New mums are VERY bad at eating lunch.
There you have it, the disturbing and hidden truth. In a random sampling of new mums (okay, not so random, they might all be my friends), I found the following lunch fare to be common:
- Nothing at all (by far, the most common)
- Half a bag of pretzels (I might be guilty of this one)
- Vegan muffin from JJ Bean ("It's healthy if it's vegan, right?")
- An Apple (okay that's not so bad...but still not a whole lunch)
- Cookies ("I didn't sleep last night; fuck off.")
- The rest of their toddler's lunches ("They weren't gonna eat it! And I cooked it, damnit!")
- Coffee (repeat: "I didn't sleep last night; fuck off.")
|Mmmm a complete and balanced meal!!|
But do not fear, fellow bad-lunching mummies. For I am going to give a whole host of solutions. Now, you're probably wondering, "What makes you qualified to suggest healthy lunch options to me??" And the answer to that is, nothing. I'm actually a terrible cook, AND I did just admit above to the exclusively pretzel lunch. So you can choose to read on for a bunch of easy and relatively edible ideas for how mums can get a lunch in or you can just say "I didn't sleep last night; fuck off," and close the browser window. :) I know which I'd do!
Anyway, let's get started.
1) Leftovers! This is by far the best way to get a good lunch. Yesterday I had leftovers that didn't even need to be heated up! It took me 5 minutes flat to prepare and eat this lunch (and I am a VERY slow eater), so it can easily be done during naps or even play time.
Some good ideas for leftovers include:
- bean salads (no need to warm them! You can even eat them in the park while your baby slumbers in the stroller!)
- pizza (who doesn't love leftover pizza??? And, come on, admit it, after a particularly rough day, you've totally splurged for a pizza dinner at least once.)
- pasta (bowties or fusili are the easiest to eat 1 handed while jiggling a baby in your other arm. Opt for a drier pasta dish, rather than a saucier kind. Oil and parmesan is a nice option!)
2) Pre-prepared foods I don't know about you guys, but part of my problem with lunches (and dinner, actually :) ) is that when I'm ready to eat lunch, there's no time to make it! It seems like lunchtime and dinner time are high-needs for baby time too. It's like she knows! So, a solution to that would be to take the time you've got. If baby sleeps from 8-9 am, obviously you aren't going to eat lunch then, but you can certainly whip up a sandwich to keep in the fridge or chop up some veggies to go with hummus. Okay, that last one actually sounds more time intensive than I'd go for. Anything with the word "chop" in it doesn't really work for me, but, hey, it might for you!! ;)
You can also pre-prepare things way in advance. Like, on Sunday when you might have your partner or someone else around to entertain baby, you can make a few cheese and coldcut wraps to stick in the fridge. Then, at lunchtime, all you have to do is heat them up (or just eat them cold!) and manga manga.
3) Get help (and I don't mean the mental kind) I feel a little sheepish doing this these days, since Ebba is so old, but in the early days, I certainly had no shame in asking friends to bring over lunch! "You wanna see my bebe? Great! Bring over some food and I'll let you in the house!" It helps if you have friends who are good cooks! :)
4) Don't be afraid to outsource I have a mental list of a few nearby restaurants that are baby-cry friendly and have delicious food. For you local folk, Cafe Deux Soleils and Deserts Cafe on Commercial Drive both have really yummy veggie lunch food, and are relatively low-key so if baby throws a hissy fit, it's no big deal. (Actually, Ebba sleeps through my lunches at both of these places 9 times out of 10!) The best thing about getting out and having a professional cook your meal (apart from knowing it will taste good) is that you can meet up with friends and get some much-needed out-of-the-house time with your baby.
5) When All Else Fails... Sometimes, there is no avoiding the pretzel lunch. But when you must do the inevitable, it's nice to still think about the food groups. Add some peanut butter for protein (and YUM factor!) and eat it with a few baby carrots so you can tell your mum, "Yes, I'm still eating my vegetables," without actually lying.
And, since she's a mum too, you can add, "What did you have for lunch today?" Hopefully the answer won't be nothing!