When my daughter was born, I thought I would read all sorts of books and magazines while blissfully cradling a sleeping newborn, sniffing her head and perhaps doing some light arts and crafts.
Reality found me trying to use one hand to direct her head to my breast, which was being squeezed into unnatural shapes by my other hand. Then the nursing pillow would slip out of position, or the burp cloth would fall on the floor and I had to start all over again after readjusting.
We all wish motherhood came with an instruction manual. I would add that an extra arm or two would be a nice touch. Especially when you want a snack and can’t set the baby down.
These are not fancy Pinterest postpartum bento boxes of placenta-shaped homemade fruit snacks or absurdly healthy quinoa and kale puffs. Sometimes when you’re in survival most, you just want yummy protein and carbs to get you through the day.
Any prep work can be done ahead of time – by someone else. Come to think of it, go ahead and send this list to everyone who asks, “Can I bring you anything?” Let other people do the work while you eat the rewards.
20 One-Handed Snack Ideas
- Lactation bars and energy bites– Packed full of oats and an assortment of other galactagogues, they freeze extremely well and taste great frozen. Not that I have ever sat gnawing off corners of frozen lactation bars while watching Netflix.
- Mini muffins – Bake your go-to muffin recipe in mini muffin tins for a quick two-bite snack. Most recipes will freeze well.
- Mini frittatas – Same concept as the muffins but savory omelet style.
- Tortilla roll-ups – Spread your favorite toppings onto a tortilla and roll it up. Let it sit in the fridge overnight and then cut into one-inch pieces. These double as a one-handed lunch.
- Milkshake – Every town has the hip place for a delicious milkshake. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can give you shit about having a milkshake for a midday snack after expelling a human from your body. Look for the guest who is clearly uncomfortable with all the talk of postpartum bleeding and send them on a shake run.
- Smoothies – If you’re in the mood for the milkshake’s healthier cousin, go ahead and have someone whip you up a smoothie with veggies and protein.
- Pre-cut fruits, veggies, and cheese – Have someone cut up your favorites and put them in easy-open individual containers. The idea is that you should be able to eat them in one sitting and not have to get up and go back to the fridge to put leftovers away.
- Trail mix – I always go for the one that is mostly chocolate. You go ahead and feel free to get as healthy as you’d like. It stores forever, so it’s a great snack to keep on hand.
- Cold pizza – There are several ways in which having a newborn reminded me of college. Let your favorite study snacks guide the way.
- Finger sandwiches – It can be difficult to eat a whole sandwich without dropping half the filling. Cut sandwiches into fourths for a quick bite. Alternatively, buy some of those frozen PB&J sandwiches in the kid section of your grocer’s freezer — they can be eaten mostly frozen. Or so I hear.
- Hard boiled eggs – Cut them in half, sprinkle with some salt, and keep them in the fridge for a quick, though slightly boring, protein burst.
- Easy meat – Yeah, that’s what I said. Seriously, chicken nuggets, rotisserie chicken, jerky, or cheese and lunch meat roll ups are easy and full of protein.
- Prepackaged snacks – Think granola bars, protein bars, crackers, and chips.
- Hummus – Pair with chips or carrots and don’t stress if you drop some on the baby’s head. Nobody will ever know if you lick it off.
- Yogurt smoothies – or those little kid tubes of yogurt.
- Mini pancakes – Roll them around microwave breakfast sausages and pretend it’s a fancy hors d’oeuvre. We won’t judge if you have a glass of champagne to go with it.
- Peanut butter – Just eat it with a spoon. If you’re feeling like living dangerously, go ahead and sprinkle that spoon with some mini chocolate chips. I also love to spread peanut butter on graham crackers or apples.
- Pretzels – So versatile. You can dip them in your hummus, peanut butter, or eat them plain.
- Chocolate milk – Why drink regular milk when you could add chocolate? You could also use protein shake mix to amp it up.
- Water – Ok. This is not a snack but it is really important. A huge water bottle with a straw is an indispensable item in the postpartum period. Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of peeing while holding a sleeping baby.
- Milk storage bags make fantastic single-portion containers.
- Keep a cooler next to your comfiest chair and you won’t even have to walk to the fridge (if you know anybody who does a meal subscription service, those huge ice packs will keep everything cold for at least 24 hours).
- Use baby wipes to clean your hands.
- If you drop food on your baby’s head, go ahead and take a photo, I promise it’ll be funny later.
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