When you’ve just had a baby, the last thing you want to be doing is slaving over a hot stove! However, it is vital to eat well, especially if you are breastfeeding, so unfortunately, a quick snack at lunchtime will simply not suffice.
You need to be eating an extra 400 calories a day if you are breastfeeding, and getting up in the night with your little one is also incredibly energy-intensive – you are essentially on the go 24/7, so it can feel a little like having jet lag. I had both my children in winter, so I remember just how challenging those months with a newborn can be!
As a new mum, looking after your energy levels, immune system and mood throughout the food that you eat is crucial, which is why I’ve put together this easy one-pot dish to help you quickly get the nutrients you need. The mushrooms, garlic, ginger and greens in this recipe are great for helping your immune system function, while the wholegrains and chickpeas are packed with dense, complex carbohydrates and protein that provide energy.
Did you know that certain foods and herbs can also really help with breast feeding? The garlic, ginger, chickpeas, wholegrain spelt and broccoli in this recipe are galactagogues, foodsthat have been known for hundreds of years to aid milk production.
Best of all, this recipe is so easy to make and won’t take up too much of your time– important as a new mum when time is such a premium! Remember, you are at the top of the food chain here, and looking after yourself will mean that your baby will get everything it needs too.
1 large red onion, quartered and finely sliced
3 crushed garlic cloves
A two-inch (big thumb size) knob of fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp of olive oil
Approx 400–500mls of chicken or vegetable stock: fresh, a stock pot or vegetable bouillon.
250g of whole-grain brown rice or organic pearled spelt
1 can, jar, or carton of chickpeas, drained
A large pack of tender-stem broccoli sliced into one-inch chunks
4 medium-sized vine tomatoes, quartered
12 Brussels sprouts, halved
2 medium carrots, quartered and chopped
Fresh parsley or coriander and organic butter to garnish
Optional extras: chilli flakes, turmeric powder, cumin powder, Marmite, tomato purée
Use a wide frying pan and add the onion, garlic, ginger, carrots and tomatoes. Fry gently on a low heat for about five minutes.
Add the spelt or rice and stir through the cooked vegetable mix for around 2 minutes.
Add ¾ of your stock and let the mix simmer for 20 minutes, partially covered.
When it’s almost cooked, add the broccoli, Brussels sprouts, chickpeas and more stock if you need to, and cook for a further five minutes.
Taste and season the dish now. You may want to add some chilli flakes, more stock concentrate, spices like turmeric or cumin, more garlic, a dollop of Marmite or tomato purée.
Once you are happy with the taste, it’s time to serve! Your finished dish should be a delicious, flavoursome mix that’s halfway between a soup and a risotto.
Ladle into a bowl and top with a handful of fresh parsley or coriander and a knob of organic butter – pure comfort food for you and baby!
It’s honestly as easy as that; the benefit of this dish is that’s it’s so flexible that you can make it taste however you like, so go ahead and give it a try.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mel holds a BSc (Hons) in Nutritional Therapy, an MSc in Nutritional Medicine, and has been specialising in women’s nutrition for over 19 years. Her career includes time spent at the Zita West Fertility Clinic, The Healthy Holiday Company, and Dr Jane Benn & Associates. Mel set up Melanie Brown Nutrition 11 years ago, specialising in fertility, and currently works with clients all across the globe advising them on diet and lifestyle.