food

“After having my first child, a fully stocked freezer was my number one priority.”

From setting up a tranquil nursery to making sure you’ve purchased the most practical pram, impending mums are inundated with information on how to prepare for their baby’s arrival. When I was heavily pregnant with my first little man, I found myself waddling from shop to shop ticking off a long list of “must-have” items. What I failed to stock up on was food – glorious food. So when we arrived home with our wrinkly, sleep-averse, bundle of joy I had a state of the art odour-neutralising nappy bin in a Pinterest-inspired nursery and an empty freezer. Big mistake.

With all my family living overseas I didn’t have the luxury of calling my mum to request that she popover with a chicken chasseur, so I soon found myself on a first name basis with the owner of the Thai takeaway joint at the end of the street (Hi Chanchai), all the while living off an expired tub of meal replacement shake I found at the back of a kitchen cupboard.

"Starting the day after three hours broken sleep in a breast milk-stained onesie hardly inspires you to stand over the stove creating a stack of buttermilk pancakes." Image via iStock.

Second time around we were a bit more clued up. Instead of spending way too much moolah on baby stuff we didn’t need (hello, four different coloured pram hoods that are still in their original packaging), I made sure our freezer was filled with a mixture of homemade meals and store bought essentials.

Starting the day after three hours broken sleep in a breast milk-stained onesie hardly inspires you to stand over the stove creating a stack of buttermilk pancakes. It’s far easier to grab a pack of frozen berries out of the freezer, add a banana, milk and some Greek yoghurt and blitz up a smoothie. Then sit on the couch, ask your partner to wash the Nutribullet and watch The Notebook for the 85th time while your newborn nuzzles into your greasy hair.

For snacks I would defrost some bagels or nuts (freezing them prevents the oil from going rancid, who knew?) and I always made sure I had a loaf or two of bread in the freezer for some toast or a sneaky jaffle.

On days when braving the supermarket to buy something fresh felt akin to running a marathon with an ingrown toenail, frozen fish and veggies came in handy. Boiling some pasta, adding some pesto and frozen peas then smothering it all with grated parmesan was a cheap and tasty favourite. And popping some white fish and chips in the oven required minimal effort with no fear of greeting a delivery man with a rogue nipple hanging out.

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"On days when braving the supermarket to buy something fresh felt akin to running a marathon with an ingrown toenail, frozen fish and veggies came in handy." Image via iStock.

Yes, fresh is best but in the chaotic days of early parenting frozen fare is a very convenient alternative (and far healthier than eating a pack of Tim Tams in an attempt to fend off the late afternoon energy slump). Those early months can be an exhausting haze and it’s so easy to forget to look after yourself in an attempt to meet all of your little love’s needs.

Every time I tried to cook dinner, my youngest would launch himself into witching hour with ear-piercing enthusiasm, which often meant I had to abandon my culinary efforts, put him over my shoulder and bounce my way up and down the hallway until my husband got home from work. Then I’d  put the cookbook away and pop a store bought frozen meal in the microwave. Surprisingly not all of them tasted like cardboard.

To improve the frozen fare on offer, Woolworths have just released the Delicious Nutritious range of meals in partnership with fitness guru and soon-to-be-mum Michelle Bridges. Each of the eight meals in the range are nutritionally balanced, calorie-controlled and contains three serves of snap frozen veggies. And they are pretty delish, the rich and powerful Spicy Chimichurri Beef with cannellini and pinto beans, vegetables and wholegrain rice is up there with Chanchai’s curries. Add to that a salt-rimmed margarita and I’m instantly transported to La Boca, Buenos Aires.

Now, while I don’t recommend trying to lose your baby weight too quickly (I’m yet to lose all mine 15 months on), the Delicious Nutritious range can help with weight management if that’s important to you, just make sure you are consuming enough calories to keep your energy up, especially if you are breastfeeding.

So next time you find yourself at the shops contemplating the purchase of a third baby carrier to round out your collection, walk away and head to the freezer aisle of your local supermarket. Put the stove on annual leave and tell the microwave to get ready for its busiest season, then settle in for a summer of boxset binge-watching, exhaustion and exhilaration. And look after yourself and that gorgeous little creature you created.

How did you prepare for your baby's arrival?

Take a look at the Delicious Nutritious range and set yourself up for success...

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