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The first time you visit a friend after they've given birth to a new baby, bringing food as a gift is a great idea. But what kind of food should you bring?
There are a few general rules to keep in mind. First, please do not expect a new mother to be washing and returning your crusty casserole dish. Use disposable dishes only. Second, bring enough for the whole family to eat, and third, keep in mind any dietary restrictions the family has. It's also a good idea to ask the new mother if there are any foods she's avoiding because she suspects they are causing gas for the new baby.
Granola Bars: Granola bars make a great gift in those first few days and weeks after the baby arrives. They're a much needed one-handed snack and they don't have to be reheated or prepared in any way. Just make sure to choose a healthy granola bar recipe, like this one, so the new mother is getting nutrients and energy and not just a bunch of sugar and empty carbs.
Mason Jar Salads: Many moms find themselves craving fresh fruits and veggies after giving birth, but they don't have the time to spend washing and chopping fruits and vegetables to make a salad. Mason jar salads are single serving salads with the dressing at the bottom (or on the side) so that they can be kept fresh in the refrigerator a day or two without wilting.
Quiche: Quiche makes a perfect food for a new mother because it's equally great served hot, cold, and room temperature. It can be served at any time of the day and makes great leftovers too. The photo above is a mushroom gruyere quiche, but there are endless varieties of quiche to choose from.
Casserole: Casserole is the classic dish to bring to a mother after delivering her baby, and rightfully so. Just make sure there are clear instructions for cooking included. For a twist on the classic lasagna, try this Mexican lasagna dish instead.
Lactation Cookies: Don't forget about dessert! It's so nice to have something homemade and sweet to snack on after a long day with a new baby. But just because it's dessert doesn't mean it should be empty calories. Try these lactation cookies, which are made with ingredients specially chosen to help increase the new mother's milk supply.
Fresh Veggies with Dip: Make it easy for the new mom to get the fresh veggies she needs and craves by chopping and plating a nice selection of fresh veggies along with a tasty dip like this chipotle ranch veggie dip.
Deviled Eggs:Deviled eggs are my personal favorite food to bring for a new mother. They're a good source of protein so they make a great between-meal snack. They're also easy to grab and eat with one hand while nursing, and there's just something about them that feels like comfort food.
Ready-to-go slow cooker meals: For a really useful food gift, prepare and bag an entire meal ready to go straight into a slow cooker immediately or ready to freeze for later. Write the meal contents and cooking instructions right on the bag. Make sure the new mother owns a slow cooker before bringing this gift of course, and if she doesn't, bring a new one along too! They are fairly inexpensive and come in so handy during the first few months of new motherhood.
Healthy Muffins: You can never have too many healthy muffins when there's a newborn baby in the house. A ready-to-eat breakfast or snack for anyone in the family and can even be grabbed on the run and eaten in the car, or frozen and thawed out one at a time as needed.
Mini Lasagnas: Full size casseroles are great, but there are many times in the first few weeks of being a mom that even dishing up a casserole onto a plate and eating it with a fork is too time consuming. That's why small foods that can be held in one hand, like these miniature lasagnas, are so loved and appreciated by new moms.