By Julie Pecarski, founder of Eat Life Balance
Proper nutrition pre pregnancy and while pregnant can impact your health and your child’s long term health. Allergies, poor immunity and mental illness are all examples of the impact that poor pregnancy nutrition can promote. We explored the foods and caloric intake for the mother-to-be, supplements that are required to aid in your child’s development and the options for exercise while you prepare for birthing here. And discussed pre pregnancy health here.
There are two areas that may be top priority for a new mother – healthy nutrition for the baby and weight loss for the mother.
If you are breast-feeding, the caloric intake for the mother should be an additional 500 calories per day which is about the same as when you were pregnant. You’re still feeding for two so nothing changes in that respect.
For both mother’s breastfeeding or not, eating a balanced diet of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and fats are essential for energy, to produce good breast milk, and to help lose extra baby pounds. But, let’s also not forget that a proper balance of vitamins and minerals help your body heal!
These nutrients include:
- Unsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts, and fish.
- Carbohydrates from whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa, fruits, raw or lightly steamed vegetables, beans and legumes.
- Lean protein such as fish, organic poultry, organic tofu, beans and legumes.
It will also be beneficial to incorporate snacks throughout the day to keep energy levels high and to ensure a regular supply of nutrients to the baby. These could include trail mixes, high grain toast with a slice of avocado, fruit salads and smoothies. Here is momma-approved smoothie to try:
Busy Momma Smoothie
~ Aids in skin repair, reduces constipation, hydrating and vitamin-rich! ~
1/2 C Kefir Yoghurt (high in probiotics and aids in digestion)
1/2 C Blueberries (rich in antioxidants and helps in skin repair)
1 cup of spinach (high in iron and vitamins)
1 T Flax Oil or Ground seeds (fibre rich and loaded with omega fatty acids)
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1-1.5 C Coconut water (high in electrolytes and hydrating)
Blend and Serve!
When it comes to weight loss, a gradual loss of 1-2 pounds is recommended. In fact, it is the safest. Instead of “dieting” just keep it balanced by incorporating all of the components listed above. Let’s face it – you will naturally lose weight from the effects of breastfeeding and running around looking after your family! However, incorporating a workout regime focusing on aerobics and strength training will also help.
But, let’s keep it simple.
For aerobics, take a brisk walk with baby in tow and aim to get at least 30 minutes of speed walking a minimum of 3-4 times per week, if possible. Check your community center for “Mommy & Me” classes that incorporate group walks. Exercise is a proven stress reliever but so would leaning on other new moms who may be able to share their tips and tricks!
Strength training can be done at home. Grab two cans from your pantry and you’ve got make shift dumb bells (they are also relatively expensive to purchase). You can also refer to on-line programs that are either free or for purchase including interval training with minimal equipment such as this one. Or, try yoga that aims to tone every part of your body (and keep you zen), like this one.
Let’s not forget asking for help. If you are not achieving your nutritional or weight loss goals, contact your doctor, a nutritionist or perhaps join a group for new mother’s to explore alternative (but safe) options.
Julie Pecarski is the founder of Eat Life Balance, a holistic health and lifestyle solutions site. Eat Life Balance provides clean living recipes, nutritional guidance and lifestyle advice in an approach to guide readers into making small, simple changes in their eating habits, attitudes and mental balance. Julie is currently studying nutrition in Vancouver, BC. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Image courtesy of Ohmega1982/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net