When someone important in your life has a baby, the very best thing you can do is bring over a meal. This statement will not be qualified. Between the crying and the feeding and the lack of sleep and – oh yeah, that whole birthing thing – it can be hard for new parents to get to enjoy a real meal. Yet new parents need good, nutritious food to help heal from all that crying and feeding and lack of sleep and birthing.
So bringing food is a given. But figuring out what to bring can be hard. Especially when there are other kids who also need to be fed and various dietary restrictions. These meals are healthy, often kid-friendly, and require no more work for the new family other than sticking something in the oven. Plus many satisfy various dietary restrictions. Make one for the new family, make an extra for yourself, and pat yourself on the back for being a good friend.
Creamy Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole. This creamy casserole packs a double protein punch with the quinoa and the chicken. There’s also a good serving of broccoli in there, making this is a very well-rounded, fiber-packed meal. Plus no canned soups here – everything is natural and pronounceable. Good for mom and baby. (Gluten-Free if flour is subbed with cornstarch)
Coconut Red Lentil Soup. There is something so restorative about a hearty bowl of soup. This one has lots of protein from the lentils and good fat from the coconut cream. It also is just about the best thing you will ever have the pleasure of eating. Make a double recipe so you can keep some for yourself! This soup freezes well — but there are rarely leftovers to freeze. (Vegan if butter is subbed with oil. Gluten-Free)
Turkey Meatloaf. This lighter take on the classic comfort food, from Laurelwood Brewing Company, will please the entire family–including picky older siblings of the new baby. Pair with a premade green salad for a complete, protein- and vitamin-packed meal. (Looking for a good salad idea? Here are some great ones that taste better with time to marinate.)
Sweet and Savory Slow Cooker Apple Pork Chops. This easy, freezable pork chop recipe is made in the slow cooker. A great blend of sweet (thanks to the apples and cinnamon) and savory (thanks to the thyme and onions). Cook it and bring it, or bring it in a freezer bag for the new parents to make in the crock pot at their convenience. You can bring some cooked rice to go along with it, or keep it even simpler by picking up a loaf of crusty bread.
Vegetable Pot Pie. For a complete one-pot meal that comes together in less than an hour, but looks like it took all day, reach for this recipe. The recipe calls for frozen veggies, but you can sub with fresh seasonal vegetables if you prefer. You can also customize it and up the protein by adding chicken or seafood. The recipe is not gluten-free, but can easily be made gluten free if you top with a gluten-free crust and sub the flour for cornstarch. (Vegan, Gluten-free with alterations)
Skinny Spinach Lasagna. No roundup of new-mom meals would be complete without a lasagna recipe. This one is great because it is satisfying without being too terrible for you. You could deliver this in a sheet pan, or bake and then cut into serving-sized pieces. That way mom or dad can pop one into the microwave or oven when they want it. (Vegetarian)
Freezer-Friendly Roasted Vegetable Burritos. A healthy, nutrient-dense dinner that can be held in one hand? Sounds like a dream come true for a new mom. These burritos can be individually frozen, making it a true convenience meal – without tasting like one. (Vegan if cheese is omitted)
Beef Stew with Mashed Potatoes. This version of beef stew is piled high with delicious autumn vegetables like carrots and turnips. The recipe calls for mashed potatoes on the side, but you could save a step or 12 and just add potatoes to the stew. A hearty, one-pot meal packed with protein. (Keep in mind though, that potatoes don’t freeze very well. If you are planning on delivering a frozen meal for later, just omit the potatoes all together.)