There are very few gifts that stand out nearly as much as a meal in times like the postpartum period. It's absolutely true that you could do your own meal preparation, or set yourself up ahead of time with amazing pre-prepped meals and snacks. And I highly encourage that!! But that's not what this post is about. This post is for the "Oh shit. We weren't quite ready for this." And maybe a little bit of a 'Ya know what gift we would REALLY like afterwards.....".
This. Meals. Food. Food that is good, wholesome, healthy for the most part, and dang tasty and convenient. There are some really great Des Moines based local businesses (all female owned, I might add!) where you can either stock your freezer, grab something from the freezer/fridge case, or get a weekly plan for amazing salads and soups. Plus, they all make it easy to plan ahead of time, or in that situation where baby comes a little earlier than planned - they'll have you covered! Learn about our 3 favorite options below!
Nourished is owned by local female business owner Beth Jackson. Beth is uniquely positioned to understand the Postpartum needs of a new Mama - she has been a birth doula for as long as I've known her. She operates an online based menu that changes every week. Generally speaking, there are two salads, a chia pudding, a soup, and maybe a hummus or protein/power balls. She's been doing more community collaborations, working with local farms and growers. Her food is vibrant, fresh, and delicious. Every week, the menu is uploaded Thursday night, ordering closes out at Noon on Sunday. Then you pick your meals up either Wednesday evening or Thursday morning (you pick).
The menu is entirely Vegetarian or Vegan, (and you can request that vegetarian things be made vegan if you'd like). The prices are fair, and the food is fantastic. I sorta look at Beth's Food (because that's what we call it in my house, Beth's Food) as my lunch food. Because massive, bountiful salads are AMAZING for lunch.
Nourished is a great option for fresh, predictable, plant based meals. Like I said - Beth is my lunch gal.
So, I mean.....full disclaimer. I am friends with all of these people. Andrea is the one that I met BECAUSE of her food, and not through other routes. But I tell you what, good food must draw together good people. Because she's a delight.
Dinner Delights is a great way to get easy, nutritious meals ready in 30 minutes or less. Andrea offers freezer meals and weekly heat and eat meals. For freezer meals, you pick meals from a monthly menu. Andrea puts them together raw and delivers. You thaw and cook as needed. They come in three and six serving meals. Some modifications can be made like gluten free, swapping the protein or leaving out onions or other foods you don’t want. For heat and eat meals the meals are prepared specially for you based on your dietary needs. They are cooked and delivered. Then when you want one all you have to do is heat it up. Dinner Delights also offers gift certificates. A perfect baby shower option. The serving sizes are DECENT. You can choose from either 3 servings or 6 servings. We have always, as a family, had more than enough food for the 3 of us with the 3 serving meals. and even have leftovers sometimes!
For my carnivorous husband, I would say that Andrea's food is probably his favorite. She makes an amazing Cubano that he loves, and I am enamored with her soups. Plus, I'd say it fell into the most kid friendly one that we consistently get. The coolest part? If you don't get to it, it's in the Freezer. It'll live there until you call it forth and summon it. Or, if you've got a friend that suddenly needs some food love, you're set. Her meals often include sides of veggies, so they feel like a complete package. Portions are generous, and we have never had a meal we didn't LOVE.
So Dinner Dispatch is very similar to Dinner Delights in the way they fashion the freezer meal portion. But there are for sure some differences in their other offerings! Jen Oredson and LeAnn Thongvanh are the owners, and I know Jen from WAY back in birth work, and nursing school. Their unique distinction is that they have a physical location. So - grab and go case! In other words, you can stop in and grab a rotating selection of foods from their spot. They have hours everyday but Sunday. They have an app. They have ample serving sizes. They have flexibility. They have freezer meals, they have fresh and ready meals, they have breakfast items, lunch items, and dinner items. They deliver, if you pay them. They also have bonus items like overnight oats, power snack boxes, energy balls, and protein muffins to fill in the mealtime gaps. Their weekly ordering deadline is every Wednesday for Monday pickup/delivery. In addition to 5 weekly fresh meal options, you can pick from a big list of available freezer meals to add on to your meals every week. Dinner Dispatch has gift certificates and you can either pick meals for the new family, or allow them to pick them. They get delivered to their doorstep (including a nice card!), and they have meals that serve either 2-3 or 4-6. Some dietary restrictions can be identified when you order, to assist in personalizing meals for the families needs.
Because of our family size and personal eating preferences, it's the one that we don't tend to levitate towards as much, but we also like to have a mix of "help" from companies like these and homemade meal planning in our house. Jen and LeAnn have solutions for just about every family, including ours.
If I was to quickly classify these different options I would say:
Nourished is for the Vegan or Vegetarian who needs Lunch time assistance, healthy options, and loves fun and interesting flavor combinations. They don't necessarily need to fill ALL the gaps, just a handful of them.
Dinner Delights is for the adventurous family that still wants good access to comfort foods, that wants one monthly menu to worry about and can't be bothered to worry about making a gazillion choices. They'd be okay with filling the entire month with freezer meals, especially if they are okay with eating the same thing more than once a month.
Dinner Dispatch is for the family that would literally be fine never meal planning again, probably isn't looking for diet food, and is completely fine with handing over the reins to the Dinner Time experts. Whether you like delivery, freezer meals, fresh meals, or grab-n-go, you like options, and probably want or need to use all of them.
If you are planning your postpartum, or better yet, if you are an amazing friend or family member helping plan your friend's postpartum: please consider taking Dinner time off their plate. There is truly nothing more wonderful than not having to think about food when you are balancing a new baby.
And doing all that while supporting female owned businesses? Amazing. AMAZING.