When I was a new mom, finding time for a quick shower was a challenge, let alone finding time to make a meal. And I needed lots of meals. Somehow breastfeeding gave me an insatiable appetite that probably could have put a high school football player to shame.
That why, of all the gifts I received, the one I remember most fondly was a care package a mom friend dropped on my porch. Although she had her own hands full with a toddler, she managed to find a little time to fill a box with diapers and wipes, chocolates, a bottle of wine, and dozens of energy bars. It wasn't your typical new-baby gift — it was better. Quite literally a box of new-mom emergency supplies, it had everything I needed to keep my sanity. I scarfed one bar right on the spot. And over the next few weeks that stash was nothing short of a lifesaver.
So if you have any new parents in your life, one of the kindest things you can do is bring them food. And it doesn't have to be an elaborate home-cooked meal, although those are wonderful too. Even just some grab-and-go snacks and quick meals for the pantry or freezer would be a huge help. And there's no better place to build a food stash on the cheap than Costco.
Here are five great options for new parents that you can pick up on your next Costco run.
1. Kirkland Signature Nut Bars, $19 for 30 bars
These bars offer the best of both worlds. They're mostly made with nuts, providing a healthy source of protein and energy without a bunch of additives. And they're drizzled in chocolate, which most new moms crave with unbridled intensity. Stashed in the pantry, these bars will come to her rescue every time her hunger and chocolate cravings strike, which is often.
2. Sukhi's Naanwiches, $14 for 6 pockets
When you're a new parent, meals become a desperate grab for anything you can shove in your mouth with your one free hand. These tasty naan-wrapped, tikka masala-filled microwavable sandwiches are perfect for just such occasions. Even if the freezer is full, you can pull these individually wrapped pockets out of the box and tuck them into every available nook and cranny. When the need for a hot lunch hits, you can grab, unwrap, heat, and eat with, yes, just one hand.
3. Del Real Foods Real Chicken Tamales, $20 for 15 tamales
New parents will always say yes to a ready-to-cook dinner. And the deli area at Costco has a wealth of choices, from stuffed peppers to mac and cheese. But this bag of fresh tamales is one of the most versatile options. Top them with a fried egg for breakfast, or serve with salad or soup for lunch or dinner. And they cook in mere minutes in the microwave. They don't take up crazy amounts of space in the fridge, and can be frozen too.
4. Ghirardelli Brownie Mug Cakes, $8 for 16 pouches
There are some things that only chocolate cake can fix, and that's where these little mug cakes come in. Okay, technically they're brownies, but that's just splitting hairs. Whatever you want to call them — cake, brownie, miracle from heaven — these packets require just a few tablespoons of water and a couple of minutes in the microwave to transform into a warm, cakey, chocolate dessert. With a box of these mug cakes on hand, new parents can treat themselves to a little decadence on the regular.
5. Restaurant Gift Card, prices and options vary
It might seem laughable to give new parents a gift card to go out. How can they possibly take the ticking time bomb of a newborn out to a nice restaurant? But if you couple it with a promise to babysit, and actually follow up and get them to commit to a date, you will be giving them not just a nice meal, but a chance to feel like their old pre-baby selves again. It's like a glimmer of light in the dark forest of new parenthood. It's a chance to reassure them that their days won't always be consumed with the unrelenting needs of a newborn.
Every Costco offers a different lineup of restaurants depending on what's in the area. And if the parents really don't want to go out, chances are a local restaurant delivery service, like Postmates or Caviar, can fetch the dinner for them.
What's the best thing you received as a new parent?