Those early days with a newborn are a whirlwind of sleep deprivation, endless cuddles, and a constant hunger that seems to come from nowhere. But amidst the chaos, taking care of yourself and your growing bub through nutritious food remains paramount.

This is where a well-stocked and organised kitchen cupboard becomes your secret weapon.

Let’s face it, elaborate meals might be a distant memory for a while. But fear not, we have some great tips to reduce your mental (and physical) load in those early weeks and months.

Here’s how to undertake a cupboard makeover that supports good nutrition without demanding hours in the kitchen.

Planning is Key: Assess Your Needs

Before diving into a pantry revamp, take a moment to assess your current situation and needs.

  • Dietary Requirements: Do you have any allergies or follow a specific diet (vegetarian, vegan etc.)?
  • Cooking Time: How much realistic cooking time do you have with a newborn? Be honest!
  • Baby’s Age: As your baby progresses through weaning, their dietary needs will evolve.

The Larder Makeover Essentials:

Now, let’s get organised! Here are the key components for your new mum-friendly larder:

Shelf-Stable Staples:

  • Grains & pasta: Stock up on pasta, wholegrains, quinoa, and low GI brown and white rice as a quick and nutritious base for many meals.
  • Canned goods: Canned chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans are protein powerhouses, perfect for quick stews and salads. Diced tomatoes, tinned corn, tuna, and salmon are pantry lifesavers for easy meals.
  • Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, cashews, macadamias, walnuts, sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds add protein, healthy fats, and fibre to smoothies, yoghurt, salads, and even baked goods.
  • Dried fruits: Raisins, cranberries, and chopped dates are natural sweeteners and add a chewy texture to oatmeal, trail mix, or yoghurt parfaits.

Essential Pantry Items:

  • Oils & vinegars: Extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar are all you need for basic dressings, marinades, and finishing touches.
  • Dried herbs & spices: A well-stocked spice rack adds flavour and variety to even the simplest dishes. Start with basics like garlic powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, and chili flakes.
  • Pasta sauces and extras: Opt for reduced-salt versions of pesto, marinara, or Alfredo sauce to turn cooked pasta into a quick meal. Keep some jar pesto, semi-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and pitted olives (black or Kalamata) to stir through pasta for a quick and delicious meal.
  • Soups & broths: Reduced-salt canned soups or broths are a lifesaver for whipping up quick, nourishing meals or adding flavour to dishes.

The Healthy Snack Station:

  • Fresh fruit: Keep a fruit bowl stocked with easy-to-grab options like apples, bananas, oranges, and grapes.
  • Vegetables: Vegetables like baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, capsicum and cucumber slices are perfect for snacking on their own or with hummus. Do a bulk chop a few times a week and keep them in a sealed container in the fridge for a quick grab-and-go.
  • Whole-wheat crackers: Choose reduced-salt crackers for pairing with cheese, hummus, or nut butter.
  • Trail mix: Make your own with rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits for a healthy on-the-go snack. Throw in a handful of choc-buds for that extra yum.

Beyond Basics: Building a Well-Rounded Pantry

The above are just the building blocks. Here’s how to personalise your pantry for even better results:

  • Frozen Favourites: Frozen vegetables are a lifesaver for busy mums (and dads!). They’re pre-washed, chopped, and snap-frozen to retain their nutrients.
  • Breakfast Boosters: Stock up on healthy cereals, whole-wheat bread, nut butter, and yoghurt for quick breakfasts.
  • Homemade Staples: Batch cook and freeze some homemade items like healthy muffin batter, lentil soup, or Bolognese sauce.
  • Treat Yourself: Don’t forget a small stash of healthy treats like dark chocolate or homemade nut bars for those cravings. Remember there are no good or bad foods; however, when you do choose a ‘sometimes’ food take the time to decide what you really want – and savour and enjoy.

Tips for Organisation and Efficiency:

  • Declutter and Deep Clean: Start with a clean slate by removing expired items and anything you no longer use. (“Hello, herbs from the early 2000s!”)
  • Categorise and Label: Group similar items together (grains, canned goods, snacks) and label shelves for easy identification. Utilise clear storage containers to keep things organised.
  • Utilize Vertical Space: Install shelves or utilise shelf risers to maximize storage space.
  • Keep High-Use Items Within Reach: Place frequently used items like snacks, grains, and canned goods at eye level for easy access.
  • Rotate Stock: Implement a “first-in, first-out” system to avoid expired items lurking in the back of the cupboard.

Remember, this is YOUR larder! Tailor it to your family’s preferences, dietary needs, and budget.


We offer individual consultations and postnatal cookbooks as we know you all have different learning styles and budgets.

Attending an individual session with a Lifestyle Maternity dietitian will allow you to assess your diet against recommended guidelines and identify changes that can be tailored to your lifestyle and dietary preferences. If you would like further information book an appointment  now.

Our postnatal cookbook has been developed in collaboration with Dietitian Christine Stone (PeNut).This collaboration is for all time-poor, nutrition-conscious, food-loving new mums. When we’ve talked with new mums about what worked for them to feel nourished, health, and strong they’ve told us they’ve needed to adapt routines and habits that used to be their go-to’s for nutrition. This cookbook has been designed to support new mums in meeting these important goals.



