a boil.
- Once the contents are bubbling, lower the heat to simmer for about 10 minutes or until the rice and quinoa are fully cooked. Then serve.
Final thoughts on postpartum nourishment
Good nutritional habits could be the difference in how you recover and get your health back after having a baby. I hope these tips help give you peace of mind that you can still meet your nutritional needs even with a tight budget.
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I am a Postpartum Health Coach supporting new moms through postpartum by guiding them on how to replenish and nourish their bodies. While also taking the time to recover in order to help them re-find their identity post-baby.