by Michelle Porter, MPH, RD
When we talk about the fourth trimester, we mean that even though your baby now lives outside your body, he still isn’t quite ready for our world. He is easily disturbed when not sleeping on you. He wants to be physically connected to mama pretty much at all times, which really limits your ability to get things done. Cooking with a baby sleeping on your chest is hazardous, especially when said chest belongs to a tired mama who hasn’t slept. Back in the 1800s, there was no take out, so women had to cook instead. But welcome to today; I’m sure those women from the 1800s would jump at the chance to get convenient food for the family if they had the option. Take-out is inevitable in the fourth trimester and beyond. There are many times you shouldn’t cook because you are too tired, don’t want to cook because you are too tired, or can’t cook because you are too tired. Even well into motherhood, when you’re running your kids from one activity to the next or you’re balancing your work-home life and need to drop the meal preparation routine every once in a while, it’s reassuring to know that we can still create healthy meals for our families while relying on someone else to do the cooking. Luckily for us in the greater Wilmington area, there are so many yummy and healthy take out ideas. I have a few suggestions below for local healthy take-out options so that you can feed your family conveniently and without the guilt we often feel when we rely on fast food. You know what I mean: “Well, we’re already eating out. I’ve ruined our chances of a healthy meal tonight. Might as well order the jalapeño poppers and the onion rings!” But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of ways to balance having an easy take-out meal with healthy eating. Of course, not every menu item is the healthiest option, but you can increase the health factor by making careful choices. For example, scour the menu to see if there are green salads or broth/tomato/bean-based soups to start or supplement your meal. A couple of slices of pizza becomes a much more well-rounded meal with a yummy California salad alongside. Bean-based soups offer additional protein (so important for the breastfeeding mama!) and soups made with real bone broth offer many health and immunological benefits.
Italian: Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Gianni’s Pizza in Trolley Square, Café Sitaly, or other local pizza delivery places. These places will happily prepare your pizza without cheese if you are dairy free. Pasta dishes with added vegetables, entree salads, and even soups are offered.
Mexican: El Diablo in North Wilmington or Trolley Square has many delicious and fresh offerings. My favorite is their kale salad bowl, but other popular items are burritos with fresh ingredients, quesadillas, or rice bowls. Try with the Kennett Square mushrooms, customize your level of heat, and definitely try the salsa verde dressing; it is yummy!
Stir fry: Honey Grow offers stir fry with noodles or just vegetables; add your favorite protein. They also offer salads or yogurt with fresh berries and local honey.
Indian Food: Dal, mulligatawny soup, or chana masala (to your level of spiciness) are great ways to work beans in to your diet. Many places are happy to accommodate rice without ghee (clarified butter) and naan without ghee if you are interested in that option. Tandoori proteins, shrimp, chicken, or vegetable skewers and green salads can be ways of lightening up the menu options, too.
Chinese: Any Chinese place usually offers a few different broth-based soups to start the meal. Customizing your favorite meal to control the amount of oil so you enjoy eating it but also feel good after eating it is helpful. For example, you can get steamed shrimp & broccoli with whatever your favorite stir fry sauce is on the side. Choose steamed brown rice over white rice if available or forget the rice altogether if you’d rather have an egg roll. Spicy Chinese mustard is great to add to entrees or soups if you like a kick!
Sushi: Mikimotos on Washington Street has great sushi and you can order it to go! Start with miso soup or ocean salad if you like. Add in some sashimi options to lighten it up or enjoy an order of edamame.
Miscellaneous: Panera Bread, Brew HaHa, and Goat are also great places for easy to-go meals, salads, or soups that focus on fresh, delicious food. For a great local grab-and-go option, check out HoneyBee Seasonal Kitchen and Market in Trolley Square. Run by Katie’s friend Karen from The Birth Center’s moms group (when Lucy was a newborn!), Honey Bee is an organic mini market with easy lunch and snack options.
I live in North Wilmington, so my restaurant selections are based on some of my favorite local places to eat. Many of these example meal ideas can be transferred to similar fare in other locations, but I’m sure I’ve missed many wonderful places, so feel free to comment on the Facebook page so we can add some more healthy and delicious local take-out options!
Michelle Porter, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian, board-certified specialist in obesity and weight management, and a Balanced Breastfeeding Mentor.
For the past 10 years, Michelle has worked as an outpatient dietitian. Her areas of experience include bariatric surgery, nonsurgical weight management, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, dyslipidemia, hypertension and PCOS. She also has personal and professional experience in plant-based nutrition and completed eCornell’s Plant Based Nutrition certification (2017). Although Michelle has a great deal of expertise in these areas, she is also willing and very interested in working with anyone who needs the assistance of an RD.
Michelle has a passion for nutrition and helping others. Being a nutritionist is truly a vocation for Michelle, a rewarding career that also remains a hobby in her personal life and, she feels, one of her greatest gifts to her family on a daily basis.
If you are interested in a free nutrition consultation with Michelle, sign up by clicking on the green button here.