IMAGE CREDIT: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

IMAGE DESCRIPTIONS: first – an open food cupboard with fiver shelves full of jars and bottles with a door that’s hung with a spice rack with 6 shelves in it; second – front cover of PeNut + Lifestyle Maternity cookbook collaboration. Tomato based soup with spinach mixed through in a white bowl with a silver spoon resting in the soup. It is on a grey blue background with next to a white tea towel with a red stripe.

We think ‘diet’ is a four-letter word.

Food restriction or “dieting” means intentionally depriving yourself. Ongoing deprivation is generally only ‘successful’ for a certain amount of time before we ‘fall off the wagon’ and start eating for comfort or to rebel against the ‘diet’.

Initially we might feel temporarily better before we inevitably become disappointed or frustrated with ourselves that we ‘failed’ and decide to “diet” again.

Why does the diet industry thrive? Repeat business!

Does this cycle sound familiar?

The majority of clients that we see for weight management are already aware of what an ‘everyday’ food and a ‘sometimes’ food is, yet struggle to reach or maintain their most comfortable weight. Why is that?

When working towards your weight loss goals it is imperative to not only look at what you eat but also why you eat, how you eat and where you eat.

We are all capable of eating when we are not physically hungry and it is quite normal to do this on occasion. This is called ‘non-hungry eating’. Do it too often however and this type of eating behaviour can result in unwanted weight gain or difficulty losing weight.

If we can reduce the amount we are eating when we don’t really want it, as well as reduce the amount we are eating when we don’t really enjoy it, it will make reaching a healthy, comfortable weight easier without relying on extreme diet restrictions.

Experience tells us that in many situations, a particular type of food might taste great initially, but if we pay attention to the taste, texture and flavour, surprisingly quickly the food becomes less pleasurable.

Being more aware of whether or not we are enjoying the food we are eating is an important step in reducing the overall amount of food we eat.

Do you start off enjoying something but then just keep eating to finish it off?

The If not dieting© ‘Law of Diminishing Pleasure’ is a concept that can assist us to eat less, while at the same time increase our enjoyment from food. It can show us that if we eat with awareness, the more we eat of a particular food the less pleasure we receive as we continue to eat that particular food. It applies to all types of food that we eat although the rate of decrease will vary for various types of foods.

By being more mindful of this decrease in pleasure we can continue to eat all types of foods (everyday and sometimes foods), however learn to eat less by stopping earlier – when our enjoyment has diminished.

Lifestyle Maternity Dietitians specialise in dietary counselling methods that focus on the behaviour of eating. We use a coaching approach to weight management and healthy eating that draws on evidence based strategies to promote a ‘life-skills’ focus to facilitate lifestyle change to assist our clients achieve a more comfortable and healthy weight.

For further information or advice on being a healthier you, make an appointment here.


IMAGE CREDIT:  Nicolas Hoizay/Unsplash

IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Looking down into a spiral staircase

One of the most common techniques our Lifestyle Maternity Dietitians use with clients is a range of strategies to help them identify their patterns of Non Hungry Eating, also known as NHE.


 Non hungry eating is eating when you aren’t physically hungry for food.


 Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I usually eat a piece of cake that someone has baked for me even if I am not hungry, because I don’t want to offend them?
  • Do I finish what is on my plate when I am eating out, even if I feel full before all the food is finished, so that I don’t waste it?
  • Do I ever overeat a food because it is really delicious? (E.g. sometimes it is hard to eat just one Tim Tam!)
  • Do I ever eat something like a chocolate bar or have a few glasses of wine after a really long, stressful day to make myself feel better?

These are just some examples of NHE – and there are many more!! Some NHE is normal and many people do it. When we end up doing a lot of NHE it can be hard to maintain a comfortable weight and it may also contribute to weight gain.


  • Question your hunger levels before eating. Do your best to only eat when you are physically hungry.
  • Don’t restrict foods; tell yourself, “I can have it if I want it, but am I really hungry for it?
  • Avoid eating when you are distracted (E.g. in the car, in front of the TV, when you are working) as it is hard to really assess hunger levels when you are doing other things.
  • Eat off a plate. Don’t eat out of packets as you can’t see the volume you are eating when you do this. This will help increase your awareness of how much you are eating.
  • Keep a food diary and also record your hunger levels before and after meals and snacks.
  • If you are consuming high calorie foods and fluids to comfort yourself (E.g. after a bad day) consider other options other than eating to comfort yourself such a going for a walk, taking a hot shower or long bath, talking to a friend or streaming an episode of your favourite show.

If you would like to learn more about identifying your NHE triggers, strategies to reduce NHE episodes or how to eat mindfully make an appointment here.

To read more about NHE and other techniques to help you be the healthiest you can be, resulting in achieving and maintaining a comfortable and healthy weight without being deprived of food or losing quality of life AND to enjoy food without feeling guilty, visit Dr Rick Kausman’s website.

IMAGE CREDIT: Isabelle Fischer/Unsplash

IMAGE DESCRIPTION: 5 red apples in a row against a grey background