With colourful Autumn produce spilling out of our local Farmer’s Market this weekend, I was reminded of this time last year. I was pregnant with an obvious bump on display, and was enjoying the change of seasons with winter drawing ever nearer as I grew ever bigger. I also recalled the yummy feasts of stews and soups that we enjoyed as a family. And it made me realise, in retrospect, that the way my husband ‘nested’ while I was in my second and third trimester was to… COOK!
If the expression ‘food is love’ is true, well then, I was seriously loved (and lucky). My husband spent numerous Sundays planning future meals, and batch cooking for us. (I had never heard of the term ‘batch cooking’ until this.) He would do the shopping, chopping, sautéing, stewing, and freezing of food so we could have healthy family dinners, without hassle, to nourish us once the baby arrived. Often a new mother is healing, sometimes breast feeding, and possibly sleep deprived. And the whole family can benefit from an extra surplus of healthy food when the new family member arrives. Don’t you want to spend more time cuddling in those early weeks and less time cooking and cleaning up?
At the Farmer’s Market we’d purchase core ingredients (onions, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, etc) that you can use to cook for multiple dishes. He would then prepare huge pots of deliciousness, and then divide them into portions, always reserving one for a delicious Sunday meal to enjoy that evening. Then the other meals were stored in the freezer.
The type of food you might crave after the baby is born is up to you. I’m not a nutritionist but I recommend eating what makes you happy, packed with protein and vitamins. Our dinners were usually fish or meat based with vegetables, so we could easily defrost things in the morning, and by dinner time we would need only to heat them and then roast or steam additional vegetables, and voila, we’d have a fulfilling and fabulous meal. We especially enjoyed hearty meals packed with goodness, like Chicken Soups, Cottage Pies, Lamb Daube, and (mild) fish curries. All made from seasonal and nourishing produce. For inspiration look up batch cooking. And there are some great websites that focus on various diets too like Paleo, here or Vegetarian, here.
If you are prepared, it is very easy to do (says the woman who did very little 🙂 ). Start by buying freezer containers (Pyrex ones mean you can defrost and reheat in the same container!) or bags, clean out the freezer to make room, mark the yummy food immediately with the description and date using a Sharpie on Scotch Tape (trust me, we have had mega confusion when we didn’t label, you do not want gravy instead of fudge sauce!). Last but not least, be prepared for a lot of washing up on your cooking day – floor to ceiling pots and pans! – but you’ll only have to do one big clean up instead of numerous ones.
Also if you have children, get them involved in the fun too. Some weekends our daughter would go with my husband to shop (while I napped), then they would come home, throw on aprons, and begin to chop and cook, which was fun for both of them and great for me to. Silence. Bliss. Bonus!
Perhaps batch cooking is more like storing up nuts for winter (no matter what the season is) than like nesting. Regardless, it made me a very happy mama. And a healthy one too. The way to a pregnant woman’s heart might just be her belly :)… so thank you husband.
Enjoy! Lara. xx