Gaining Food Freedom with Comfort Food: Tips for New Moms
Guest Blog Written by Jordan Faith, Nutrition Intern
Craving comfort food is completely normal. Sometimes we just need a nice warm bowl of mac and cheese to truly satisfy our hunger and soul.
Especially now, when stress may be elevated and your favorite restaurant or take-out meal may not be an option, satisfying those cravings can be a struggle. Add on pregnancy or breastfeeding appetite changes and you can forget about it!
We shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting something that’s a little creamier or a little sweeter, but sometimes we do. As moms, we know the importance of nutrients not only for our children but also for our own health, so eating classic comfort food can make us feel like we’re failing. We are bombarded with messages from diet culture that reinforce this idea.
I want you to know that it’s perfectly okay to enjoy a cheesy entree or a side of fries. What’s important is that we honor what our bodies want and need. It is all about balance and eating foods that make us feel our best.
Maybe you don’t know whether you want comfort food or a more nutrient-dense meal. Why not choose both?
I’ve rounded up some recipes and tips that combine powerhouse nutrients with the comfort food you love so you don’t have to sacrifice your favorite foods.
Savory Comfort Food Recipes:
The pasta-bilities are endless when you combine flavorful pasta with veggies! This 30 minute recipe uses a peanut butter sauce, providing protein we need to grow healthy babies and support postpartum recovery. Boost the protein further by adding in tofu, egg, chicken, shrimp, or using a legume-based noodle! It’s also teeming with cabbage, peppers, snow peas, and carrots, for a colorful variety of vitamins and minerals.
Fried rice is the perfect side dish for any meal. This recipe swaps quinoa for rice, making it a great source of fiber, which aids in bowel regularity. The addition of edamame provides magnesium which helps regulate your body’s blood pressure and blood sugar, both of which can be common complications in pregnancy and postpartum. Pair it with your choice of protein (chicken, tofu, pork) for a filling, balanced meal.
Have you heard of chickpea flour? It’s a great swap for regular flour as it provides us with iron, a key nutrient in preventing iron deficiency anemia as well as aiding in postpartum recovery. AND you can enjoy it…as pizza!
If there’s one thing that is fun to make and even more enjoyable to eat, it’s pizza!
Is there anything an avocado can’t do? I’ve seen it in brownies, on toast, in salads, and now in mac and cheese! Avocado contains healthy fats and folate, which is a critical nutrient in pregnancy for the prevention of neural tube defects, anemia, and may be protective against preterm birth. Additionally, the nutritional yeast, which actually adds a cheesy taste to sauces, adds B vitamins that can play a key role in mood regulation.
Sweet Comfort Food Recipes:
Via Lively Table
Sometimes savory won’t do the trick. Maybe you just need dessert for dinner or a sweet snack to have. The sweetness in this recipe comes from dates which some studies suggest may help promote cervical ripening reducing the need for medically induced labor and may reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage. Throw some oats into the sweetness to add healthy carbohydrates for energy and B vitamins to aid in brain function (more energy, improved cognitive function, and chocolate? Yes please!)
Via Joy Bauer
Cookies for breakfast? Yes, you read that right. Packed with nutrients and chocolate, this recipe has it all. I bet you won’t even notice there are blueberries in it! And with those blueberries comes antioxidants that help strengthen your body’s immune system, which is essential during pregnancy and postpartum. Ideally, we don’t want to divert any energy away from the critical processes in these stages to fight any viruses, so immune system support is key.