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Realistic Postpartum Meal Prep Plan

Realistic Postpartum Meal Prep Plan


Realistic Postpartum Meal Planning

Note: Some links contained in this article are affiliate links and I have clearly indicated which are affiliate links in the article itself.

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Let’s be real. The idea of prepping meals ahead of time before baby comes is much easier said than done. I don’t know about you but when I’m in those final weeks of pregnancy the last thing my body wants me to do is to stand in the kitchen for hours cooking. Cue pain in feet, legs, hips, back…no good. However, once your sweet baby is earth-side you’re going to wish you had at least planned a bit since there isn’t a ton of time to cook between feedings, diaper changes, snuggles and your own personal recovery. I’m currently 38 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child so I figure this is perfect timing to develop a REALISTIC postpartum meal prep plan that will not only benefit my family but hopefully yours too.

This is what I came up with…

Make ahead and freeze:

Although my husband and I have planned ahead to figure out how to have him home for a bit longer this time (3 weeks vs. 6 days) I know that I will inevitably find myself alone with a baby (and likely a  toddler) and need food that is ready to eat and extremely easy to prep (bonus if it can be consumed with one hand). However, I also know that I’m just not that mom (or dietitian) who has the energy or motivation to prep 21 postpartum meals at the end of my pregnancy. So I had to prioritize. I chose to focus on a couple of breakfast items, a killer snack option and then purchase several ready-made frozen foods to have on hand. 

Currently in my freezer:

Freezer Friendly Breakfast Sandwiches by Emily Kyle, MS, RDN*

Freezer Breakfast Burritos by Jessica Penner, RD*

*(I slightly modified both of these to suit our needs and you can easily do the same!)

Smashed Tuna Sandwiches by Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD

The patties are in the freezer.

5 Ingredient Energy Bites by Chef Savvy 

These energy bites are so yummy and easy to make! Recovering from delivery and nursing can make you super hungry so these little suckers do just the trick when I’m in need of a nourishing snack that will leave me full and satisfied!

Freezer meals I purchased from Trader Joe’s:

  • Family Style Meat Lasagna (will pair with pre-mixed salad like the Broccoli and Kale Slaw Salad at TJ’s)
  • Tempura chicken, brown rice, edamame, pineapple and broccoli
  • Frozen pizza (Yup! No shame in my frozen pizza game)
  • Pad thai single meals
  • 3 x chicken burritos
  • 2 x grass-fed ground beef (to include in instant pot recipe mentioned below)

Instant Pot Recipes

I LOVE my Instant Pot (affiliate link). It’s been a lifesaver during dinner prep with my toddler so I know it will be the gift that keeps on giving when I have a toddler AND an infant making their demands while I try to get food on the table. Here are the recipes that we’ll have set up on Plan to Eat. More on Plan to Eat towards the end of this article.

Creamy Beef Pasta Shells

Oh my gah this pasta dish is SOOO easy and I’m telling you it is RESTAURANT QUALITY. You can also modify it in a thousand ways – you could do a non-creamy version or throw some zucchini and eggplant in there. The options are endless.

Instant Pot Classic Beef Chili

If it ever rains in San Diego this season, we’ll be whippin’ this sucker up for sure!

Instant Pot Artichoke Chicken Orzo

This one takes a tad more time than the others but it’s worth it!

Pressure Cooker Chicken Black Bean & Rice Burrito Bowls

We either top this with chopped bell pepper, cabbage, avocado and sour cream and include a side of chips OR use the filling to make burritos. This is great as a make-ahead and freeze meal, too!

Snacks to purchase ahead of time to stay on top of your and your children’s needs (if this isn’t your first rodeo):

  • KIND Bars (affiliate link)
  • Lara Bars (affiliate link)
  • Trader Joe’s Almond Butter Granola (OMGGGEEEE this ish is a-ma-zing)
  • Just Mango Dried Mango from Trader Joe’s (In addition to fruit leather and dried fruit bars I’m actually planning to include these as a snack early on in labor).
  • Omega-3 Trek Mix from Trader Joe’s or this Omega-3 Deluxe Mix (affiliate link)
  • Whole wheat crackers
  • Cheese sticks
  • Yogurt
  • Peanut Butter Pretzels from Trader Joe’s
  • Plantain chips from Trader Joe’s
  • Fresh fruit

Finally, the most important part of this entire meal planning process is our regular use of Plan to Eat – a software program that will seriously change your life (PROUD affiliate link). This program allows me to:

  1. Upload recipes from online or manually enter them so that they’re all in one place
  2. Create menus that I can save and re-use
  3. Generate shopping lists with the single click of a button!

