I thought once I'd finally had my baby, once pregnancy was over and I was no longer building a human being from scratch, I would perhaps stop eating like it was an Olympic event.
It's cute when people think those things pre-kid, right?
Between the lack of sleep, fluctuating hormones, and learning to take care of this tiny being who needed me for survival, I was a beast — constantly ravenous, yet also very picky. Plus, I wanted to eat a variety of foods so the baby could taste it through my breastmilk and I could hopefully introduce flavors ASAP. I was a difficult diner for my poor husband and family who were also all sleep-deprived and riding the incredible emotional roller coaster that is "OMG, we have a baby."
Although we lived it up big time ordering in, after a week I was positively craving homemade food. Here are some foods that would really have satisfied so many of my cravings (or at least one at a time), while sustaining me through 17 million nighttime wakings.
Our third day home from the hospital, my husband ordered South Indian food for lunch. I don't remember what I ate, but I remember it was an incredibly spicy, sour, savory meal — vibrant flavors firing on all cylinders. After so many months of heartburn if I so much as looked at a tomato, eating such intense flavors was wonderful. I wish I had these mouth-tingling, saucy noodles in the fridge. They are good hot, room temperature, or the next day.
Appropriate to eat at any time of day, a little punch of healthy fat and protein from peanut butter and that sweet-and-salty thing is just perfect. These can also be eaten with one hand or quietly while a baby sleeps on you, which is clutch.
Read more: 10 One-Handed Snacks for New Moms
When I was pregnant, I didn't miss alcohol and I didn't miss fitting into my own pants. I really, really, really missed sushi and raw fish. If someone brought me spicy tuna (in moderation, while breastfeeding), I would have cried salty tears and named my new baby after them. The pure joy of spicy tuna would have made my rather frightening postpartum acne fade into the abyss.
I have made my meatloaf for quite a few of my pregnant friends. In fact, I call it maternity meatloaf. Meatloaf freezes well; has a kajillion variations; can include a myriad of meats, veggies, and grains; and tastes so, so good standing at the fridge when your shirt is soaked with milk stains, your hair is a rat's nest, and your laundry smells entirely like spit-up. Oh, and it tastes incredible sliced and served cold on white bread with a generous dollop of mayonnaise.
Slather it on hot wings, dollop it on iceberg wedges, layer it on burgers, or just serve it in a mug with some raw carrots. Blue cheese dressing is one of the things for which there is no substitute during pregnancy. Additionally, it provides a lot of the fat, salt, and punchy flavor I craved during those first sleepless weeks. A jar of blue cheese dressing will be a huge hit for any blue-cheese-loving family with a new baby.