In the weeks that followed the birth of my son, Isaac, a little over three years ago, it pains me to admit that I was that mother who (seemingly) had it all together. Isaac fed and slept like clockwork every four hours, so I busied my days doing what all sane new mothers do – not catching up on sleep, but channelling my inner Nigella Lawson...
I baked bread from scratch (yep, including the sourdough starter), made roast chicken for a casual Wednesday dinner, and had a fresh tray of something baked every second day until my husband imposed a ban. Upon reflection, I too want to step back and slap myself. Not only for my naïve self-indulgent ways, but for failing to recognise that it was all about to change. And did it ever. At about four weeks old, Isaac woke up, and never really went back to sleep. As gorgeous as he was (and my god, is he gorgeous), those first four weeks were the glory days of sleep, as from that moment on, this boy has resisted bed. Let’s just say that the most dialled numbers on my iPhone quickly became Doytao Thai and the Pregnancy, Birth & Baby hotline. The days of cooking and eating anything other than Pad Thai and peanut butter toast were behind me. So as I approached the last few weeks of pregnancy with my second baby boy, I decided it was time to plan ahead. Anyone with a toddler knows that the concept of batch cooking is not a fun one, and even if it was, our freezer required too much attention for it to become a priority. Therefore, instead of sweating over the oven in my last trimester (during Sydney’s hottest summer on record), I jumped online and pre-ordered the meal delivery services that would prove to be my lifeline in the first few weeks of life with a newborn and toddler in tow. Here’s what I found.
Eat Fit Food
Our Eat Fit Food delivery serendipitously arrived on our doorstep the day after I delivered Charlie. While I was in hospital and did have the appealing option of steamed chicken and broccoli for every meal, my kind husband brought in the perfectly delivered package each day for me to enjoy in my hospital bed, much to the envy of my midwives. I received a 10-meal pack, which arrived over a three-day period, so always tasted fresh and, quite simply, delicious. My pick of the bunch (and not just because I was a ravenous new mother with her milk coming in), Eat Fit Food really know how to make an incredible meal. We’re talking vegetarian nasi goreng that took me straight back to my Ubud honeymoon, beef nachos that I had to hide from my toddler, and cleansing juices that felt like they cleared my system of the various induction drugs I’d been pumped with days prior. I’ll be taking any excuse to order up from Eat Fit Food again – they’ve certainly taken the place in my heart previously only held for my local Crust. Best for: Foodies. These meals are healthy, but you never feel deprived as they are tasty, innovative and would be perfectly at home on a Bondi café menu. Find out more at www.eatfitfood.com.au
Gourmet Dinner Service
When (very good, generous, hard-to-come-by) friends ask what’s on your baby registry, skip the swaddles and point them straight to Gourmet Dinner Service’s New Parents Hamper. This sweetly packaged hamper comes with 5 nights’ worth of meals for two, and provides all sorts of comfort after a day of the feeding-washing-another-cold-cup-of-tea routine. The meals are hearty, lovingly made, and are reminiscent of a nostalgic home cooked meal from childhood (that is, if my mother had been Indian, with the amazing Kashmiri lamb curry). Arabian beef, chicken and leek pie (my husband’s favourite), sides of honeyed carrots and dessert of lemon tarts provide the big warm hug of a meal when we new mamas need it the most. I’ll certainly be ordering more, and already have my eye on the Back to School Rescue Pack, because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that my boys love nothing more than a burger or a good pasta. (Not the baby – he’s still very much enjoying the milk machine.) Best for: Feeding the family. The meals are large, completely man-friendly, and feel nourishing and hearty without being heavy. Find out more at www.gourmetdinnerservice.com.au Amy Malpass Hahn lives in Sydney with her three loves – husband Scott, and sons Isaac (3) and Charlie (brand new!). She is also the co-founder of The Ten Active maternity activewear and is currently on maternity leave as marketing director at Barre Body
Those who are lucky enough to work or live near a Thr1ve restaurant will be all-too-familiar with their super healthy, nourishing bowls of deliciousness. I’ll admit that throughout my pregnancy, I didn’t make it to Thr1ve quite as often as I’d have liked, as my cravings led me in much more of a carbohydrate direction than Thr1ve’s paleo creations would allow. However, even with the hunger pangs of new motherhood (is there anything that inspires ravenous hunger in the way breastfeeding does?), there is nothing about Thr1ve’s at-home meals that resemble deprivation. Their website alone is enough to make the mouth water, with such a huge selection of yummy meals that I needed to step away for a while to avoid becoming too overwhelmed with choice. The meals feature a great selection of healthy versions of takeaway favourites, like butter chicken with broccoli and cauliflower rice, and spinach dahl with brown rice and quinoa. They are the perfect serving size for satisfying deep set hunger, but never left me feeling bloated. Having a few of these in the fridge for lunch times when vegemite toast is the only option is a must. Best for: Feeling healthy, light and nourished properly. I found the meals perfect for lunches enjoyed while nursing. Find out more at www.thr1ve.me
While I thought that three weeks’ worth of meals might be sufficient, I think the luxury may be worth getting used to … After all, who knows when Charlie will wake up?! Amy Malpass Hahn lives in Sydney with her three loves – husband Scott, and sons Isaac (3) and Charlie (brand new!). She is also the co-founder of The Ten Active maternity activewear and is currently on maternity leave as Marketing Director at Barre Body.