Do you know what that means for postpartum meal planning? Once I make the menus, it’s done! I can generate and send that list off to my husband or another family member. I can even ask someone to use it to load into a grocery delivery system.

Use my referral link for a free 30-day trial. You can also request to be my “friend” and get access to all of my recipes and saved menus!

Even better? I have a FREE TRAINING that will teach you how to maximize the use of Plan to Eat! You’ll also be subscribed to my list

I combine my skills as a dietitian, meal planner for the masses, and experience as a mom, to help you use Plan to Eat like a pro! Once you’re on my list, you’ll also get plenty of resources for living well without being a slave to the scale.

Episode 012: PCOS, Fertility, Adoption & Body Image with Julie Duffy Dillon MS, RD, NCC, CEDRD

Episode 012: PCOS, Fertility, Adoption & Body Image with Julie Duffy Dillon MS, RD, NCC, CEDRD


Listen + Subscribe on ITUNES or STITCHER 

We’d greatly appreciate a podcast rating and review so that we can reach more mamas and families!

– Search for the podcast in your podcast app (The Nurtured Mama Podcast)

– Scroll down and click 5 stars

– Tap “Write a Review” & enter brief review

– Press send


Julie Duffy Dillon is a Registered Dietitian, Eating Disorder Specialist, and Food Behavior Expert partnering with people on their Food Peace journey. She is trained as a mental health counselor and supervises dietitians and other health professionals to use weight inclusive and attuned eating strategies. She owns central North Carolina’s group nutrition private practice and premier source of eating disorder treatment and prevention, BirdHouse Nutrition Therapy. Julie also produces and hosts the weekly podcast, Love Food. Learn more at



FREE PCOS Road Map: Your First 3 Steps Toward Food Peace with PCOS

Free Carb Craving Download Just for Nurtured Mama Podcast Listeners!


  • Julie opens up the episode sharing some of her experiences leading up to becoming pregnant, including loss and infertility struggles, and the challenges of caring for a newborn.
  • She talks about her experience after childbirth and she openly shares about what she truly wanted during that time and that was to make a connection with other people. She opens up about how appearance focused comments from others made her feel during that time as a woman, mother, and body positive activist and how invalidating and intrusive this can feel – especially during that time. She also shares her experiences with comments from others after adopting her son.
  • An expert in PCOS, Julie explains what women with PCOS often face when they seek treatment – dieting and weight loss recommendations – and how these recommendations not only make PCOS symptoms worse but can increase disordered eating and risk for developing an eating disorder.
  •  Julie also discussed the relation between cravings and PCOS. She elaborately explains the mechanism behind our cravings and how it correlates to sleep deprivation, insulin production, or even doing extreme exercises that can lead to carbohydrate cravings.

Episode 004: Healing Postpartum with Celeste Goodsen

Episode 004: Healing Postpartum with Celeste Goodsen


Support our ThunderClap Campaign so that our podcast can reach more mothers and families. ThunderClap social media blast goes out on August 14th at noon PST. We need 100 supporters for the blast to go out! Link to support:



Listen + Subscribe on ITUNES or STITCHER 

We’d greatly appreciate a podcast rating and review so that we can reach more mamas and families!

– Search for the podcast in your podcast app (The Nurtured Mama Podcast)

– Scroll down and click 5 stars

– Tap “Write a Review” & enter brief review

– Press send


Celeste Goodson is a Pre and Post-Natal Trainer with a Bachelors in Science. in Fitness and Wellness Management and has worked in physical therapy, cardiac rehab, coached high school X-C, and worked in numerous fitness and aquatic settings over the last 15 years. In 2005, Celeste became certified through ACE as a Medical Exercise Specialist, certifying her to personal train Pre/Postnatal women and those with musculoskeletal, neuromuscular and metabolic conditions cleared by physicians. Celeste has worked with elite athletes to professional singers.

Due to personal experience dealing with diastasis and mild prolapse and working with other women, Celeste realized the need for specific prep and core reconditioning after childbirth to help women avoid issues down the line such as diastasis recti, lower back pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, hip instability, posture issues etc… Simply going back to the gym routine is not sufficient enough to re-strengthen the Inner Core System (pelvic floor, transverse abs, diaphragm, and multifidus) which can put undo pressure on a weak inner core system. In 2010 Celeste developed the ReCORE program and also designed the FITsplint (Maternity and Post-Natal) to help women protect and/or splint their core when needed. Celeste believes that while pregnancy is a natural and amazing process, the muscles and ligaments have been stretched, strained and weakened. Women should know that they can avoid and fix many of the common issues associated with pregnancy by correct core strengthening/stretching exercises, proper alignment and splinting.

