Monday, 30 January 2012

Nutrition Tips for Mummies

I wrote this article for Lagos Mums last year, and decided to repost here :)

During and after pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through many changes. The fathers' bodies go through
similar physical changes (‘sympathy weight gain’) during this period but that’s another post on its
own ;)

We all know the dramatic and miraculous weight loss that Hollywood celebrities go through is just unrealistic. It’s best to stay away from their stories and focus on the more accessible and sensible ways to get back in shape post-childbirth.

It is preferable if you aim to live a healthy lifestyle – good nutrition and exercise - before, during and after childbirth. This way, it won’t be too much of a challenge after you have had your baby. Exercise and healthy nutrition are important but during the first few weeks, it’s expected that as a new mother, you might not have, or want to take, the time away from your baby to exercise. You can start off with short walks with your baby snuggled in his or her pram.

If you are breastfeeding, you might find that you have an increased appetite as you’re producing all that milk so you need the nutrients and calories. As long as you boil, roast or grill your food instead of frying and eat the right variety of foods (proteins, vegetables, grains, fruits, etc), you will lose your baby weight because breastfeeding uses up a lot of energy/calories. Make sure you’re eating enough to help provide you with energy and your baby with the right nutrients. Avoid going on a weight loss diet right after childbirth.

As a new mum, you also want to gradually shed the baby weight, improve your self-confidence and

Here are five tips that will help you along the way:

  • Increase your fluid intake
    You don’t have to drink 4 x 1.5 litre bottles of water, just ensure you stay hydrated. Drink water every time you’re thirsty, which you will be often as a nursing mother. Remember
    – although water is the best source of hydration, drinks and many foods have high water content.

    Some of these foods include fruit (e.g. watermelons, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple), vegetables (e.g. spinach, lettuce, cucumber), soups (e.g. peppersoup), ogi (pap), etc

  • Reduce your salt intake
    Some side effects of having too much salt in your diet are high blood pressure, dehydration and feeling bloated. An easy way to help reduce salt intake is to cook with either maggi/knorr OR salt, and not both. Why? Read This Post -->
    This is not intended to scare you but there is a high risk of high blood pressure in pregnant women and new mums, so it is best to do whatever is in your control to reduce this risk.

  • Eat foods that are high in protein Sources of protein include meat, fish*, chicken, chicken, egg, yoghurt, nuts and seeds, legumes – for example, beans, peas and lentils.

     *Fish contains mercury which can be harmful to your baby both during and after pregnancy. I would suggest cutting them out from your diet. Fish to completely avoid include mackerel, sea bass and tuna. Some can be limited to a maximum of once a month e.g. catfish, salmon, tilapia, crayfish, trout, monkfish.
  • Always have healthy snacks readily available
    This is where most mistakes are made, you barely have time to take care of yourself so it’s easy to snack on anything that is available. Many snacks, including those advertised as ‘healthy’, ‘low fat’, are very high in empty calories , which means they have little or no nutritional value. Make sure your snacks are nutritious, unrefined and as fresh as possible.
    Examples include:
    - an apple
    - a banana
    - 2 slices of pineapple
    - half an avocado
    - fruit salad
    - fruit and/or veggie smoothie

    Protein is great as a snack because it fills you up quickly:
    - a hard boiled egg
    - a small pot of yoghurt
    - a handful of nuts
    - a protein bar (eg 9 bar, Nak’d bar, Bounce balls)
    - a piece of chicken or meat

  • Eat regularly Eating little and often ensures your blood sugar levels stay moderate all through the day. If you leave too many hours between meals, you’ll have blood sugar lows which result in fatigue and find that you will crave foods high in sugar. Aim to eat every three hours – breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner.

    Give this a try one day this week:

    Breakfast: 1 slice of wholemeal bread, an omelette (tomatoes and any vegetables you like) and a large glass of lemon & water.
    Snack: A handful of cashew nuts
    Lunch: Boiled (or roasted) plantain and Efo, with meat
    Snack: An apple (and some nuts if you feel a little hungry)
    Dinner: Chicken Salad (instead of salad dressing, try chopping half an avocado into it)
Congratulations and Good Luck!

Photo Credit:


Lisa said...

Humans require salt, but very less. its very dangerous if its taken more. Weight Loss Diet

Weight Loss Diet Tips said...

Fruits and nuts are the best healthy snacks to take when you feel hungry.