Have you ever said to yourself, “I’ll eat when I have a minute” or “I want to shed the extra pregnancy pounds so missing a meal here and there isn’t a big deal”? Both of these thought processes can lead you down the opposite path you intend on going and leave you feeling more frustrated and unsatisfied than when you started.
While, eating healthy during pregnancy is important to help your baby grow and develop, good nutrition should still be of concern after your baby is born.
It took me a little time after having my children to learn how to balance looking after myself with caring for a baby.
One thing I quickly realized was to let go of the expectation that each meal I ate needed to be gourmet. Instead, meals just need to be balanced and nutritious. Most important, they will be better than no meal at all!
Having an action plan makes this easier and will help you focus, give you purpose and build your confidence. Use these key tips to help you get started and keep you healthy:
Start your day off right by eating breakfast. Studies show a breakfast containing higher fiber carbohydrates along with 14 grams of protein leaves you feeling satisfied. Protein helps minimize fluctuations in blood sugar after your meal time, making you feeling fuller longer.
Eat balanced meals
To help steady your blood sugar levels, as well as your appetite and cravings, always eat a meal containing all four food groups. Each food group has something different to offer, so eating them together will help you meet your daily nutrient needs and make you feel more satisfied.
As you know, eating regularly will optimize your energy and your mood throughout the day, as well as help minimize overeating at any one meal. Ideally I recommend eating approximately every 2-3 hours when possible, as this gives your body the fuel it needs throughout the day.
If you skip breakfast and have an unbalanced lunch I guarantee you will overeat at supper and your cravings will also kick in. All of a sudden your best intentions for controlling what you eat have disappeared.
Your fluid intake can affect your energy level, breast milk production, your mood and your overall health, so it’s important to make sure you are keeping well hydrated. Your fluid requirements are 1.5-2 L daily (6-8 cups) daily.
“Fluid” includes all hydrating beverages: water, milk, juice (limit to 1 cup per day), herbal tea, decaffeinated coffee.
Stock up on fast and healthy options
Keep quick and simple foods on hand so you always have something you can grab in a hurry.
Protein choices: nut butters, canned tuna, canned salmon, rotisserie chicken, cheese strings, eggs, hummus, edamame, canned beans and lentils
Grains: soft tortilla wraps, whole wheat bread/buns, pita, bagels, whole grain crackers, homemade muffins, individual oatmeal packages, whole grain cereal (5g of fiber per serving)
Fruit: frozen berries, in season fresh fruit, fruit canned in juice, unsweetened applesauce
Vegetables: in-season fresh vegetables, fresh spinach in a bag, frozen vegetables, a vegetable tray with grape tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and snap peas. (Try some low fat taziki to dip)
Dairy: milk-white or chocolate, yogurt, milk alternatives
Pick one item from each group and you will have a well balanced meal.
Staying active is very important for your overall health. Incorporate some form of physical activity into your daily routine to help balance out your hormone levels and your mood. It will also help you build/maintain muscle, manage your weight, regulate your bowels and give purpose to your day!