Celeste and her husband Josh have 3 children. She enjoys reading up on women’s health research, taking women’s health education courses for her CEC’s, running, and playing just about any sport. Celeste is a Boston Marathon runner and understands the desire for women to stay as fit as possible during pregnancy, get their core strength back and return to their exercise of choice injury and symptom-free.







Transition to Motherhood:

  • Celeste and her husband had their first child in 2004 and, at that time, she had been a trainer and had worked in physical therapy. She initially learned about ways to strengthen the core postpartum but she felt it was too general and basic.
  • During her second child, she started doing pre and postnatal classes that taught women how to move and care for their bodies during pregnancy and after.
  • Because of some medical issues she had gone through after her pregnancy, Celeste started to develop a program that teaches about core strengthening which has grown into what ReCore Fitness is today.
  • “I strongly believed that women need to take the time to recondition their core well postpartum.” – Celeste Goodson ([08:50])

Episode Summary:

Celeste shares her thoughts about running, strengthening, and healing:

  • According to Celeste, doing a high impact exercise like running during postpartum can be harmful if done too soon or without the right physical support. If the muscle and tissues have not been able to strengthen and shorten like they should, those tissues will stretch out more.
  • She added that genetics can play a part in healing, how some women recover, and how much the tissue stretches. Also, strengthening can play a big part as well.
  • She explains the muscles in the inner core and how it can be affected during pregnancy.
  • Celeste encourages walking postpartum and to start gradually.
  • She educates women regarding the core and how it is usually weak and deconditioned postpartum. A common example is an abdominal separation – also known as “Diastasis Recti.”
  • For Celeste, it’s never too late to get the strength and coordination back. Sometimes the longer it has been, the more challenging it is to get the tissue to respond but it can always be healed further. Even if you can’t get the tissue to shorten, a lot of times you can get the muscles strong and coordinated enough that it can be functional again.
  • She mentioned that women don’t have to be restricted for the rest of your life as long as they strengthen, coordinate, and gradually work yourself up, follow some basic guidelines.
  • Celeste shares about her functional diastasis.

Defining Diastasis Recti:


  • Some people may call it abdominal separation and that just means the tissue has stretched out a little bit. If it’s more than 3 finger widths wide, then it’s classified as Diastasis Recti. It’s the tissue down the middle of your core, in between your abdominals and near your belly button.  It’s not an actual hole but it’s just the tissue stretching to accommodate pregnancy.
  • 100% of women experience abdominal separation during pregnancy but the degree and rate of healing depend on genetics and strengthening.


Celeste shares about her Program:


  • ReCore is for anyone postpartum whether they have Diastasis Recti or not. It’s about getting the core stable and stronger, and this prepares women for more vigorous exercise. It’s not about the abs separation but it’s about safely reconditioning the core in general.

Notable change in the Medical Community

  • Celeste shares her hopes about having a positive impact and notable awareness in the medical community like the OB, physical therapist and doctors regarding the importance of strengthening the core postpartum.


“I really do feel that women should just be automatically sent to a pelvic floor therapist postpartum. They are the ones who can assess and make sure that you don’t have any tearing or pelvic injury.”

Celeste’s Advice about doing a healthy exercise post-partum:

  • “If your core can’t engage and stay controlled during exercise, then you’re not just strong enough to do it.” (27: 35)
  • Classic sit -ups are not recommended postpartum or during pregnancy as they will worsen abdominal separation.
  • If you have Diastasis Recti, she recommends splinting for about 4-6 weeks and then strengthening the inner core.


  • She believes that using splinting postpartum can greatly help mothers doing pelvic exercises postpartum as it seems to speed the process along.
  • She recommends wearing it for support during pregnancy especially when you’re active to reduce stress on the tissue.
  • Wear support postpartum for about 4-6 weeks.


Celeste talks about any symptoms women need to take note of and to consider seeing a pelvic floor therapist

  • Incontinence issues
  • Any heaviness feeling down low.
  • If you sit-up and you see bulging down your abdominal midline, that’s a sign that the tissue is stretched out.

For Celeste, her approach is to be proactive. Keep the core strong during pregnancy and recondition it postpartum to avoid injury and issues in the future.

Referenced in the Show:

FITsplint (Maternity and Postnatal)

ReCORE Download Program

The Postnatal ReCORE Online Training Program

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