Saturday, 30 April 2016

Quick snacks that saved my sanity in the first weeks with a newborn

Our son, Maks, is 5 weeks old tomorrow and I couldn't be happier for my little bundle of joy. But being a new parent is not a piece of cake. 

And speaking of cake, here is a challenge I have not foreseen when preparing for my maternity leave: eating regular and healthy meals! 

I mean sure, I had prepared frozen dinners. And they are great for the evenings when your partner is home and can help.

But during the day, when you are all alone with your newborn who demands ALL of your attention and hands, making and eating a full meal (and by that I mean something as advanced as a sandwich) is a real challenge. 

So when you don't sleep enough and start your day at 5 or 6 am, use a lot of your body resources on breastfeeding and caring for your baby but your breakfast doesn't start til 10 and doesn't end til 12, having a quick snack solution is a life saver. 

Here are a couple of the recipes/ideas that really came in handy in the past few weeks:

Oatmeal cookies - recipe from my awesome Sister.

These cookies take 5 minutes to mix and 15 minutes to bake. They are packed with healthy calories to keep you going for a while. And you can easily control how sweet they are and "spice" them to your liking. They will also keep 4-5 days before starting to get a bit dry.

Ingredients (makes 12-15 cookies):
  1. 2 bananas - mashed
  2. About 12 spoons of oatmeal
  3. A table spoon of flour
  4. A teaspoon of honey (if the bananas are ripe and sweet, you can skip that)
  5. 1 egg
  6. A pinch of baking powder

Mix this basic ingredients in a bowl and then add anything you might like: dried or fresh fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, coconut, peanut butter, cinnamon etc. My personal favorite is fresh blueberries (although frozen would probably be as good), dried cranberries and a bit of dark chocolate chips.

Bake cookies for about 15 minutes in 200C hot air. And enjoy!

Pre-cut fruits and veggies

When you have time during an evening or weekend, peel and cut fruits and vegetables so you can easily grab a healthy snack when you are passing by the fridge.

Peeled carrots hold well in a cup filled with water. Bell peppers, watermelon, apples, radishes...cleaned and cut in small pieces are fantastic. If they are as easy to eat as a piece of chocolate, you are more likely to make the right choice.

I also like to pre-make a salad so I can eat it during the week for lunches. If you don't add any dressing, it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days without going bad.

Fried chicken and fish

Slice chicken or fish filet and fry it on the pan or bake in the oven, the way you like it (in breading, herbs or without anything). Keep it in the fridge and add to your salad or just eat as a quick snack during the week.

Don't forget the water!

It is easy to dehydrate and water is soooo important. The best way for me to remember about water is to have a couple of flasks standing around the house. This way, wherever I am, I can always quickly grab a couple of swallows - and the bottles remind me to do it.