Ravenous appetites and bizarre cravings are the first signs that food is an integral part of becoming a mum. But after we’ve given birth to our bub we have to be just as conscious of our calories…
Like most mums-to-be, I studied my nutritional intake like a pseudo scientist, so I had enough vitamins to ensure my baby would be a member of Mensa by the time he was in kindergarten. But… once I’d given birth (and given up breastfeeding) it was a totally different matter. Racing around after a toddler meant I was grabbing discarded rusks and filling up on carbs. After a while my flagging energy levels persuaded me to have a serious look at my diet.
So… I drew up a food diary, went to see a nutritionist and did an extreme pantry make-over. Check out how to do this in Mother Me. It recharged my energy levels, improved my mood and immune system!
Kylie Andrew is a Consultant Dietitian and on the advisory board of Fernwood’s Slimplicity program. She’s also a mum-of-two.
She says: ‘Nutrition is extremely important for mothers, even after they’ve finished breastfeeding. As mums we simply can’t afford to get sick.’
Among the key nutrients we need are calcium and iron. ‘The latest research shows women aren’t consuming enough calcium. You need to eat at least three serves a day of calcium rich dairy products to ensure strong bones’ As well as dairy you’ll find calcium in green leafy veggies, nuts and fish such as sardines.
Keeping your iron levels high will help to maximize energy levels, so eat plenty of lean meats and eggs. And avoid constipation by munching wholegrain cereals, grains and of course heaps of fruit and veggies.
If you want to beat the bulge, then do it gradually, advises Kylie. And never work out on an empty stomach, as you’ll be training tired,’ she says ‘a well energised body will train more effectively and achieve better results’.
It’s also important to keep your diet interesting – children don’t tend to be too adventurous, so meals can become bland. If you are cooking the kids a stir-fry– jazz up your own version with fresh herbs and spices.
Of course as your children get older, then you will find the inevitable “treat” appearing in your shopping trolley. But if you are grazing on healthy snacks and small meals through the day then you won’t be tempted to “fill-up” on junk.
Breastfeeding mums, should follow the dietary guidelines for all women, but simply be eating more of these foods. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine, as these substances pass into the breast milk, so tea and coffee should be limited to no more than three per day.
And if all else fails and you do polish off the last Tim Tam, then just put yourself in the naughty corner!
This article by Katie Brown, first appeared in Fernwood magazine
* Check out Magic Miso blog for the recipe for this delicious and nutritious soup